The Blue Whale from the shore.

Blue Whale

Field review by the editors.

Catoosa, Oklahoma

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 1972 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.

View into the whale's mouth.

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 ("ARK" -- 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 Noah's Ark was abandoned and, although still standing, is now beyond repair. That sad fate could have befallen the Blue Whale as well, which for decades fell into disrepair. But it was too visible and too beloved, and in 2020 the town of Catoosa bought the whale, patched its concrete, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.

A cluster of picnic benches sit on the shore near the Blue Whale's open mouth, and the town has plans for a walking trail around the pond and a deck for fishing. But because the pond has accumulated years of debris, there's no more swimming, and no more sliding or diving off of the Blue Whale.

Blue Whale

Address:
2600 US Route 66, Catoosa, OK
Directions:
North edge of town, on the west side of Route 66, about a mile south of the Kerr McClellan River.
Hours:
Daily 8-6 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
918-266-2505
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

D.W. Correll MuseumsD.W. Correll Museums, Catoosa, OK - 2 mi.
65-Foot-Tall Guitar65-Foot-Tall Guitar, Catoosa, OK - 3 mi.
Fifty-Foot-Tall Buddhist DeityFifty-Foot-Tall Buddhist Deity, Tulsa, OK - 5 mi.
In the region:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Tulsa, OK - 9 mi.

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