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    Blue Whale of Catoosa

    Blue Whale of Catoosa

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    For the marine mammal, see Blue whale.

    The Blue Whale of Catoosa

    The Blue Whale of Catoosa is a waterfront structure, just east of the American town of Catoosa, Oklahoma, and it has become one of the most recognizable attractions on old Route 66.

    Contents

    1 Creation 2 Public attraction 3 Popular culture 4 Gallery 5 References 6 External links

    Creation[edit]

    Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale in the early 1970s as a surprise anniversary gift to his wife Zelta, who collected whale figurines.[1] 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.

    Public attraction[edit]

    Former Animal Reptile Kingdom attraction next to the Blue Whale

    Originally calling it 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. Davis died in January 1990, followed by his wife Zelta in 2001. 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.[1]

    Popular culture[edit]

    On July 15, 2002, the Blue Whale made a national appearance in the syndicated comic strip .[2]

    On the British television series , it was shown in season 2 episode 6 when they go to Route 66.

    The attraction served as an inspiration for the 2005 Noah Baumbach film The Squid and the Whale.

    On September 20, 2015, the Blue Whale was featured on the Food Network show, " (season 6, episode 5, "Roadside Attractions").

    On January 13, 2016, the Blue Whale was highlighted in an episode of in an episode entitled "On the Road Again".

    On November 11, 2016, the Blue Whale was the third location to sell Snapchat's new Spectacles.

    In September 2018, the Blue Whale was featured in a television advertisement for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC titled "Attractions".[3]

    In December 2021, the story of the Blue Whale's origin was featured in a television advertisement for Phillips 66 as part of their "Live to the Full" series.[4]

    Gallery[edit]

    Wide photo of the Blue Whale of Catoosa

    Interior of the Blue Whale

    "Kissing whales" sign above right hand entrance

    Roadside attraction info sign

    References[edit]

    ^ Jump up to:

    The Catoosa Blue Whale - "A Metaphor For Something" - Catoosa, OK. (retrieved 13 April 2009)

    ^ Oklahoma Zippy Archive: Are We Having Searchable Fun Yet? (retrieved 13 April 2009)^ Mercedes-Benz USA (2018-09-17), , archived from the original on 2019-05-18, retrieved 2018-10-29^ , retrieved 2022-04-12

    External links[edit]

    Architecture of the Blue Whale

    Legends of America

    Blue Whale of Route 66

    Coordinates: 36°11′37″N 95°43′59″W / 36.19370°N 95.73306°W

    Categories: 1970s architecture in the United States1970s establishments in OklahomaBuildings and structures in Rogers County, OklahomaLandmarks in OklahomaNovelty buildings in OklahomaRoadside attractions in OklahomaTourist attractions along U.S. Route 66Tourist attractions in Rogers County, OklahomaU.S. Route 66 in OklahomaWhales in art

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Blue Whale

    Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department's comprehensive site containing travel information, attractions, lodging, dining, and events.

    Blue Whale

    2680 N Hwy 66 Catoosa, OK 74015 Phone: 918-232-5098 Email Hours ADD TO TRIP

    The Blue Whale in Catoosa has become a beloved historic landmark along Route 66. The Blue Whale was originally built by Hugh S. Davis, a zoologist and family man who envisioned the whale as a special place where his grandchildren could play and swim in the nearby pond. His sketches of the mammal grew until they reached 20 feet tall and 80 feet long. With the help of a friend, Harold Thomas, the duo spent two years welding the metal framework and applying the hand-mixed cement, one five-gallon bucket at a time.

    After the whale's completion in July 1972, it attracted visitors from all over and became a place where people swam, fished and picnicked. It is still owned and operated by Davis' daughter, though swimming is no longer available. Over the years, there have been many efforts to refurbish the whale with new paint and facilities.

    Pack a picnic lunch and head to the Blue Whale for a fun-filled day of fishing. This quirky attraction also has seasonal restroom facilities. Explore the different angles of this jovial concrete mammal and you'll find a small ladder leading into a secret compartment in the whale's head. This area has been a family favorite for generations and continues to be a must-see for any traveler on Route 66.

