Attractions for kids along Route 66

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/16/2020 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Blue Whale is a famous attraction that sits just off Route 66 in Catoosa. It is 20 feet tall and 80 feet long. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Just 3.5 miles off Route 66 resides Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, containing what is claimed as the world’s largest concrete totem pole that stands 90 feet tall. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Will Rogers Memorial Museum houses the largest collection of memorabilia and his entire collection of writings. It’s at 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd. in Claremore. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Eastern Trails Museum features local history surrounding the town of Vinita. It sits one block west of the Mother Road at 215 W. Illinois Ave in Vinita. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A portion of historic Route 66 runs through the Cherokee Nation and along the way are several points of interest for kids. There is a blue whale, the world’s largest concrete totem pole, a museum about a famous Cherokee cowboy and another museum that includes local Cherokee history.

Blue Whale of Catoosa

Along the Main Street of America, the Blue Whale is a famous attraction that sits just off Route 66.

Zoologist Hugh S. Davis created the bright blue metal and concrete whale in the 1970s. The waterfront structure cannot be missed as it is 20 feet tall and 80 feet long.

“I knew the gentleman that built the whale. He was a kind soft-spoken gentleman. He cared about nature and wildlife and children. That was his main focus it seemed like,” Blue Whale volunteer Linda Hobbs said.

Starting as an area for Davis’ grandchildren to swim and play, the park now attracts visitors from all over to picnic and fish in the pond where the whale resides. Other features include a gift shop and restroom facilities.

Visit at 2680 N. Hwy 66 in Catoosa. For information, call 918-694-7390 or visit Blue Whale of Catoosa on Facebook.

Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

Just 3.5 miles off Route 66 resides Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, containing what is claimed as the world’s largest concrete totem pole that stands 90 feet tall.

Galloway, a folk artist, began constructing the totem pole in 1937 and other art in the park using bas-relief designs and carvings inspired by Native American heritage.

The totem pole “is made of red sandstone framed with steel and wood with a thick concrete skin and sits on a large three-dimensional turtle,” according to nps.gov.

The park was acquired by the Rogers County Historical Society in 1989 and is open to visitors who can also view the Arrowhead Totem, Birdbath Totem and Tree Totem, all dating back as far as or before 1955.

Visit at 21300 OK-28 A in Chelsea. For information, call the Rogers Country Historical Society at 918-342-1127 or visit nps.gov.

Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Known as the “Cherokee Kid,” Will Rogers became famous for roping, riding and vaudeville.

“Wild West shows paved the way for Will Rogers’ trick roping to the vaudeville stage where he added talks, jokes and gentle humor that soon made him famous,” according to willrogers.com. “Will Rogers crisscrossed America and invaded European theaters, chortling frontier humor and sharing Native insight with punctuation from his swinging lariat, as vaudeville boomed.”

The Will Rogers Memorial Museum is dedicated to Rogers and houses the largest collection of memorabilia and his entire collection of writings.

Visitors can roam the museum to learn about his life, wisdom and humor at 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd. in Claremore. For information, call 918-341-0719 or visit willrogers.com

Eastern Trails Museum

The Eastern Trails Museum features local history surrounding the town of Vinita. According to easterntrailsmuseum.com, the museum has exhibits on “a local Civil War battle, railroads, ranching, mercantile, post office, home craft, ancient points and pipes, schools, Cherokee influence, military, tools, Will Rogers’ youth, Route 66 and more.”
Throughout the year, the museum hosts special events such as a Route 66 concert and Cherokee Heritage Day.

It sits one block west of the Mother Road at 215 W. Illinois Ave in Vinita. For information, call 918-323-1338 or visit easterntrailsmuseum.com.
About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...

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