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There is little to living in Florida that I have found not to love..okay maybe mosquitoes and the inevitable love bugs that come and go with the “snowbirds”. I seriously feel blessed to have been born and raised here. But that doesn't mean I have even begun to tap into all the amazing places Florida has to offer. I want my kids to experience as much as they can of The Sunshine State so we have begun a series of field trips, visiting places that we have never been and sometimes revisiting our old favorites. The first place we want to take you is a place in all my years of living here I heard of but never visited until now- Weeki Wachee. My little girl is a bit obsessed with mermaids so I thought it was high time for a trip to Weeki Wachee Mermaid Park let me tell you about what we found there.
First though let me give you a little history on Weeki Wachee- You will find this gem off U.S. 19 and State Road 50 about an hour north of Tampa. The park has been open for nearly 60 years and is built around a beautiful spring that is so deep they have never found the bottom. When there was not much to the area at all a former Navy Seal- Newton Perry cleaned out the water and created a theater in the limestone 6 feet beneath the surface. He taught the “mermaids” to perform underwater using a free flowing air hose rather than scuba tanks. The result is amazing and magical.
We caught the Fish Tails mermaid show where the ladies drank a bottle soda, interacted with some of the creatures in the spring like turtles and fish, and since it was so close the 4th of July when we visited we were treated to an incredible tribute to the U.S. -complete with a large U.S. Flag being opened underwater. It is almost hard to believe that these mermaids are real, the underwater theater and their performance transports you to a place that is just utterly magical.
The entire park is charming and filled with vintage statues, beautiful old trees, free roaming peacocks, a play ground area set in the middle of the trees, and mermaid memorabilia. It was just a lovely, relaxing day enjoying the park that did not try to compete with nature but rather highlight it.
After watching the mermaid show, and meeting a real live mermaid we headed over to Buccaneer Bay where you can swim in the spring or play in Lil' Mates Caribbean Cove for 6 and under with a shallow pool, slide, and squirting jets. The kids adored this part of the park as it gave a fantastic way to cool off and just play. Their are also fun flume rides in this area but we skipped those this trip as our kids are still kinda small for that. This section of the park is only open for the summer and closes on August 16th this year.
The only thing I regret is that I had not visited sooner, its is a new family favorite and we will be visiting again very soon. You can grab tickets for $13 for adults, $8 for children 6-12, and free for 5 and under. A year long pass can be purchased for $60. What is included in these prices? Both mermaid shows, Buccaneer Bay, reptile shows, and the River Boat Ride. We did not get to experience the River Boat Ride this time but next time it is first on our list of things to do there.
Look at this amazing spring, it is truly a Florida Treasure.