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    Source : www.travelok.com

    History of the Blue Whale of Catoosa: An Oklahoma Whale of a Tale

    Swimming through a sea of green foliage, the Catoosa, Oklahoma blue whale smiles happily at travelers driving along the historic Route 66. The blue whale's wide smile just begs for attention, and like the call of the ancient Sirens, visitors are entranced . . .

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    History of the Blue Whale of Catoosa: An Oklahoma Whale of a Tale

    Author: Eric Standridge Updated date: May 10, 2022 Comment

    Eric Standridge is a freelance writer with an interest in history. His main focus is writing about Oklahoma.

    The Catoosa Blue Whale

    Swimming through a sea of green foliage, the Catoosa blue whale smiles happily at travelers driving along the historic Route 66. The blue whale's wide smile just begs for attention, and like the call of the ancient Sirens, visitors are entranced by this great hunk of concrete.

    Today, Catoosa's Blue Whale is a captivating tourist attraction, but this wasn't always the case. Born from a personal love story, this iconic Oklahoma landmark has grown to be a symbol of the love and freedom of the historic Route 66 byway.

    Origins of Catoosa's Blue Whale

    Constructed entirely of concrete, the Catoosa Blue Whale was one man's gift to his adoring wife. Sometime in the late 1960s, Hugh Davis dreamed up the idea behind the massive blue whale and quickly got to work.

    A retired Tulsa zookeeper, over the next year Hugh built an 80-foot long blue whale for their oversize pond, located just outside of Catoosa. The inspiration for the blue whale came from his wife's fascination with small whale figurines. Zelta had spent years collecting these small specimens, and one can only imagine her reaction when her husband presented her with the massive, smiling marine mammal.

    The blue whale became a favorite gathering spot for his family and friends. It didn't take long for this colossal concrete structure to gain local fame. Waves of people started showing up at the private swimming hole, wanting a chance to be swallowed up by the great blue beast. After realizing how popular the blue whale was becoming, Davis decided to open it up to the public.

    Wikimedia Commons - TheWhitePelican

    A Popular Route 66 Attraction

    Catoosa's Blue Whale is more like a playground than a monument. Inside the mouth and belly of the blue whale is a slide that shoots out the side and into the water. Steel ladders are placed around the inside of the whale so that people can climb up and look out the numerous portholes at the top of the structure. The playful blue whale also sports a large diving platform on the tip of its raised tail.

    Dubbed "Nature's Acres," the blue whale became a hub of activity every summer throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Over the years, Catoosa's Blue Whale has gained many friends. Several smaller blue whales hoist heart-shaped picnic tables into the air, as if in tribute to the massive monument overlooking them.

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    The Animal Reptile Kingdom (A.R.K.) was added a short time later and featured a wide variety of unique reptiles collected from all over the world. Hugh's brother-in-law, Indian Chief Wolf Robe Hunt, opened the Arrowood Trading Post directly across the highway from the blue whale, which added even more allure to the popular tourist attraction.

    Passing motorists, whose curiosity was piqued by the eye-catching cetacean, frequently stopped to see what the hubbub was all about. For years, not a single weekend passed when there wasn't a plethora of people hanging out at Catoosa's Blue Whale water park. Nature's Acres remained a popular Oklahoma attraction until the late 1980s.

    In 1988, due to her husband's failing health, Mrs. Davis finally decided to close the park. The death of Hugh two years later served as the harpoon that would end the life of the whale for good.

    Baby Whale Tables

    Rebirth of Catoosa's Blue Whale

    Luckily for Catoosa's Blue Whale, the harpoon ultimately missed its mark. The growing popularity of sites along Route 66 in the early 1990s helped bring the great blue whale back to life.

    During the years that the site was closed, the effects of nature took a devastating toll on the blue beast. The blue whale's bright blue paint peeled off, leaving a splotchy mess of gray and faded blue. Overgrown foliage seemed to drown the beast, and the once crystal-clear spring-fed pond had turned into a murky brown swamp. Still, despite the "Keep Out" signs posted around the perimeter of the park, Route 66 enthusiasts still sought out the site.

    Recognizing the significance of the massive blue whale and its location along Route 66, the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce quickly stepped in to help. In 1995, they raised donations and acquired grant money to help the family restore the blue whale and its surrounding area.

    Source : wanderwisdom.com

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