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Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee stream below the springs, Florida
Weeki Wachee stream below the springs, Florida / Matt Kelland, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

There are many giant springs in Florida. Weeki Wachee Springs though are special – more than 70 years there operates a unique underwater show of mermaids.

4 out of 10 stars 40.4%

GPS coordinates
28.5174 N 82.5733 W
Location, address
North America, United States, Florida, Hernando County, Weeki Wachee town
Springs, Operas, theatres and concert halls, Entertainment infrastructure
Alternate names
Wekiwoochee Springs, Weekiwachee, Wekiwachee
Artesian spring, single vent
Average discharge
4,434 l/s (Oct 2012 – Oct 2016) (3.)

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Description of Weeki Wachee Springs

The unusual name of Weeki Wachee Spring comes from the Seminole language and means “little spring”.
The name does not correspond to reality: this spring has incredible size! It starts in a 50 by 64 meters wide pond, which is up to 56 meters deep. At the deepest place is seen an opening into a deeper cave and all the water gushes out from this hole. There even is seen a bulge on the surface of the pond. The temperature of the water is 23.7 °C.

Weeki Wachee spring - the building of the underwater theater to the left, underwater stage - in the center, Florida
Weeki Wachee spring – the building of the underwater theater to the left, underwater stage – in the center, Florida / Paul Clark, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The power of the stream prevents the exploration of the cave. Sometimes, though, the power of the stream decreases, and cave divers have a possibility to go deeper into the cave.

Up to 2019 there have been explored cave passages with a total length of 10,930 m – cave divers managed to link the Weeki Wachee Cave and the nearby Twin Dees (Twin D’s) Cave System in 2014. By the way, this link between the caves is located under the highway. This cave system – Weeki Wachee – Twin Dees Cave System – is the deepest submerged cave in the United States – it has been dived up to 124 meters deep.

As the spring leaves the pond, it forms a large, but short river – Weeki Wachee River, which after some 12 km reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Many visitors to the park take a trip with a small ship or canoe to admire the unusual lucidity of the water and lush nature around the stream.

History of the mermaid show

Newton Perry, former U.S. Navy soldier, and stunt swimmer had a crazy idea in the 1940ies – to create an underwater show in the springs. The incredibly clear water of the spring allowed us to see far through it and the pool was large and deep enough to allow such shows.

Together with partners and many local activists, he cleaned the pond of garbage – such as old refrigerators and abandoned cars. On October 13, 1947, the first show of the underwater theater opened.

Weeki Wachee Mermaid feeds the fish, Florida, around 1949
Weeki Wachee Mermaid feeds the fish, Florida, around 1949 / Flickr / public domain

Spectators had the opportunity to look through windows to the natural beauty of the spring basin and “mermaids” – girls performing under the water. Selected local girls were just living under the water – sitting around the tables, eating, drinking, typing, painting. These simple activities later turned into elaborate shows. The main danger was created by the alligators – thus there was a guard sitting at the river and trying to spot them.

In these times this was a quiet rural area and such an idea was extravagant by any account. Nevertheless, times were changing, more and more tourists were coming and the business turned out to be a success. Soon after this unusual show became world-famous, the park more affluent, and new attractions were added – orchid garden, jungle cruises, and others.

Weeki Wachee Mermaids in 1951, Florida
Weeki Wachee Mermaids in 1951, Florida / Flickr / public domain

In 1959 Weeki Wachee was purchased by the American Broadcasting Co. (ABC) and was heavily promoted. There was built a new underwater theater and up to 35 mermaids were employed in the springs. Since 2006 there “appeared” also mermen.

Now the park is owned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the mermaid show continues and the park is visited by some 200 thousand visitors every year.

Over these years more than 300 mermaids have worked in springs. This has been a demanding, hard and at the same time highly unusual and creative profession. Weeki Wachee Mermaid show is a unique, local tradition, a part of Florida’s cultural heritage.


  1. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, last visited in January 27, 2019.
  2. Weeki Wachee Springs, Department of Environmental Protection, Florida. Last visited in January 27, 2019.
  3. Nutrient TMDLs for Weeki Wachee Spring and
    Weeki Wachee River (WBIDs 1382B and 1382F)
    , Florida Department of Environmental Protection, June 2014. Last visited in September 9, 2023.

Weeki Wachee Springs are included in the following article:

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WorldYellow Recommended books

Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida’s Oldest Roadside Attractions

In the postwar explosion of domestic tourism, Weeki Wachee spring offered the quintessential vacation fantasy, a city of colorful mermaids in a natural crystal spring right off the West Coast highway in a sparsely inhabited Florida. In those early days, the mermaids had to stand alongside the highway to flag travelers down, but once word of their charms got out, travelers headed south to playgrounds in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa found Weeki Wachee a tantalizing detour from the grueling two-lane road connecting vacationland with the work-a-day world to the north. Vickers shows how that local novelty became a stellar international attraction.

Florida Natural Wonders: 101 Slices Of Heaven That You Can’t Miss When Visiting Florida

Are You Ready for a Breathtaking Experience Through the Heart of Florida, Exploring Its Most Famous Wonders and Attractions?
If you want a guide that will help you find the most beautiful spots in this gorgeous state, then keep reading because this is the book you were looking for!

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