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Willie the Whale resurfaces in Kokomo

Once a favorite at Indianapolis Zoo
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Posted at 11:37 AM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 11:51:41-04

KOKOMO — From 1964 to 1987, Willie the Whale was one of the most popular attractions at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Children just had to have their pictures taken next to the 16 foot statue.

But when the zoo moved from its old east side location to its current home in White River State Park, Willie did not make the trip.

Now, 32 years later, Willie has a new home, and city officials in Kokomo hope it's a permanent one.

Willie has a fresh coat of paint and a prominent place in Foster Park, along Wildcat Creek.

How he got there is rather complicated.

Willie spent time at an amusement park in northeastern Indiana and at the long defunct Boogie Mountain water park on the Indianapolis east side.

The whale statue eventually ended up in Rushville where that town loaned it to Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

At the museum, Willie was part of a miniature golf course.

Kokomo, meanwhile, was looking for a unique attraction for Foster Park and Rushville was willing to sell.

When Willie was done at the museum, Kokomo paid $10,000 for him.

City Controller Randy Morris hopes a new generation of children will enjoy Willie along with their parents and grandparents.

"There are only so many original artifacts for people to remember about their childhood," Morris said.

Foster Park is located on the southwest side of downtown Kokomo, along Superior Street.