Historic Blue Whale Park In Catoosa Getting Upgrades

In anticipation of Route 66's centennial celebration coming up in 2026, the City of Catoosa is looking to make some upgrades to the entire park.

Wednesday, October 18th 2023, 9:38 pm



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The Blue Whale is one of the most popular landmarks on the historic Route 66.

In anticipation of Route 66's centennial celebration coming up in 2026, the City of Catoosa is looking to make some upgrades to the entire park.

A master plan was revealed at the Catoosa Park board meeting that shows what could be coming to the park pending approval from the city council.

Some travelers who have been to the Blue Whale multiple times on their Route 66 road trips are excited about park improvements, but others are holding on to tradition.

When you visit the Blue Whale, you can expect to meet people from across the country and around the world. Those tourists are stopping by to snap a picture or a selfie, but the city of Catoosa is hoping to offer its visitors something more.

“We want people to be entertained and hang out and enjoy the weather a lot of times," John Blish said.

Blish doesn't want to take away from the whale, but he hopes to enhance it with photo opportunities, a waterfall, and a paved walkway.

"I would probably prefer a walkway, waterfall, something. A tourist, you come out here and exercise your legs a little bit, get some fresh air, take in some scenery. That would probably be my preference," Richard Higgs, a traveler from Missouri, said.

Also included in the master plan are vacation rental units and putt-putt golf.

"I think the putt-putt golf course might attract some people out here to make more use of it," said Jack, a visitor from Maryland.

“I would think something fun for the kids and family, so putt-putt is always a good one,” Luanne Willimon, originally from Nebraska, said.

But for one international tourist and Route 66 tour guide, a putt-putt golf course wouldn't be a good idea.

"Putt-putt golf, that would destroy the ambiance," Dale Butel, from Queensland, Australia, said. "If you just fix it up, you might as well go to Disneyland. There it's perfect. Leave it as it is but fix the toilets. That would be great."

Bathroom renovations are high on the list in this master plan. The whale will be untouched except for routine maintenance and touch-ups.

The next step is giving these plans to Catoosa City Council for feedback and, eventually, final approval.

This project would be a rough estimate of $6,000,000. The money would come from the city of Catoosa and from a Route 66 state fund.

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