DESTINATION: NATURES ACRES / THE BLUE WHALE

Located on historic Route 66 near Catoosa,Oklahoma. A famous roadside attraction resides, A big blue beast of a structure. "The Blue Whale" swims in a murky pond just to the side of "The Mother Road".

blue whaleWhile trying to focus on the deserted Natures Acres it is nearly impossible to not speak of the blue whale & its importance as part of the story.

In the late 1960’s at the age of 60, Hugh Davis began to draw pictures of a fish  that he wanted to construct at his zeltaprivate pond. From that fish evolved a whale. Bigger and bigger he grew from sketches on napkins to drawings on large sheets of paper. He made notes about all the materials he wanted to use to build the Blue Whale. Davis a former employee of the Tulsa zoo & reptile enthusist built the Natures Acres park (including the iconic Blue Whale) as a suprise anniversary gift to his wife Zelta.

Hugh always had a “project” in the making … whether it was building furniture, creating an alligator ranch,he was always busy. After his retirement from the Tulsa Zoo, he devoted all of his time to developing facilities to educate people about nature. First he built the A.R.K. (Animal Reptile Kingdom) A large scale replica of Noah's ark with cut out wooden animals, then the Alligator nature trailsRanch featuring live alligators, snake pit and prairie dog village.

 In July 1972, the unpainted whale began attracting passerbys who wanted to swim & dive off his tail, slide down his water-coated fins and poke their heads out the holes in the whale’s head.ark kids

The pond had been enlarged by Hugh into a commercial swimming hole in the mid 70's featuring the happy whale with it's toothy grin as the centerpiece of Hugh and Zelta's new attraction, 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.

arkBy 1988, the Davis' 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 local 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.

The Naures Acres section of the park is now closed & on private property. Please do not trespass! However if the caretakers are present & asked nicley, They just may let you go look at it. The Blue Whale is open from dawn until dusk & no admission is charged. Donations are gladly accepted.

For more information please visit:  http://www.bluewhaleroute66.com/index.html

 

 
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