Weather Playground

April 28, 2016
The Good Life

The Good Life (1971), by James E. Reynolds

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Some people just complain about weather. Others attempt to understand and profit from it. And a third, rare, group turn it into a playground, something to learn about, experience and enjoy.

That’s what Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum did.

This April, we (The Weather Whisperers) gave a talk and got to visit the museum’s new exhibit, “Riding The Whirlwind: Weather in the West”.

Filled with art, spectacular pictures and hand-on exhibits for the kid in all of us, it was a playground.

It is also beautiful. As you stroll through the halls, there are spectacular giant landscapes, works of art and stories of how the Native Americans view the weather of the West.

Scattered among the beauty is the science, showing how weather works and its impact. It explores how giant climate cycles in the ocean can affect even the most inland states, like Oklahoma. 

Visitors viewing exhibits that range from Thunderbirds to science, with landscapes in between. Source: National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Sprinkled throughout the exhibit are buttons and levers that allow you to shoot a radar gun, simulate thunder, lightning and even create a mini-tornado. The museum ends the exhibit with a television green screen where visitors can pretend to be 4-Warn weather forecasters. 

The Weather Whisperers with Curator Don Reeves, the man who supervised putting the exhibit together. Source: National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

This means there are a lot of people mysteriously waving their arms around in front of a blank green wall while other visitors stare at the monitor and giggle. There is a serious side to this, however, as tornado warnings save lives and Oklahoma is proud of the fact that it was the first state to televise warnings, despite the fact that at the time, the government had made these broadcasts illegal.

At the exhibit, you too can be a weather forecaster Source: National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

So, attention all weather addicts. Oklahoma City now has a new playground just for us. 

PS. Thank you as well to Oklahoma Channel 4 KFOR.


About This Blog

The column, “Weather Whispers,” is authored by James Garriss and Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologists and weather addicts!  Whether you enjoy the science of weather or the fascinating folklore or just fun weather phenomena, it’s probably covered by these weather watchers!


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