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Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma

Catoosa Blue Whale

This summer we’ve been pretty busy working on the house (see my task list here) that we will most likely not hitting any far off destinations for summer vacation.

With that in mind we’ve decided to make a point to visit some local/regional landmarks and areas of interest.

Our fist landmark visit of sorts was the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma enterance
The entrance to the Catoosa Blue Whale
blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma information center
The information center at the Catoosa Blue Whale

We stopped to take pictures of the whale on a recent trip back from visiting family in OKC. We decided to take old route 66 home and as we were driving we happen to pass this “Whale”.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma enterance sign
These smiley whales greet people at the entrance of the Catoosa Blue Whale
blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma Park
View of the park leading to the Catoosa Blue Whale

I’d never heard of the blue whale, but my husband said he vaguely remembers reading about it in a Oklahoma travel book as a kid.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma head
The Catoosa Blue Whale dawns a baseball cap

The Whale was apparently built by Hugh Davis in the 1970’s as a road side attraction. Travelers could stop go fishing or even slide off the whale and take a swim.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma Inside
Inside the mouth and around the park of the Catoosa Blue Whale

The Whale’s creator, Mr. Davis was apparently a zoologist and built the whale on his property along with what was called the “A.R.K.”(Animal Reptile Kingdom).

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma ARK
The old ARK by the Catoosa Blue Whale

It seemed that when originally opened, tourist could get up close with the reptiles in the A.R.K and there was even a snake pit. Thankfully none of the reptiles (especially snakes) are there any more. 

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma snake pit
Abandoned snake pit; Catoosa Blue Whale

In fact both the A.R.K and snake pit were abandoned, a while ago. The whole park seemed to go downhill after Mr. Davis and his wife Zelta had grown too old to maintain the place, in the late 80’s.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma brush
A lot of the area around the Blue Whale (Catoosa) is still overgrown

Mr. Davis would eventual pass on in 1990 and his wife in 2001. It’s taken nearly a decade since then, but the community of Catoosa have been working together to bring life back to their whimsical landmark.

Davis’ daughter and husband now own the property and keep the grounds open for tourist. The city of Catoosa, have made successful fundraising efforts to keep the whale painted and looking good from the side of the road. 

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma view
The views sounding the Catoosa Blue Whale

While you can no longer go for a swim in the pond, fishing is still okay; and of course pictures of the whale are welcomed.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma tiki restrooms
The restrooms were done up as tiki huts; Catoosa Blue Whale

The A.R.K is still closed, but just behind it you can find old lighted mushrooms, that once illuminated the park at night. Apparently these mushrooms were recently uncovered under the overgrown grass.

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma mushrooms
The forgotten mushroom lights at the Catoosa Blue Whale
blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma mushrooms lights
Another shot of the mushroom lights; Catoosa Blue Whale

Visiting the Whale was a little sad, seeing the neat stuff that gets abandoned. While at the same time encouraging, knowing that slowly but surely people are making efforts to maintain and care for our historical landmarks. 

I’m glad to have gotten to see the Catoosa Whale. It’s not every day you get to stand in the mouth of a whale!

blue whale Catoosa Oklahoma eaten
Getting eaten by the Blue Whale of Catoosa

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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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