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Monday, February 10, 2014

Weeki Wachee

As we are hit by yet another blistering snow storm in the Smoky Mountains I try to keep my mind on warmer times and warmer things.  When things get this cold all I can think about is the great state of Florida.  As I sit here in the cold shivering, I figured we should take a look at Florida's most unique and fantastic tourist attraction:  Weeki Wachee Springs.

Now Technically, Weeki Wachee is a city in Florida, but only has a population of 12.  Despite this small number it still has its own elementary and high school.   However, Weeki Wachee is best know for its namesake state park, which is the only state park featuring living breathing mermaids.

Weeki Wachee Springs was founded in 1947 by professional swimmer Newt Perry, who invented a unique breathing device, a modified air hose that allowed underwater divers suck in air without any body mounted scuba gear.   For a complete history I highly recommend reading Weeki Wachee City of Mermaids, unfortunately it cost 80 dollars on ebay.  Luckily, my local library has a copy.

There are some beautiful waters to explore in the park, but the main attraction will always bee Weeki Wachee's underwater theater.  In this theater "mermaids" have been performing since the park opened. 

Keep in mind they are not performing a giant aquarium, the theater is essentially an glass auditorium that has been sunk in the spring.  The performers are swimming in the naturally formed spring that connects to the river.  This means that fish, turtles, manatees and alligators are free to wonder into the performance.

The park nearly went out of business in 2008, but luckily the state of Florida stepped in an purchased the park.

I was lucky enough to visit with my family a few years back, and it was truly an amazing experience.

There were two separate shows being performed in the underwater theater while we were there.  The first one was a rendition of the little mermaid, stripped of all of Disney's copyright material.  So, the Little Mermaid is not called Ariel, and has blonde hair.....

The sea witch is nameless as well.........

Along with the unfortunate prince that nearly drowns in the water.....

The Little Mermaids singing crab Sebastian is also copyrighted, so instead we get the awesome "Chester the Sea Turtle".......

Speaking of turtles, during both performances the mermaids were constantly fighting off turtles that were attacking their hair.

The second show was a celebration of Weeki Wachee springs and had an old school feel.  The mermaids performed some classic tricks such as this spiral......

The kick line......

Eating and apple and drinking a grape Nehi underwater......

And the trademark Weeki Wachee lift......

As immortalized by the statue out front.....

Of course after the show you have the opportunity to get your photo taken with a real mermaid.....

And who could resist?

Complete with Crocs and Socks

The Carpetbagger

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  1. Another great post. We'll be stopping at Weeki Wachee during the Society for Commercial Archeology's Fun in the Sunshine City Conference in April...

  2. i want to go there SO BAD! we always visit my grandparents when we go to florida and sadly they don't live nearby. we're going this summer and i might have to insist on a detour because i have GOT to see the mermaid show. i laughed out loud thinking about the turtles!

    1. Its awesome. I would say it is one of the most detour worthy places I have ever been to!

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