Big Blue Whale – landlocked and great on Route 66

Big Blue Whale

2705 N Hwy 66
Catoosa, OK
918-266-6042
http://www.oklahomaroute66.com/preserv/catoosa.html
“Zippy the Pinhead” location

Built by Hugh Davis in the 70s as a surprise (?!) anniversary gift for his wife Zelda, who collected whale figurines. It is one of the best known landmarks on Route 66. The big whale speaks to a simpler time, when a swimming hole didn’t need all kinds of fancy wave machines and gadgetry. Thanks to a recent paint job, it’s not so much “a whiter shade of whale” anymore.

Originally called Nature’s Acres, Mr. Davis continued to add to the roadside attraction until it eventually included The Fun and Swim Blue Whale and the A.R.K. (Animal Reptile Kingdom). The attraction also featured Hugh’s brother-in-law, Indian Chief Wolf Robe Hunt, a full blooded Acoma Indian, who was famous, in his own right, for his Indian paintings and as a highly skilled silversmith. Chief Wolf-Robe Hunt once ran the Arrowood Trading post across the highway from the Blue Whale attraction.

By 1988, the Davises were not able to continue managing the attraction, so they closed it to the public. In January 1990 Mr. Davis died followed by his wife Zelta in 2001. The park soon fell into disrepair, crumbling from neglect and weather. However, after a decade the people of Catoosa and employees of the Hampton Inn launched a fund-raising and volunteer effort to restore the Route 66 landmark. The Blue Whale was restored and repainted to its original brilliant blue. The adjacent picnic area has also been restored.

This was a stop on the 2002 Route 66 Caravan, a 66-day road trip led by preservationist and historian, Jim Conkle. He lead the The Route 66 Caravan from “pier to pier,” Santa Monica to Chicago to raise the awareness of Route 66 and the need to preserve it. He posted more than 50 Hampton “Save a Landmark” signs along the route.

Also designated Hampton “Save A Landmark” site. And a “Zippy the Pinhead” comic strip location – “A Metaphor For Something”

(some info excerpted from Wikipedia)

Find this site and others with the iPhone apps, “Best Road Trip Ever!” and “Road Trip 66!”
(Photos © copyright 2006-2014 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)