As the seasons change, consider a change in your perspective on Oklahoma’s Great Plains. Get a bird’s-eye view of some of the state’s most beautiful locales with a visit to a centuries-old geological formation or a modern-day skyscraper, or onboard a sightseeing flight that takes you from one beautiful place to the next.
The highest point in the state, Black Mesa, is 4,973 feet above sea level. The centerpiece of a 1,600-acre nature preserve, Black Mesa is named for the black lava that coated the region millions of years ago. As you hike to the plateau, keep your eyes peeled for all manner of wildlife: Mule deer, antelope, bighorn sheep and bears. Bring your binoculars, too, as this area is perfect for birdwatchers; look for golden eagles and scaled quail, among other species. In fact, this area has been home to animals throughout the ages, as evidenced by the fossilized dinosaur tracks that remain in area riverbeds. Just 15 miles away, Black Mesa State Park offers camping, fishing and hiking in the midst of rare plants and abundant animals.
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Perhaps the most unusual of Oklahoma’s contributions to the “concrete jungle” is the Price Tower Arts Center, Frank Lloyd Wright’s sole skyscraper, located north of Tulsa in Bartlesville. Built in 1956 as a world headquarters for pipeline construction innovator H.C. Price Company, the landmark building today houses a museum and hotel. The Arts Center’s 3,000-piece collection includes work by Frank Lloyd Wright and other significant architects, artists and designers. Through May, see the work of Greta Magnusson Grossman, a 20th century Swedish-American architect whose modernist furniture is synonymous with mid-century design. Get complete details at www.pricetower.org.
To take it all in, consider a helicopter tour and the unparalleled views you’ll get of Oklahoma’s cities and countryside. Oklahoma Helicopter Charter offers tours of Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Norman, as well as of state parks and other sights. Visit www.oklahomahelicoptercharter.com for details.
If you’re even more adventurous, a hot air balloon ride allows you to enjoy the view as the sun rises or sets over the sights below. Free Spirit Balloons (www.freespiritballoons.com) operates year-round in the Oklahoma City area, and Tulsa Hot Air Balloon Rides (www.tulsahotairballoonrides.com) can make any visit to its namesake city a special occasion.
Take your next Oklahoma getaway to new heights. There’s nothing like a view from the top.