Museum of the Red River: Home to Oklahoma’s State Dinosaur

Have you ever heard of an Acrocanthesaurus atokensis? Did you know that it’s actually the state dinosaur of Oklahoma? You can see a cast of the most complete specimen ever found of this dinosaur on display at the Museum of The Red River, in Idabel, Oklahoma. The actual specimen was discovered just ten miles from the museum, in Atoka, in 1940.

Inka Predecessors, on display through June 5, 2022

This quaint museum in the small town of Idabel is worth a visit. It was built in 1974, thanks to the efforts of Quintus and Mary Herron. The government was conducting archeological surveys in the area during that time, and they had no place to store the artifacts they discovered.  The Herrons felt strongly that the history should be archived and preserved for everyone to learn from and enjoy. Thanks to their efforts,  the Museum of the Red River was officially established.

Native American Art

A vast collection of Caddo pottery inside the Museum of the Red River.

The Museum of the Red River is home to one of the largest collections of Native American and cultural archeological artifacts within a 150-mile radius! The many pieces of art and artifacts come from around the world but also give special recognition to Native American contributions.  When you enter the museum, you’ll go through the Don and Mary Etta Heron Reception Hall, which features beautiful sculptures and murals by Oklahoma and Texas artists, as well as art from indigenous artists. The Gregory H. Perino Archaeological Study Area is home to prehistoric stone tools and points, as well as a vast collection of Caddo pottery.  There are also rotating exhibits housed in the Mary Bratton Curtis gallery, and it currently features a collection of Inka pottery from South America! The exhibit is called “Inka Predecessors” and will be on view through June 5th, 2022.

Blog Writer Nichole Holze and family posing with the Oklahoma State Dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus atokensis.

Community Programs & Events

The museum also has programs available for school groups, homeschool groups, and small group tours. Each tour has the option to add a hands-on pottery-making experience.  Throughout the year they have various festivals and celebrations, their biggest and most well-known is the Acrofest, which is usually held in March. This dinosaur-themed festival has something for the whole family including great food vendors, live music, face painting, balloon artists, various crafts, and sometimes life-size dino replicas! The museum also hosts art classes, lectures, and many opportunities to learn and experience one of the most enriching museum experiences in the four states area.

The Museum of the Red River makes for a great stop on your way to the Broken Bow area from Texarkana. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and on Sundays from 10 AM to 3 pm. Check their Facebook page and website for any upcoming events. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter HERE to be in the know for the next Acro Fest!

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Nichole is a freelance writer located in southwest Arkansas, who loves all things outdoors including gardening, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. She is a homeschooling mother to two, and they are entering their seventh year of homeschooling! They are an adventure and outdoor-loving family of four, who are often embarking on day trips and road trips to chase some shenanigans. As a family, they love supporting small and local businesses, especially local bookstores and coffee shops. Nichole hopes to inspire others to see the wonder and adventure in both the big and the small, close to home and on the road. You can follow their adventures on Instagram by following them at @coleyraeh.