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

  • This is our Airbnb, Postcard Place. It's located right in Pawhuska, just a two and a half minute drive from the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. It even has its own Instagram account, @postcardplce. ⁣
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Postcard Place can accommodate up to six people. With comfy bedding (including clean duvets for each new guest), USB ports by every bed, make-up remover wipes, comfy blankets for tv viewing, complimentary coffee/tea, creamer, full kitchen, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and even a luggage scale, we've tried to think of everything you might want when spending a night away from home. Of course, we also provide stamped Pawhuska postcards so you can send greetings to those who couldn't come along on the trip.⁣
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Find Postcard Place on Airbnb and book it for your next trip to Pawhuska and come @visittheosage.
  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.

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