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Located on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Weeki Wachee Springs is home to one of the Sunshine State’s most magical attractions. It’s here that you can sit in a 400-seat submerged theater and watch a live show with beautiful mermaids performing their version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Proudly billing itself as “The Only City with Live Mermaids”, Weeki Wachee Springs has been delighting guests with its mermaid shows since 1947, offering the perfect example of Old Florida.
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More than just its kitschy nostalgia, there are 538 acres of natural oasis and the springs are also a developed state park. Less than an hour drive north of Tampa, visitors come to see the world-famous show and stay to explore the park’s lush vegetation and postcard-perfect 72-degree crystal-clear waters. These otherworldly waters are so clear that you can see the limestone walls more than 100 feet away.
On a hot summer day, nothing beats a dip in Weeki Wachee’s waters, where you can also go snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, or brave one of the thrilling flume rides at the on-site water park, Buccaneer Bay. Perfect for when you need to de-stress, get out on the picturesque waters and unwind under the natural canopy of cypress and oak trees. Float past Hospital Hole, an extinct spring where Florida’s famous West Indies manatees like to congregate.
An excellent spot to take the entire family, Buccaneer Bay offers plenty of thrills with its Pirate’s Plunge flume ride, lazy river and white sandy beach with covered picnic pavilions. The little ones can explore Lil’ Mates Caribbean Cover, a fun water play area with a wading pool. Animal lovers will be mesmerized by the interactive animal shows that wow guests with its entertaining and educational look local wildlife, such as domesticated birds and reptiles.
For a scenic look at the natural landscapes in Weeki Wachee, hop on one of the River Boat Cruises to spot surrounding wildlife and native flora and fauna. It’s here that you can spot nesting bald eagles, blue heron, wild turkey and colorful fish of all sizes. If you visit during manatee season, you might even be able to photograph these gentle giants floating in the waters.
When you work up an appetite, dine on casual fare at the Mermaid Galley, enjoy a snack at the Captain’s Quarters or sip on a frozen drink at the Tiki Bar. You can also bring pre-made food for a picnic in one of the covered pavilions.