A Roadside Mermaid Paradise at Weeki Wachee Springs, FL
Looking for a totally unique piece of Americana to see while on vacation on Florida’s Gulf Coast? Well, it doesn’t get much more unique than seeing a Mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs just one hour north of Tampa.
Weeki Wachee’s Beginnings
Weeki Wachee is a historical, roadside attraction like no other. Built in 1947 by attraction promoter and Navy diver, Newt Perry – it was created to showcase underwater hose breathing techniques. Perry developed the land and built an underwater windowed theater so that spectators could watch a show, peering into the spring’s crystal clear waters.
Perry hired pretty girls in the area to dress as mermaids and showcase some of his advanced underwater breathing techniques such as drink, eat and do ballet underwater. The first show was in October of 1947 and to this day you can watch a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid.
Like the sirens of the Sea, during the 1950’s and 60’s the Mermaids in their signature one piece bathing suits would wave to drivers passing by, beckoning them in to see the show. Weeki Wachee was a hit with Hollywood – drumming up all sorts of celebrity sightings in it’s heyday including Elvis, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, and Arthur Godfrey. Some of the mermaids even lived on site in Mermaid cottages.
The spring is the deepest fresh water spring in the United States and the bottom has never been found. In 2007, divers were able to navigate some of the underwater cave system as deep as 407 feet. It stays 72 degrees all year round, and has a 10mph current that can fatigue swimmers.
If you visit Weeki Wachee today you can watch the Mermaid show in all it’s glory along with seeing a native Floridian reptile show for the kids. You can also hang out at Buccaneer Bay, a makeshift sandy beach above the spring, where you can take a dip.
For more information on a visit to Weeki Wachee head here.