Route 66 News

The Blue Whale’s magical mushrooms

I’ve visited the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Okla., literally dozens of times. But I’d never known about the existence of these things on the grounds until I saw this photo Saturday on the Blue Whale’s Twitter account:

That’s Ron Edwards John Davis taking a break, one of the many Fins of the Blue Whale volunteers who are cleaning up the Blue Whale property, including the Ark.

Behind the Ark are 16 mushrooms in a circle, ranging from 3 to 5  feet tall, that Hugh Davis apparently built during the 1970s. Because it’s in a spot away from the Blue Whale and has been choked by underbrush for years, I didn’t know those mushrooms existed. Not many others knew about them, either.

According to volunteer Ron Edwards in an e-mail:

We’ve known about the shrooms since about September when Blaine and John gave me some photos to scan.

Naturally I asked about them and Blaine went and showed them to me and a couple of the Fins. From that point it was our goal to get them where people could at least see them from a distance until we got them refurbished. We intentionally waited until the ticks and snakes were not an issue to clear things out.

We’re also working toward clearing around the old snake corral and starting the clean out of the ARK. As well as trying to finish the Souvenir Shack by May 1st.

Our curiosity piqued, Emily (aka Redforkhippie) and I drove Sunday to the Blue Whale site to check out those mushrooms and see whether there were other obscure things for us to discover.

It’s a good thing the vegetation is winter-killed, or else traipsing through much of the grounds would have been nearly impossible. Going into thorny brush on uneven terrain isn’t recommended. Much of what we saw also is fenced off. We explored this so you wouldn’t have to.

First, we found this concrete octopus that was uncovered in the pond just behind the Blue Whale:

Then we found the mushrooms behind the Ark, many of which are still concealed by brush:

Near the mushrooms is the old snake pit, where Davis kept his scaly pets:

Then, of course, is the Ark. You can see the turnstile that once was used:

Edwards said a website dedicated to the Blue Whale, bluewhalecatoosa.com, should go live in the coming days.

Emily also blogged about the mushroom-hunting expedition on Sunday.

11 thoughts on “The Blue Whale’s magical mushrooms

  1. Ashley Davis

    Actually that’s not Ron Edwards taking a break under the mushroom, it’s my dad John Davis, the grandson of Hugh Davis. He is also a member of the Fins volunteer group, and since he grew up on Natures Acres, and helped his grandfather build the Blue Whale he knows where all the hidden treasures are!! The mushrooms were built years before the whale back when Hugh built Natures Acres as part of the scenery on the trails that led back by the alligator pond and snake pit. Over the years, the Natures Acres building and the ARK have fallen into disrepair and the weeds and bamboo have grown so high that these impressive mushrooms have been hidden for many many years. We plan to clear out the surrounding area and hope to restore the ARK and the Natures Acres building and with time open up the building again as sort of a small museum that would contain original items from my great grandfather and again be able to allow visitors to hold get togethers as it did back before I was born!

      1. Linda

        Thanks Ashley, I enjoy learning more about the Blue Whale and Hugh Davis. I went on Google maps and could see the mushrooms from above.

  2. Trevor Hilton

    My son, Hunter, loves the Blue Whale. We’ve picniced there and had to drag him away. I never knew the mushrooms were there. I saw the sunken boat, but not the octopus on it.
    I look forward to seeing the entire complex.

  3. RT

    That’s so cool – hopefully one day we can get every single bit of it back up and running?

    Kind of reminds me of Sea-A-rama, back in the old days down in Galveston, that was a cool place too, from back in the day, and we used to take trips down there years after it closed, to see what might still be left.

    Nature’s Acres – what a cool park it would make again today, and what a cool park it must have been back then!

  4. Josh "stamperdude"

    I can’t wait for the day I can see these awesome sites in person! I’d never heard of Nature Acres and and the mushrooms before, just The Ark and Blue Whale. Keep up the good work Catoosa on restoring this piece of Americana on the Mother Road.

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