North America, Oklahoma

The Blue Whale Route 66

Historic Route 66 is full of fun things to draw your attention and imagination. When driving into Catoosa, Oklahoma on Route 66, you won’t be able to miss The Blue Whale! When you see it, be sure to stop and look around.

The Blue Whale Route 66

The Blue Whale

History

The Blue Whale on Route 66 was built from 1970 to 1972 as the brain child of Hugh Davis and an anniversary gift to his wife, Zelta. He enlisted help from his friend, Harold Thomas, on welding the frame of the whale. Hugh himself hand mixed the cement that would later be painted blue.

When the blue whale was complete, he opened the grounds to people six days a week, from 11 until dark, to swim and play to their heart’s content. In 1988, due to declining health, Hugh closed it down to the public. He died two years later.

The Blue Whale Route 66

In 1997, the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce began refurbishing The Blue Whale and when Zelta died, in 2001, it was left to her daughter, Dee Dee. It is now open to the public and free of charge. Yay!

The Blue Whale Route 66

What to do at the Blue Whale

When you arrive at The Blue Whale, you may think you can take 5 minutes and move on. I think you should give yourself a little more time.

At the whale itself, you can climb to the top of the tail and also inside the head of the whale.

After you’ve looked through the whale, take a few fun photos for your memories

The Blue Whale Route 66

If you’ve planned ahead, you can have a picnic and have lunch at one of the picnic tables.

Do a little fishing in the pond. Catch and release only.

Stand on the whale and watch for turtles. There were quite a few of them.

After lunch, take a short hike on the trails to settle your food. The trails are easy enough for kids.

See if you can find some honeysuckle and show your kids how to suck the sweetness out of the flower.

Stop in at the gift shop and see the souvenirs. The person that works there will tell you lots of stories about the place and the family.

The Blue Whale Route 66

The Blue Whale isn’t an all day excursion, but we had fun there and if you’re driving on Route 66, it’s a great place to stop. They even have bathrooms, so you can take care of everything in one place.

We actually went out of our way to see The Blue Whale and I’m glad that we did. Our little trip was a lot of fun. If you’re looking for other fun things to do in Oklahoma, visit my Oklahoma page. There’s sure to be something that strikes your interest. I’m still adding to it too. Have you seen anything like this in your travels?

The Blue Whale Route 66

 

The Blue Whale Route 66

 

 

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Jenn and Ed Coleman July 28, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    I love reading stories like this. They are so much more authentic and an ultimate guide to someplace. I have seen the Blue Whale in innumerable travelogs throughout my childhood. I’ve even been up and down Rt 66 a couple of times checking out the sites. Places like this are such an integral part of American culture.

    • Reply ppadmin July 28, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      They really are an integral part of American culture. I love that places are being restored and shared. They show us our roots.

  • Reply Hannah July 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    How fun! I LOVE odd roadside attractions like this! What a sweet gesture to build a giant whale for your wife – that’s true love 😉 If I ever drive Route 66 through Oklahoma, I will definitely stop here.

    • Reply ppadmin July 28, 2019 at 6:37 pm

      I hope you will do it. I really loved reading about the whale and his wife. Maybe my husband will build me a turtle.

  • Reply Debra Schroeder July 28, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    The Blue Whale looks like a fun stop on a road trip. Climbing it sounds like fun! So glad the Chamber refurbished it and kept it open to the public.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      Me too! I think it would be a great place to take little kids, especially on a road trip when you’re driving by.

  • Reply Adonis Villanueva July 29, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    What a peculiar little thing or should I say a big thing, it’s a whale after all! It sounds like it’s a fun little stop and should belong in the Atlas Obscura archive 🙂 The whale looks very photogenic too!

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      It is peculiar, but worth the drive too. We enjoyed our visit.

  • Reply Catherine Salvador Mendoza July 30, 2019 at 5:20 am

    This blue whale looks adorable! And sure does a good way to here to spend a day! I love seeing turtles! Aren’t they the cutest, too?! And yes, buying souvenirs are must for me! What a day in Oklahoma!

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Turtles are my favorite and they were a great surprise for me. I loved hearing the story of the blue whale from the person who works there.

  • Reply vanessa workman July 30, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve read about The Blue Whale before but I didn’t realize it was an anniversary gift. So sweet! Any man that presented me with a Blue Whale would win my heart for life too. I would have loved to have met Hugh and Zelta back in the day, they must have been a lot of fun.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      It kind of puts other anniversary gifts to shame. I would have loved to have met them too.

  • Reply sherianne July 30, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Now this is unique! You just never know what you will find on Route 66. Are you able to swim and use the slides? I would love to take my niece and nephew to this, their eyes would light up for sure

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      They don’t allow swimming anymore and the water is a little murky. You can fish, as long as you put the fish back in the pond.

  • Reply Tami Wilcox July 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Love that the builder designed and made the whale for his wife as an anniversary gift. Sounds pretty romantic! And nice that it is now open to the public without charge. Just the kind of thing I bet the original owner would have been happy about.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I think you are right. Reading and hearing about him, he seemed like a person who loved to give.

  • Reply Medha July 31, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Haha, I would sure climb to the top of the tail and inside the head of the blue whale. It looks like a fun, crazy thing to do! It’s nice that you can visit it free of charge.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      I was thinking it would be fun to climb in there, but I had on a skirt and didn’t want to flash anyone. Love that it’s free too.

  • Reply Archana Singh August 1, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    I had no idea the Blue Whale on Route 66 was built by Hugh Davis as an anniversary gift to his wife, Zelta. Shows how much he loved her. Looks like a great place to visit.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      What a great gift, right?! A great stop if you’re in the area.

  • Reply Trisha August 2, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    How about that a life size figure of a whale as a dedication of love. This is a very cute dedication to his wife! I hope they maintain this so the local biodiversity would thrive.

    • Reply ppadmin September 28, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      I think Hugh must have loved Zelta very much. I hope they will maintain it as well.

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