Weeki Wachee Springs
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Weeki Wachee Springs is a natural tourist attraction located in Weeki Wachee, Florida, where underwater performances by "mermaids", women dressed with fins about their legs as well as other fancy outfits, can be viewed in an aquarium-like setting in the spring of the Weeki Wachee River. A waterpark, Buccaneer Bay, and boat rides are also part of the attraction.
The attraction was created in 1947 by stunt swimmer and attraction promoter Newt Perry, who based the show on underwater air hose breathing techniques. Guests to the park have included Elvis Presley, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, Arthur Godfrey, Kevin Smith, and Larry the Cable Guy. Hollywood has occasionally used the attraction and its mermaids in the filming of movies such as Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948), Neptune's Daughter (1949), and many television shows. At one point, the attraction was owned by broadcast network ABC, and this led to an increase in publicity for the attraction. Currently the park is owned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and is a member of the Florida State Park System.
In 2005, English rock band Supergrass filmed their video for their song "Low C" at the Springs. They filmed a short documentary about the spring, as well as playing at a local bar and swimming with the mermaids.
On November 1, 2008, the state of Florida took over Weeki Wachee Springs as a state park.
From May 22 until August 30, 2007, the discharge level at Weeki Wachee spring dropped to a level that allowed for cave divers to gain effective entry into the cave system at the spring. The Karst Underwater Research team successfully executed exploration dives and the necessary in-water decompression to explore approximately 6,700 feet in multiple passages at an average depth of 265 Feet Fresh Water (ffw) with a maximum depth of 407 ffw. The 407 ffw depth makes the cave system under Weeki Wachee springs the deepest fresh water cave system in the United States.
- Pelland, Maryan (2006). Weeki Wachee Springs. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4247-8.
- Weeki Wachee Springs, official site
- Weeki Wachee Cave System
- National Geographic: "Mermaids" Fight to Save Florida Roadside Attraction
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