Tag Archives: things to do in Florida

The Rest of It…

I ended up with so many pictures of Weeki Wachee this past weekend that I decided to break things up into two posts. One about the mermaids and the other about everything else because even though the mermaids are considered the main attraction, they are not all Weeki Wachee Springs has to offer.

 As you can see below, there are quite a few things to be seen. While the mermaids have claim on the part on the deepest part of the springs – where the spring mouth is, the other part has been converted into Buccaneer Bay, a water park with crystal clear water and three water slides. Lifeguards patrol the beaches and keep an extra close eye on the area at the base of the slides to avoid collisions. We didn’t get to swim this time, but they were playing some of the music from my high school days and the nostalgia induced was STRONG.  The park is also home to interesting wild life. While there is a designated show and viewing area for the more dangerous and scaly inhabitants, the peacocks have free rein of the grounds and can often be found around the edges of the snack shack and entertaining tourists in the open green spaces.  
Discovery point is where you want to go to see the Wildlife Show and to walk the Tranquility Trail. We were rained out of the former, but we did manage to do the later.   The Tranquility Trail runs against the edge of the area that is accessible only to those renting kayaks and paddle boards (something I really would like to try next time), and I love to see how the waters transition from that bright, almost artificial looking blue at the center to the dusky murky edges where the trees hang down into the water and play host to tadpoles and small darty fish. With a little bit of planing and an early morning, I think it would be completely possible to enjoy everything Weeki Wachee has to offer. And I will absolutely be putting that theory to the test the next time I have the chance.

The Mermaids

Like I mentioned on Monday, my mom and I took a quick trip down south this weekend. While spending time with family was at the top of the list of “things to do”, #2 was go to Weeki Wachee to see the mermaids. Even though I lived in central Florida until I was 18, I didn’t know anything about “The City of Mermaids.” It wasn’t until I came to college and spent some time learning about what there was to do in the sunshine state that I discovered I had grown up a mere 2.5 hours away from mythological creatures. It took another 10ish years for me to finally make the trip, and I wish I had done it a lot sooner.

Even though I was completely in the dark, it turns out my mom and her siblings went to Weeki Wachee a number of times in the 60’s and 70’s. Heck, there are even stories about my grandparents losing my Uncle Brian at one of the swimming spots and my Uncle Larry skipping school with his friend to go hang out with the mermaids.

The park has changed a bit since then – the impressive shell has been removed from the springs and the mermaids do a lot more of their tricks in fins -, but walking around you get the sense that the history of the place is being honored, while modernizing some of their practices to make sure the park maintained for future generations. 
Now I am completely aware that these aren’t “real” mermaids, but the little girl in me was completely dazzled by these amazing underwater acrobats. I gave my mom such a hard time because now I am old, married, and live far far away, but a younger more athletic me could have perhaps joined these ladies and worn fins of my very own. If only I’d known!  I clapped and cheered my heart out for these ladies (because they can actually hear you through the glass), and I only hope that I have the chance to make a return trip very, very soon. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the mermaids, you can check out the park’s website, and if you keep a close eye on their camp schedule, you can even book a spot in their weekend “Siren’s of the Deep” class and learn what it’s like to be one of the Weeki Wachee mermaids.