Route 66 is full of iconic roadside attractions but the Blue Whale of Catoosa may be the most recognizable. Swimming is no longer allowed, but you can still climb up onto the tail and have a picnic at one of the nautical-themed tables nearby. If you go early in the morning or outside of tourist season, you may get lucky and have the entire park to yourself.
“Iconic Route 66 roadside attraction!”
This large blue whale has become a Route 66 roadside attraction. The Blue Whale of Catoosa is a waterfront structure, located just east of the town of Catoosa, Oklahoma, and it has become one of the most recognizable attractions on old Route 66. Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale in the early 1970s as a surprise anniversary gift to his wife Zelta, who collected whale figurines. The Blue Whale and its pond became a favored swimming hole for both locals and travelers along Route 66 alike.Originally, the pond surrounding the massive Blue Whale was spring fed and intended only for family use. However, as many locals began to come to enjoy its waters, Davis brought in tons of sand, built picnic tables, hired life guards, and opened it to the public. Originally called Nature’s Acres, Mr. Davis continued to add to the roadside attraction until it eventually included The Fun and Swim Blue Whale and the A.R.K. (Animal Reptile Kingdom). The attraction also featured Hugh’s brother-in-law, Indian Chief Wolf Robe Hunt, a full blooded Acoma Indian, who was famous, in his own right, for his Indian paintings and as a highly skilled silversmith. Chief Wolf-Robe Hunt once ran the Arrowood Trading post across the highway from the Blue Whale attraction.By 1988, the Davises were not able to continue managing the attraction, so they closed it to the public. In 1990 Mr. Davis died. The park soon fell into disrepair, crumbling from neglect and weather. However, after a decade the people of Catoosa and employees of the Hampton Inn launched a fund-raising and volunteer effort to restore the Route 66 landmark. The Blue Whale was restored and repainted to its original brilliant blue. The adjacent picnic area has also been restored.
A fun, quick stop for photos. Cute cement whale seating area to the right and don't forget to explore off to the left of the whale, behind the ark to see some crazy mushroom art and some sort of abandoned animal cage!
This was one of my most favoritest stops on Route 66. I got loads of pics of me in front of the whale. Next time I'm gonna go inside the whale, but I wasn't old enough this time. There's also some cool abandoned stuff laying around to explore.
If you have kids, and you're on Route 66, definitely make it a point to stop here. It wasn't crowded at all when I visited in August 2014.
Fun little stop, and it would be great for a picnic. No swimming policy is in place, but you can crawl around on the whale, and it's great for a photo op.
Made a stop here in October 2013 as we cruised the the route recommended by the Roadtrippers U.S Route 66 Guide.
Great place to stop and stretch the legs. It's free and there are a few places to sit and chill with a great view of the little lake and the great big massive hand-crafted blue whale. Wish we could work out what the old fella was thinking when he built it, definitely wins the prize for most random site ever!
oh, and there's also well maintained ablutions. Glad we popped in to take a photo, now its ticked off from the Bucket List! :)
This is a great spot to stop with the kids. It is free and there is a small gift shop. My kids loved playing in the whale. There is a picnic area and clean bathrooms. It was our favorite place on our Route 66 trip.
This place is great! One of my favorite stops from my roadtrip. We got there maybe an hour or two before sunset and it was pretty deserted.
Awesome whale with interesting story
Good stop and good tips in the comments below. You can fish here too, but it's catch and release. There were about 10 people there fishing/picnicking and about 20 people in and out of the location during our 15 minute stop on Sunday, July 13th. Busy place but everybody was super friendly and it was very peaceful.
Loved this! Perfect spot to stretch our legs and take pics. Easy to get to from I-44.
It's a funny thing to see in person. I only saw it at night but it was outlined in Christmas lights.
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Blue Whale of Catoosa
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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