This year, Mr T and I decided that instead of going to Disney, we were going to visit Florida State Parks and experience nature. The first park I picked was Weeki Wachee State Park. It seemed to have it all: a Mermaid show, swimming in crystal clear water, tubing, water park, boat cruise and animal show.
My husband is thinking about getting a new sports car so he decided to rent a Ford Mustang to drive to Weeki Wachee. Our kids are 6 and 3 and they fit in the back seat perfectly. Google Maps calculated the trip would take 4 hours from our home in Cooper City, FL. We took Alligator Alley and off we went. Three hours into the trip, a horse trailer’s fender came out flying at our car.
After 1 hour waiting on the rental replacement, we made it to our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Brooksville, FL. The rooms were nice and clean with a good breakfast and a Starbucks across the street.
It was Saturday morning and after breakfast, we headed over to the park (just 8 minutes down the street).
Weeki Wachee State Park is a the park built around the Weeki Wachee spring. The spring is the deepest in North America. The spring is so deep that the bottom has yet to be found. The water is crystal clear and 74 degrees all year. In the 1940s, the spring was bought and developed into the Weeki Wachee Underwater Theater by Newton Perry, a former scuba diver instructor for the Navy who developed the underwater breathing system still used by their Mermaids today.
Weeki Wachee Mermaid Show
Weeki Wachee is famous for its mermaid show. The Weeki Wachee mermaids became celebrities when ABC bought the park in the 1960s. Back then, Weeki Wachee was a must-see tourist destination with big celebrities like Elvis coming to watch the show. Today, the show is still a must-see in Florida. They are currently performing their version of The Little Mermaid in addition to their regular show called Fish Tails where they drink, eat and perform other underground tricks. My 3 year old daughter loved the show and wants to grow up to be a mermaid – so cute! After the show, a mermaid is available for pictures, sign autographs and answer questions – from my 6 year old boy, LOL!
Buccaneer Bay is Weeki Wachee’s waterpark. It has two sections: Thrilling Flume water slides and the Li’l Mates Caribbean Cove (for the little ones). This was so much fun! In Florida heat to ride and then drop into 74 degree water. TIP: If you get cold easy, wear a wetsuit.
River Boat Cruise
I wouldn’t call it a cruise. This is a short little boat ride down the Weeki Wachee river. All the boat captains are entertaining and seem to know a lot about the fauna and flora. The kids loved the boat ride and Mr T and I were happy to be dry for a bit.
This was my 6 year old favorite and my scariest (I’m scared of snakes!!!). Throughout the park, there are numerous animal encounter shows. The encounters showcase local species and teach us their importance in the ecosystem. We saw and touched live baby alligators, snakes and even a possum. The park guides were very, very well prepared and all the encounters were very educational for the entire family.
Overall, Weeki Wachee was a great weekend trip for the family. The park entrance is $13 per adult, $8 for kids 6 to 12 and FREE for kids 5 and under. There are concession stands and couple of restaurants with great service, good food and the food prices were not astronomically high. (We paid $8 for chicken nuggets with apples and fries.) The park also offers rental items such as single and double tubes for the slides, wheelchairs and lockers.
In conclusion, if you have a weekend to spare and want to do something really fun, try Weeki Wachee State Park.