Details of this spring:

Posted: June 16, 2016

Category: Florida,North America,United States

Location

6131 Commercial Way

Spring Hill, FL 34609
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Description:

Weeki Wachee Springs is a natural tourist attraction located in Weeki Wachee, Florida, where underwater performances by “mermaids“, women wearing fish tails as well as other fanciful outfits, can be viewed in an aquarium-like setting in the spring of the Weeki Wachee River. A water park, Buccaneer Bay, and boat rides are also part of the attraction.

The spring was named “Weeki Wachee” by Seminole Indians, which means “Little Spring” or “Winding River” in their language.[3] The attraction was created in 1947 by stunt swimmer and attraction promoter Newt Perry, who based the show on underwater air hose breathing techniques.[4] First an 18-seat theater, then later a newer theater with a capacity of 50, were embedded in the lime rock of the spring with viewing windows below the surface of the water, to allow visitors to watch the mermaids perform in the spring. In 1982, Buccaneer Bay was opened with water slides, a lazy river, and a white sand beach for visitors to enjoy alongside the theater with the mermaid shows.[3]

           History

Guests to the park have included Elvis Presley, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, Arthur Godfrey, Kevin Smith, and Larry the Cable Guy. Hollywood has occasionally used the attraction and its mermaids in the filming of movies such as Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948), Neptune’s Daughter (1949), and many television shows. At one point, the attraction was owned by broadcast network ABC, and this led to an increase in publicity for the attraction. Currently the park is owned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and is a member of the Florida State Park System.[5]

Recent

In 2005, English rock band Supergrass filmed their video for their song “Low C” at the Springs. They filmed a short documentary about the spring, as well as playing at a local bar and swimming with the mermaids.

In summer of 2006, stand up comedian Thomas J. Kelly became the park’s first ever male mermaid. His adventures were chronicled in a Web television series.[6] called “The Little Merman”.

On November 1, 2008, the state of Florida took over Weeki Wachee Springs as a state park.

From May 22 until August 30, 2007, the discharge level at Weeki Wachee spring dropped to a level that allowed for cave divers to gain effective entry into the cave system at the spring. The Karst Underwater Research team successfully executed exploration dives and the necessary in-water decompression to explore approximately 6,700 feet in multiple passages at an average depth of 265 Feet Fresh Water (ffw) with a maximum depth of 407 ffw. The 407 ffw depth makes the cave system under Weeki Wachee springs the deepest known fresh water cave system in the United States.

Scenes from Kelly Clarkson’s video “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” include the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs.[7]

 

Portions of the following information were taken from Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 66.

The spring is located in the town of Weeki Wachee on the west side of US 19. From the intersection of US 19 and SR 50, drive south 0.2 miles. Turn west (right) into Weeki Wachee Springs Park parking lot. The spring vent is in the large pool used for mermaid shows.

Description – Weeki Wachee Spring discharges from the bottom of a conical depression with gentle side slopes. The spring pool measures 165 ft east to west and 210 ft north to south. Spring depth is 45 ft over the vent in the center of the pool. Bare limestone is located near the vent, but none is exposed around the pool edges. The water is clear and light greenish blue, and a boil is visible in the center of the pool. Thick, filamentous algae cover the majority of the spring bottom, and there are some native aquatic grasses in the spring pool. The spring is rich with fresh and salt water fishes and aquatic turtles. The Weeki Wachee River flows westward approximately 5 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. The river flows through low-lying, densely forested swamp. The nearest high ground east of the spring is rolling sand hills terrain and gently rises to 15 ft above the water level. All uplands and land adjacent to spring are developed. U.S. 19 is approximately 225 ft east of the spring.

Utilization – Weeki Wachee Spring is extensively developed into a tourist attraction that features underwater mermaid shows with a submerged observation area. It was recently purchased from private ownership by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). The District leases the land to a private firm for the continuation of the mermaid shows. Shops and facilities are located all around the spring.

Weeki Wachee Historical Flow
Date Flow Type 
8/27/1984 259 ft3/sec Max
8/28/1984 259 ft3/sec Max
5/13/2009 93 ft3/sec Min

 

Weeki Wachee Well