(Choctaw Casino and Resort / 70 minutes north of Plano)
Celebrating its 30th year, Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma may have started as a bingo hall, but it has grown into a destination for gaming, dining, live entertainment and more.
Since its 1988 opening, the property has changed dramatically. The Choctaw tribe added the South Casino in 2006 and the larger North Casino and Grand Hotel Tower in 2010. The latest addition in 2015 included another tower, a new theater venue, a renovated spa and a 3,600-square-feet family entertainment center named The District.
Guests can find plenty of family-friendly fun at Choctaw, like bowling in the 20-lane bowling alley, playing arcade games or even catching a movie in the cinema. The District also hosts holiday events such as meet-and-greets with the Easter Bunny and Santa.
The hotel is considered by AAA to be a Four Diamond resort. In warm weather, guests can enjoy a large outdoor area with four swimming pools, a swim up bar, water slide and rental cabanas. The property hosts 12 on-site restaurants that serve everything from ribeyes to ristretto.
For adult fun, the casinos boast more than 4,300 slot machines, 50 gaming tables and private poker rooms, as well as holding poker tournaments. The spa is another grown-up luxury with a menu of options that include massages, facials, body treatment services, rain showers and ultra-soaking tubs for two. The adjacent salon offers hair, nail and make-up services along with barber shop provisions.
Once you’ve played some slots, spent the afternoon by the pool and then had a relaxing massage, you’re off to see a show. Choctaw books some of the biggest musical acts around. It has hosted Brooks and Dunn, Aerosmith and Rod Stewart in the 3,000-seat Grand Theater; upcoming shows will feature Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Foreigner, Miranda Lambert and the Randy Rogers Band to name a few. More entertainment is available inside Gilley’s restaurant – there’s live music every weekend, a dance floor, two full-service bars and yes, your chance to ride a mechanical bull.
Every December visitors can catch a unique event – the annual Choctaw Casino Pow Wow. Members from Native American tribes across the country converge to participate and compete in traditional dancing, singing, chanting and drumming. It is a sight to behold, walking in to hear the ominous drums and to see the swirls of colorfully costumed men, women and children dancing, their feathers swaying animatedly. This is also your chance to shop traditional native wares and try an Indian Taco or frybread.
Since the early 80s, the Choctaw Nation has expanded its role of caring for its members. The casino is just one way it funds programs that include healthcare, education, housing, senior care and social services. Choctaw Casino is by far the largest employer in Durant.Choctaw Casino & Resort Website >
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