I’ve been hearing about the “Blue Whale of Catoosa” for quite some time and after reading this Buzz Feed post, “The 45 Best Things About Living in Oklahoma”, I was determined to see the whale for myself. It occurred to me as we were driving up to Joplin on Sunday that we probably weren’t too far from it so I checked Google and decided we’d make a little side trip on our way home Monday. It’s located in Catoosa on the original old Route 66, just a bit off I-44. Ever indulgent, David agreed to make the detour.
It was built in the early 70s as an anniversary gift:
Gee, I’m thrilled to get flowers and a trip to the Skirvin hotel on my anniversary. Perhaps I need to dream bigger.
The attraction was open but the little gift shop wasn’t. I’d have loved to see what sort of things they had for sale.
There were a few folks there visiting:
He’s a pretty friendly-looking fella:
Swimming is no longer allowed. I’m sure there was a time when kids had a blast going down that little slide but I’m apparently missing that Oklahoma gene which allows one to desire swimming in ponds. I’ll take a properly-chlorinated pool or the ocean, please.
Catch and release fishing is allowed and a man and his son were doing just that. We could see some fish in the water and a HUGE turtle.
Of course I had to check out the restrooms:
They were clean but *interesting*. The door consisted of a sheet of corrugated plastic attached to a chain link fence gate. There was a little sign instructing one to latch the door for privacy and yet there was this:
Adjacent to the Blue Whale attraction is what was once a little zoo known as the ARK (animal reptile kingdom). It has fallen into disrepair but there are plans to restore it:
I was utterly charmed by this quirky little Route 66 roadside attraction and so glad we took the time to visit. Now I’m determined to seek out and visit other unusual Oklahoma attractions and would also love to travel several of the stretches of old Route 66 which remain in Oklahoma (there are approximately 400 miles of Route 66 remaining in Oklahoma, more than any other state).
If you’d like to learn more about the Blue Whale of Catoosa, check out their website. They even have a blog. I also found this video: