Weeki Wachee, FL

Be Dazzled by Mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Allison Burney

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It’s not every day that you get to watch mermaids perform.

While on vacation in Florida several years ago, my family decided that the prospect of a ‘mermaid show’ was just intriguing enough to make the detour to the town of Weeki Wachee, about an hour’s drive north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. (Well, mostly my sister decided, since she’s the one obsessed with mermaids—but the rest of us went along.)

You might think being a mermaid is simple. After all, isn’t it just about putting on a fancy, glittery tail and awkwardly fumbling around in the water? How impressive can it really be?

Before seeing the show for myself, I assumed it would be more of a cheesy photo-opp with brief moments in the water. I pictured Ariel sunning herself on the rocks in The Little Mermaid, and figured it would be something similar.

Well, I was very, very wrong. It turns out that being a mermaid is not simple at all!

The Washington Post did an in-depth feature about the mermaids and their world-famous performance at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and it details the lengthy process of how one ‘becomes’ a mermaid.

In order to perform at the park’s underwater theater, future mermaids first have to undergo all kinds of training and obtain several certifications, including getting scuba-certified, CPR-certified, and lifeguard-certified. Then they have to learn how to hold their breath for up to 40-seconds at a time—while doing dance choreography similar to that of a competitive synchronized swimmer!

The 30-minute show Weeki Wachee Springs is famous for is entirely underwater, meaning the mermaids never surface. They accomplish this by breathing through hoses whenever they need a breath.

The mermaids were mesmerizing, their shimmering tails reflecting off the glass in the clear waters of the tank. But I think I was more impressed by the specialized skills and physical acrobatics this kind of job requires. I learned that day that not everyone can be a mermaid—myself included! (My sister still has a good shot, though, as she already has her lifeguard and CPR certifications!)

In the end, I was glad we didn’t miss this because it was such a unique experience unlike anything I’ve ever seen—or will probably see again in my lifetime!

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Writer & proofreader. I love travel, reading, coffee, and exploring nature. On a mission to keep learning, growing, and enjoying this adventure we call life.


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