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Featured Review
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
a close-up from a younger mermaid on the main Little Mermaid Show 8.17 Florida ratingStar
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park guyonthego
Mermaids in Florida!
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a 538 acre state park which features a live mermaid show that has been a hallmark attraction in western Florida since 1947. The mermaids are typically represented by young beautiful women who perform in a freshwater spring in front of a glass walled underwater theatre. A few mermen take part as well, and there is a monthly show with older mermaids. Additional park attractions include a seasonal waterslide, rafting and kayaking. There also is a live reptile show and a boat tour of the Weeki Wachee River.

The mermaid show was begun by Newton Perry, who interestingly also trained Navy divers in World War II. The initial show was modest, and the theatre only had 18 seats. This changed in the 1959 when the ABC Corporation purchased the attraction and developed the current theatre and more expansive mermaid shows. With ABC marketing support and enhanced facilities, the shows became very popular. Multiple shows were performed daily and sell outs were common. The popularity waned though over the years as tastes changed, and the attraction was eventually taken over by Florida to preserve the natural habitat and perpetuate the show.

Winter tends to be slow, and crowds are typically lighter especially during the week. So a midweek visit in January worked well from a privacy perspective. The timing of the visit also was fortuitous because there were separate shows with both the older mermaids and the younger ones. This entertainment venue has been around so long that there are now three generations of performers, from mother to daughter to granddaughter, like a cherished family tradition. The main show itself is great, great for adults, great for kids, just great. It’s cheesy, whimsical and endearing. It’s especially fun and funny to watch turtles and fish swim around the performers during the show. The reptile show was not offered at the time but includes such reptiles as snakes and baby alligators. A river boat tour was relaxing and informative and better than expected with good opportunities to see large fish as well as a docile manatee. Who would have thought that one could see frolicking mermaids in Florida springs in 2012? You won’t find entertainment like this anywhere else. It's a throwback attraction, like a time capsule from Florida’s past. The show is wonderfully kitsch and provided for a memorable visit.
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May 2018
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