My wife has seen several films, Full Grown Men being the most recent, featuring the bizarre attraction and she wanted to see the mermaids in person. The last show was at three, according to her iPhone so we were driving to get there and we failed in our mission. It's true the park was closing as we arrived. We flashed our State Parks pass which normally would get us a 33% reduction on the $13 admission fee but because there was essentially nothing to see they let us in for free to wander around (and spend money at the gift store). For those men who weren't breast fed in infancy and thus have a breast obsession in old age, there are topless women everywhere in Weeki Wachee State Park. Yes indeed, the Sunshine State took the park over in 2008 and it is no longer a private attraction. It operates quite nicely under government auspices too, and you get free parking courtesy of the Great State of Florida.
I suppose the advantage of a water park is that the water is supposed to be sterile and there aren't any animals in it for the comfort of the faint hearted, but I cannot but feel that a state with so much extraordinary coastline isn't well served by these artificial watering holes, even one called Buccaneer Bay which suggests bloodletting on a grand scale.
Weeki Wachee was a post World War Two invention of a former Navy diver who used the aqualung techniques developed during the war to stage a spectacular underwater show using the new breathing techniques. Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus was a French invention known by the rather more romantic appellation of aqualung rather than the modern acronym of SCUBA, and I expect that seeing beautiful young women swimming around like fish must have looked miraculous, and I dare say it was a pleasant relief from using aqualungs to blow up things. Nowadays the trick is known and the spectacle continues. The park itself is as cheerful and corny as the mermaid notion itself. Perhaps I am too suggestible but I find the empty black hole where Neptune's face should be, rather creepy:
Mermaids generate trash by the bagful apparently on a more down to earth note:
They also generate weddings by the bagful apparently. I thought this was a mermaid cage for air transport but my wife poked me and told me not to be silly, it's for brides to pose in:And some people just like to be photographed at Weeki Wachee. I'll bet there are bags full of pictures all over the country of people posing.
An altogether entrancing State Park, not to be missed by anyone traveling US Highway 19 north of Tampa/St Pete: