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From spotted dogs to big trucks, the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum has a lot of history for metro kids

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Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum
2716 N.E. 50th
Adults $5, seniors $4, children 6-12 $2, firefighters and their families free  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday.
424-3440, www.osfa.info/museum

Centuries ago, Europeans bred Dalmatians to protect their horses from thieves. In America, early fire trucks were not the big red vehicles seen today, but rather horse-drawn buggies. Consequently, firefighters began using Dalmatians to protect the firehouse horses, which was birth of the breed as the fire service's mascot.

This history, along with several other lessons, can be experienced at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum, 2716 N.E. 50th. The place usually sees a large number of adults and retired firefighters, however, curator Mike Billingsley said the museum has a lot to offer younger visitors.

Exhibits featuring old fire equipment " ranging from trucks from 1913 to historic "bunker" gear " show the progression of equipment used throughout generations of Oklahoma firefighting. Its history is detailed throughout, with an audio tour that brings each exhibit to life.

The museum also has an an 8-foot by 53-foot mural depicting the evolution of the fire service, as well as a Junior Firefighter Activity Center for children, which Billingsley said gives kids the opportunity to learn about fire safety while having fun.

"The museum is a history of heroes," he said. "Firefighting is about helping people. That's something kids can benefit from: learning to help one another."

Adult admission is $5, seniors are $4, and children 6-12 are $2. Entry is free to firefighters and their families. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 424-3440 or visit www.osfa.info/museum. "Ta'Chelle Jones

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