Weeki Wachee Springs State Park - Florida
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Rangergirl141
N 28° 31.002 W 082° 34.396
17R E 346045 N 3155451
Quick Description: Weeki Wachee Springs -- The City of Live Mermaids -- is more than just mermaids; it's a truly original piece of Florida's rich heritage.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 1/6/2010 9:41:07 AM
Waymark Code: WM8109
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Phleum
Views: 22

Long Description:
The first show at the Weeki Wachee Springs underwater theater opened on October 13, 1947. Weeki Wachee Springs became a state park on November 8, 2008.

In the 1950s, Weeki Wachee was one of the nation’s most popular tourist stops. The attraction received worldwide acclaim. Movies were filmed at the spring, like "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid." Sights at the park included the mermaid shows, orchid gardens, jungle cruises, and Indian encampment and a new beach. The mermaids took etiquette and ballet lessons.

Weeki Wachee's heyday began in 1959, when the spring was purchased by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and was heavily promoted. ABC built the current theater, which seats 500 and is embedded in the side of the spring, 16 feet below the surface. ABC also developed themes for the underwater shows, with elaborate props, lifts, music and story lines such as Underwater Circus, the Mermaids and the Pirates and Underwater Follies. The mermaids performed Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White and Peter Pan.

In the 1960s, girls came from as far away as Tokyo to try out for the privilege of becoming a mermaid. The glamorous mermaids performed eight shows a day to sold out crowds -- as many as half a million people a year came to see the Weeki Wachee mermaids. Weeki Wachee Springs employed 35 mermaids, who took turns swimming in the shows and captivating the crowds by playing football and having picnics underwater. Some of the mermaids lived in the mermaid cottages behind the attraction. The mermaids wore one-piece suits and were treated like royalty wherever they went in Florida. All sorts of people stopped to see the mermaids, even Elvis. Don Knotts, Esther Williams and Arthur Godfry also visited to Weeki Wachee.

Today, the tiny city of Weeki Wachee is one of the nation's smallest cities, with a population of nine, including the mayor of Weeki Wachee who, you guessed it, is a former mermaid. Who better to bring the dream back to life? Fresh coats of paint adorn the walls of the Mermaid Villa, the gift shop is stocked with fanciful and functional mermaid souvenirs, and the mermaid theater is being restored to its former glory. Recently, carpeting on the walls was pulled back to reveal original ceramic tiles in Florida colors: teal, pink and aqua.

Visitors can swim at Buccaneer Bay, see the Misunderstood Creatures animal show, or take a riverboat ride down the Weeki Wachee River and into Old Florida. A family of peacocks roams the grounds. Turtles, fish, manatees, otters and even an occasional alligator swim in the spring with the mermaids, amusing both children and adults. Visitors can pose with mermaids, and even swim in the spring with the new Sea Diver program. Children can attend the summer Mermaid Camp and fulfill their dreams of becoming a little mermaid or a merman.

The Seminole Indians named the spring "Weeki Wachee," which means "little spring" or "winding river." The spring is so deep that the bottom has never been found. (Are you sure?) Each day, more than 117 million gallons of clear, fresh 72-degree water bubbles up out of subterranean caverns. Deep in the spring, the surge of the current is so strong that it can knock a scuba diver’s mask off. The basin of the spring is 100 feet wide with limestone sides and there, where the mermaids swim, 16 to 20 feet below the surface, the current runs a strong five miles per hour. It's quite a feat for a mermaid to stay in one place in such a current.

The Weeki Wachee River winds its way 12 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

**You can get your book stamped at the front gate of the park**

*Information for this waymark was gathered from the Florida State Park's website listed below*
Name of Park, Protected Area, or Cultural Location: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Name of System or Passport Program: Florida State Park's Passport Book

Passport Available: Yes, for purchase

Parking or Entrance Fee: Not listed

Park Website: [Web Link]

Address of Station:
6131 Commercial Way
Sprin Hill, Florida United States

Visit Instructions:
No special instructions, but a picture of yourself or of something unique to that place would be a nice touch.
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