My friend Helena kindly wrote this guest post about Weeki Wachee, home of the mermaids!
When one has small children, it can be hard to find outings that will entertain the adults and not overwhelm the wee ones. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is just such a place, and absolutely worth the convoluted trek on State Road 50 to get there.
Although we didn’t take advantage of it, there is a water park–Buccaneer Bay–on the spring itself, which features water slides, a beach, and a tiki bar. It looked like lots of fun, but I don’t enjoy cold water (the springs are a balmy 74 degrees year-round), so we decided to skip that part of the Weeki Wachee experience.
The spring itself–this is the area in which the mermaids swim, as seen from above. The water park area is on the other side of the blue and white rope.
The main thing we were there for was the mermaid show–my sister and I had wanted to go since we were kids, and I thought my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter would enjoy it as well. We were lucky enough to be there when they were doing two shows. The first one we saw was The Mermaids of Yesteryear, in which former mermaids perform. It was kind of a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into performing a mermaid show and was quite interesting. (According to the park’s website, www.weekiwachee.com, the former mermaids will be performing again on May 28 and 29.)
Two former mermaids showing us how it’s done.
After that show we grabbed some lunch–food was basic (hot dogs, burgers, fries etc), but prices were quite reasonable. We sat outside to enjoy the lovely, breezy weather, but know that if you do that you’ll have to guard your food from the resident peacocks–they are loud and beautiful, and have no qualms about snatching food right off your tray if you turn your back for even a moment.
This handsome guy stole a sweet potato fry right off a plate at a neighboring table.
After we ate, back to the underwater theater we went for the next show, a presentation of The Little Mermaid. It was well done, and we all loved it. A little girl next to us, probably two or three years old, was really scared of the Sea Witch, but my daughter wasn’t bothered–I think it just depends on how bothered your child might be by a loud shriek.
Aside from the spring itself, the park is a pleasant, shady place to walk around, take pictures, and generally enjoy an old Florida attraction. Interestingly, although the parking lot was packed and the shows were full, the park did not feel crowded at all. We hardly saw anyone else when we were walking around, so if you dread hordes of tourists, this is a good place for you.
Peeking at the swimmers enjoying the water park.
Next we went to the reptile show–a brief talk from one of the park rangers that features four animals, with the opportunity for an up-close encounter when the talk is done. This is the only area of the park that has no shade, so I would suggest doing this earlier in the day, rather than mid-afternoon when decided to go.
The grand finale of the reptile show, a young American alligator.
To cap off the day, we went on a thirty-minute boat ride down the Weeki Wachee River. We saw deer and bald eagles (babies, too!) and enjoyed the scenery. It’s a beautiful area. A note on the boat ride: the boat can only accommodate about twenty-five people, there’s only one boat, and the last ride is at 3:15 pm. I’d suggest going early in the day to make sure you get to go.
On the way out of the park, we stopped for a photo op with the mermaid who played the main role in The Little Mermaid show. By that time my daughter was in no mood to smile for the camera, but she did peek at the mermaid princess a little bit from the safety of my shoulder.
Meeting a real live mermaid princess!
We all had a wonderful day. My husband did say he was glad he didn’t go, as he would have been bored, so this park may not be for those who prefer hectic, action-packed trips, but for us girls, it was perfect.
Helena took this trip with her sister, Krystyna. Check out Krystyna’s post on her site, for even more knowledge about the park. She also provided these lovely photos!