Hugh Davis had a job as a director of a Tulsa zoo, and he and his wife Zelta ran an alligator farm just off of Route 66. In the early 1970s Hugh surprised Zelta on their 34th wedding anniversary by unveiling an 80-foot-long sperm whale that he had built out of pipe and concrete in a little pond on their property. He originally built it for the use of just the Davis kids, with a diving platform on its tail and a slide coming out of its head.
By the mid-1970s, however, the happy whale with the toothy smile had become the centerpiece of Hugh and Zelta's new attraction, Nature's Acres, which also featured Animal Reptile Kingdom (A.R.K. -- housed in a replica of Noah's Ark) and a Trading Post run by Hugh's Indian brother-in-law. The spring-fed pond had been enlarged by Hugh into a commercial swimming hole, and the Blue Whale became a Route 66 icon.
Hugh and Zelta eventually got old, and they closed the attraction in 1988. The pond got scummy. The Ark was abandoned and, although still standing, is now beyond repair. That fate could have befallen the Blue Whale as well, which for a decade fell into disrepair. But it was too visible and too beloved, and every few years Whale boosters now converge on Catoosa to patch its concrete and give it a fresh coat of paint.
A cluster of picnic benches sit on the shore near the whale's mouth.
September 2010: The Blue Whale now has its own souvenir and concession stand, open on weekends. Among its offerings are vintage postcards and Blue Whale bottled water.