One of Route 66’s most memorable attractions, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, was temporarily closed last week after vandals covered the inside of the whale’s head with graffiti. As part of my journalistic pledge to spout the truth, I visited Catoosa over the weekend to blowhole this story wide open.
Last Thursday, the city of Catoosa closed access to the fintastic attraction after discovering freshly painted graffiti. Disappointed road trippers out getting their kicks were held at bay in the parking lot, prevented from entering the structure.
“All they kept saying was, ‘whale let you know when it’s open,'” said one disappointed mother. “What are we supposed to do, just continue on to Totem Pole Park in Foyil like nothing ever happened? My kids are literally blubbering!”
When asked if the graffiti was visible from the parking lot, the woman shook her head. “We didn’t see anything painted on the outside of the whale’s head. I think all the graffiti was incisor mouth.”
“It’s a shame that someone would do this on porpoise,” she added.
Thursday afternoon, the City of Catoosa’s Streets and Parks Department set into motion a plan to remove the vandalism which, perhaps unsurprisingly, consisted largely of blue paint. With help from a ladder, the crew was able to breach the highest portion of the ceiling and cover up the graffiti.
Although no security cameras currently monitor the interior of the whale, the city is considering adding some. “Up until now it’s been a real whale of fortune,” said one worker. “Adding cameras would both capture evidence of crimes and hopefully deter kids from doing this in the future — you know, krill two birds with one stone.” As to when or if cameras will be installed, the worker was unsure how the city would make their final decision. “Maybe they’ll flipper a coin,” he shrugged.
By the time I arrived in Catoosa, the monument was once again ready to whalecome visitors — a sentence you don’t get to type every day. As the gates were being unlocked, grandmas and Grampus were already pulling into the parking lot, ready to enjoy one of Route 66’s most unique landmarks.
The Blue Whale of Catoosa is open from 8AM-6PM and is located just east of Catoosa, Oklahoma on Route 66. If you stop by, make sure to bring a few clams to spend at the gift shop, which contains the history of the whale and financially supports the landmark. As for walking through the whale itself and taking selfies, no money is needed. It’s free, Willy.