This morning, we headed down the road about half an hour from Crystal River, to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Weeki Wachee is a Seminole phrase for Winding River and is an appropriate name. The river winds down into the Gulf of Mexico from a deep spring that remains a constant 74 degrees year round and is 99.8% pure water. The attraction was established in 1947 by former frogman Newt Perry, who took his Navy diving knowledge and taught young women how to use hoses to breathe underwater, becoming mermaids. It was a privately owned attraction until the state of Florida took over operations in 2008, turning it into a state park.
With the holiday season upon us, we opted to get there early so we could see the early show of the mermaids. There is also a water park attached to the main attraction, which is included with your admission.
Mom thinks she missed her calling and should have been a mermaid herself.
But it was time to watch the professional mermaids make breathing underwater look easy.
It can take quite a bit of time to learn how to swim in the mermaid fins and breathe through the hose, as well as learning how to go up, down, sideways and all the other tricks they perform underwater in front of a theater that can hold up to 500 people.
After being thoroughly impressed with the performance of the mermaids, we decided to take the 25 minute boat trip up the river that feeds out from the springs where the mermaids perform.
Florida state law prohibits the touching or feeding of manatees and Weeki Wachee made sure to reinforce that information in the nicest way possible.
No manatees were in the Weeki Wachee today, but the ride was still nice and we got to view some Florida flora.
Upon disembarking, we ran into the other creature that Weeki Wachee is known for: their wild peacocks. One decided to go on full display.
Then he decided we needed to see what the back of the feathers looked like.
The admission is very reasonable, at $13 per adult, children ages 6-12 are $8 and anyone under 6 is free. The ticket includes all the shows as well as admission to the water park, Buccaneer’s Bay. The mermaid shows do change and can be cancelled due to weather. This is Florida, after all. This state park is a good glimpse back at ‘Old Florida’. It really is some place that should be experienced if you’re ever on Florida’s Nature Coast.