Sometimes when I travel, something catches my eye and an obsession is born. It usually doesn’t take long to convince Ann to go along when I explain what we’ll be doing.

For instance, one of these obsessive desires took us to Tabacon Hot Springs in Costa Rica where we could sit, surrounded by the beautiful rainforest, basking in the pure volcanically heated mineral water that freely flows off Arenal Volcano. Another took us to the clear blue waters of Maho Beach where we had an amazing view of airplanes approaching St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana airport. Then, on our recent first-ever trip to Tulsa, I convinced her that we needed visit a giant blue whale with a hat on its head.

Our obligatory pic at The Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Steve and Ann prepare to enter the whale’s mouth.

When we left for Tulsa, we’d asked readers to suggest things we should see and do while there. We were overwhelmed by the number of amazing recommendations for meals, museums, and shopping we received. We knew that our limited time in Tulsa would be packed full of activity and we would have to carefully choose what we would do. So when I read Jessica Voelker’s suggestion that we should go see the “Blue Whale,” everything else obviously faded to a distant second. I knew my choice for what I wanted to see. I mean, it’s a giant blue whale in a small pond in the middle of Oklahoma. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Our obligatory pic at The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

Our obligatory pic at The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

Located along old Route 66 near Catoosa, Oklahoma, you’ll find a huge, smiling blue whale sitting peacefully in a pond. It has been there since the early 1970’s, tiny cap perched on its head, when Hugh Davis built it for his wife, Zelta, as an anniversary gift. Frankly, I think that was a pretty gutsy anniversary gift as I can’t imagine Ann’s reaction if I gave her a big whale, but Hugh knew his wife loved whales and it was a big hit.

A walk through the whale’s smiling maw brings you out on a dock over the water. For years, locals and travelers alike came here to swim, jump off the whale and slip down the slide on its side. Apparently, as the whale’s popularity grew, Hugh and Zelta also built a replica of Noah’s Ark which they used to hold a small zoo of other animals on the property.

It was fun to think about the thousands of kids who climbed these steps to the top of the slide on The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

It was fun to think about the thousands of kids who climbed these steps so they could jump into the water from the tail of The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

Eventually, the Davises retired, and the park fell into disrepair. A group of locals got together and brought the property back to life, if on a limited scale.

Today, there is a small information booth that is open on weekends where you can buy a postcard. To our knowledge, swimming is no longer allowed, but that doesn’t mean this pop-culture landmark that has been featured on the Food Network, and on the television show, American Pickers, should be missed. Instead, take a few minutes to pull off the road and spend a little time listening to the echoes of summers past.

Our daughter, Meghan, at The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

Our daughter, Meghan, at The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66.

And of course, take your obligatory photo with the blue whale.


Have you been to see The Blue Whale of Catoosa? What did you think? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. 

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The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66 near Tulsa

