First, let me start by spelling the name of the spring correctly…it’s not Weeki “Watchee” as I’d typed in my last post. It’s Weeki Wachee. And it’s plain fun to say – give it a try! The name means “winding river” or “little spring”.
Saturday morning my sister, my niece, and I ventured out (after visiting a farmers’ market to take advantage of one of the last weekends of strawberry season) and up 75. We took our exit and everything was peachy keen, until, for the third time, our mapquest directions told us to turn L on Cortez Blvd/SR 50. Third time. In a row. We’d never left Cortez Blvd/SR 50. After seriously doubting the accuracy of the directions, and one wide u-turn we realized, yes, you turn on the same road three times. Really, who planned this town?
Alas! We got there and snagged a primo parking spot and made our way in. The first show was just starting – it was the Mermaids of Yesteryear, which featured mermaids from the past decades back in the water in a sort of behind-the-scenes show – fun, right? One of my favorite shows ever is Pushing Daisies, and throughout the day, but especially during this show, I kept thinking of Aunts Lily and Vivian, the retired Darling Mermaid Darlings. I was so happy the mermaids of yesteryear were back in their tails – they seemed content to be diving and dancing.
Aside from being a fairy-“tail” (oh, I love being cheesy) attraction that caters to the young and young-at-heart, the setting of Weeki Wachee is a slice of lovely, shady, quiet Florida. I really do love this state. Well, it was quiet except for the very vocal peacocks roaming around. These were not shy birds. They had no qualms about snatching sweet potato fries from hungry tourists.
(I love his lovely blue)
We snacked on our own fries (keeping one eye on the peacocks), wandered around the lovely grounds, took photos in the mermaid props (of course), and peered into the natural springs. Is it just my native Floridian blood, or is 74.2 degrees just too chilly to call swimmable? Though the swimming hole was full of people…perhaps snowbirds?
(My sister - the mermaid queen, me - the…king? My niece, who loves the camera, was being uncharacteristically camera- shy and didn’t want to pose…)
(Mermaid Me...ooh lala)
(People more cold-tolerant than me)
Next, the feature mermaid show had my niece (and me) captivated. I think when you’re little you probably don’t even notice the breathing hoses, but even through my thoroughly jaded adult eyes, the mermaid show was as I had imagined it would be 20 years ago - full of wonder. The show was a rendition of The Little Mermaid - a little bit H.C. Andersen, a little bit Disney, and a little bit Weeki Wachee original - and it was just right. We even got to meet the mermaid princess after the show!
(My sister and niece [being oddly camera shy again] with the mermaid princess!)
We concluded our outing with a ride on the river boat (we almost didn’t make it because, unfortunately it seems, some people have no manners, and have no problem jumping in front of entire lines of patient people to make sure they get theirs…). We saw a bald eagle, an osprey nest, a deer, and some kayakers along the way.
(The chilly water did actually look inviting by this point in the day – it was a tad warm in the sun.)
What a beautiful, magical day.
PS - my sister wrote a guest post on our friend's blog SHDesignFL - check it out too!