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Weeki Watchee Springs - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

It’s a couple of years now since we last visited Weeki Watchee Springs so it’s time we had another visit. That’s the trouble with Florida-there’s just too much to do in a two week trip.

The way we went there was straight up the 27 and turn off to the left onto the 50 and literally keep on going until you spot it on the left handside of the road when you approach a traffic light. If I remember correctly it took us about and hour and a half.

The park is in two halves-the springs and Buccaneer Bay. Check before you set off if you want to visit both parks that Buccaneer Bay is not just open on a weekend-especially in low season. It also seems to close early at 4pm in low season and some days it does not open at all.

Weeki Watchee was named by the Seminole Indians and means little spring or winding river and the spring is so deep that the bottom has never been found. Like all springs in the Florida region the annual daily temperature of the spring water is a constant 72 degrees and each day 170million gallons of fresh spring water bubble up from the deep caverns below.

In 1946 the springs were full of rusted junk and an entrepreneur named Newton Perry had it cleaned it out and devised a way of swimming underwater using air hoses. It was in 1947 that the famous ‘Mermaid Show’ went public. The mermaids performed in the natural basin of the spring where a submerged theatre was built and viewers could not only see the show but also the natural beauty of the spring. In the 1950’s the springs were one of the nations most popular tourist attractions with the mermaids performing up to 8 shows a day. So popular were they that they encouraged many famous celebrities to visit and they don’t come more famous than Elvis. Can you imagine over 15, 000 fans turning up in the sleepy springs to see him-it must have been quite a day. This attraction is wheelchair accessible.

As well as the mermaid show, there is the jungle river cruise. This attraction unfortunately was not wheelchair accessible, but I had great fun watching a family of otters playing in the shallows and of course as we are only about 12 miles from the Gulf of Mexico it was really interesting to see the river boats going up and down the springs with a pelican or two sat on the boat’s sun canopy.

There is also an animal show where you can see some of Florida’s beautiful birds and reptiles up close in the natural surroundings of the park.

When we were there I did not remember a restaurant in the park –but if you go up the 19 to the left of the park there were lots of restaurants like Outback, Denny’s and so on.

At Buccaneer Bay you don’t need to pay a separate entrance fee and you get to swim in the 72 degree spring water or laze and play on the beautiful sandy beach

There’s a water flume, lazy river, kiddie pool and some nice picnic areas and tiki bar.

Tickets range from $23 for a daily adult ticket to $31 for a 2 day adult ticket. There’s a small $3 parking fee.

As a small aside –this attraction is under threat so if you don’t make that visit soon-it may no longer be there. If you do go and enjoy the day then do join the campaign to ‘save the tails’ for other generations to enjoy.

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Page added on: 18 April 2007
Viewed 4072 times since 1 September 2008.

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