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Meet the world's only mermaids! Conceived as an underwater attraction in 1946 by famed Florida diver Newt Perry, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is not only the home of one of the world's largest springs but of underwater performances seen nowhere else. Here, mermaids frolic and play among live fish and manatees to the delight of audiences watching from an underwater auditorium that dates back to the 1960s and is the only one of its kind in the world. Many celebrities have come to visit, from the 1964 film debut of The Incredible Mr. Limpet to Paris Hilton playing mermaid-wannabe on “The Simple Life.” Weeki Wachee’s transition from ...

Meet the world's only mermaids! Conceived as an underwater attraction in 1946 by famed Florida diver Newt Perry, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is not only the home of one of the world's largest springs but of underwater performances seen nowhere else. Here, mermaids frolic and play among live fish and manatees to the delight of audiences watching from an underwater auditorium that dates back to the 1960s and is the only one of its kind in the world. Many celebrities have come to visit, from the 1964 film debut of The Incredible Mr. Limpet to Paris Hilton playing mermaid-wannabe on “The Simple Life.” Weeki Wachee’s transition from classic attraction to state park came in 2008 after a "Save Our Tails" campaign. You can enjoy the water yourself by paddling down the pristine river, taking a guided eco-tour on a pontoon boat – where pelicans swoop and dive as they accompany the pontoon downstream — or suiting up for a dive into the springs. During the summer months, the Buccaneer Bay water park enables non-mermaids to splash and sun on the riverbanks, too.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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