The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66 near Tulsa

  • Like everything Ree Drummond does, the Pioneer Woman Boarding House is over the top in a really good way.⁣
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Guests in the appropriately named Emerald Room receive a true luxury experience especially in the bathroom. With a claw foot tub, walk-through shower, two vanities and two toilets, this room is a jewel. ⁣
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Have you stayed at the @pwboardinghouse? #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #thepioneerwoman #reedrummond #pawhuska #mercantile #pwboardinghouse #oklahoma #ranchlife #oklahoma #visitok @visitoklahoma #okie @VisitOsageCounty
  • Strawberry fields forever...⁣
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While traveling, we adore stopping in farmers markets and checking out the fresh produce available for sale. When we saw these strawberries in Tallinn, Estonia, we just had to take a picture.⁣
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The vibrant color of the berries tells us they were ripened naturally on the vine. You just don't get that color trucked in to a supermarket. And that natural ripening means, of course, that these are some of the sweetest strawberries you'll ever taste. Yum! #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #cruisecritic #tallinn #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #cruiselife #estonia #strawberries #farmersmarket #lifeisshort #visitestonia #adventuregirls #tallinngram #berries
  • On our Baltic Sea cruise, we stopped in Stockholm, Sweden. To get there, we had to sail through the Stockholm Archipelago. ⁣
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For days leading up to our arrival in Stockholm, the captain of the ship kept telling us that we should plan to be up early so we could take in the scenery as we passed through the archipelago. After enough repetitions, we resolved to get up early to see what he was so excited about.⁣
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We are so glad we set the alarm. That morning, we sat on our balcony and had breakfast watching some of the most beautiful scenery we'd ever seen pass by our cabins. We had an up-close view of land that we've rarely had from a cruise ship unless it was docked. ⁣
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Sure, we travel to see specific things. Who doesn't? But we really love it when we find something like this that we didn't know existed, but it is so amazing it enriches our lives and makes us want to go back again and again.
  • In the @visitmasoncityiowa airport, is a new restaurant called CAVU American Kitchen & Cocktail Lounge. Offering chef-crafted foods and incredible cocktails, this restaurant has the best airport food we've ever eaten. In fact, we'll call this airport a destination.⁣
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Pictured here is Chef Cassie's fried potato salad. This was her elimination dish from the show, "Master Chef." Apparently, Wolfgang Puck didn't think much of it. After trying it, we don't think much of Wolfgang Puck's taste.⁣
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This dish, which is served warm, is composed of crispy fried potato chunks covered in delicious potato salad dressing. The combination of flavors and textures had us going back for more. #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #midwestliving #midwestlivingmag  #midwestmoment #igersmidwest #midwestisbest #masoncity #clearlake @masoncity
  • In Rochester, Minnesota, in the shadow of the famed Mayo Clinic, is a beautiful pedestrian area called the Peace Plaza. Because of its location, it's often the last area a person walks through as they go to the clinic hoping for help. And, it's the first place people pass as they leave the clinic sometimes with good news, other times to confront their own mortality.⁣
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The designers of the plaza seemed to understand the huge role the space would play in the lives of the people coming through. They designed it as a calming, meditative space filled with tranquility. It's a place you can refocus a little, and take some time to transition from the clinic to the world. And, it's just one more example of the ways that @minnesotas_rochester demonstrates humanity to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year to the clinic.
  • Are these salt and pepper shakers not the cutest?? Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is a magical place at Christmastime. We stopped by the @pwmercantile this morning and snapped a few new pics. Getting excited for the Holiday Lights Parade tonight!
  • We have four holiday gift guides up on the blog for the traveler, home cook, cruise lover, and road tripper on your shopping list! Just click on the link in our bio to check out our blog. ⁣
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One of our all-time favorite items (it made two of our lists) are these @EagleCreek packing items. This starter set goes with us on every single trip. Last year, Steve packed 16 size XXL shirts in on of them. They are super lightweight, safe space in your suitcase, and help you stay organized as your travel. ⁣
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What are your favorite gift ideas for travelers this year? ⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #giftideas #giftsfortravelers #traveler #travelgifts #giftguide #roadtrippin #packingtips #packingbags #howtopack #packlight #eaglecreek #celebritycruises #travelblogger #packing #packinghack #giftsph #holidayshopping #giftidea #travelgram #packing101
  • Who's ready for some pumpkin pie??⁣
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The thought of digging in to a piece of pumpkin pie (served with a cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer) takes us back to a small town festival we love. ⁣
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A few years ago, our town of Crete, Nebraska, began holding the Great Pumpkin Festival during the first weekend of October.⁣
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From spring to fall, local volunteers tend gardens filled with pumpkin vines so that folks who come to the festival can take home a reasonably priced, locally-grown pumpkin. ⁣
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The festival is full of games, food, performances and fun. It's a wholesome day where the town turns out to celebrate another year together in a relaxed, calm atmosphere.⁣
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Does your town have a festival? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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