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Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Guide — Mermaids, Wildlife, and More

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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767 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Nestled in the heart of Spring Hill, Florida, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a magical experience. This enchanting park has attracted visitors worldwide since the 1940s, thanks to its spectacular live mermaid performances, thrilling waterpark, and fascinating history.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a bit of magic, this park will surely leave you with unforgettable memories.

How To Get to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Where Is Weeki Wachee Springs State Park?

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is located in Spring Hill, Florida. The park is approximately 45 minutes from Tampa, Florida, the closest major city to the area. This stunning park boasts over 1,000 acres of land and water, making it a perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families alike.

Opening Hours and Seasons at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is open every day of the year, including weekends and public holidays. Its operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, the waterpark activities are seasonal, so it’s a good idea to call ahead and confirm if the activities you want to do are available.

Nearest Airports to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The park is fortunate to have 2 airports located within an hour’s drive, offering visitors convenient access to the area. Both airports are well-maintained and offer a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable and stress-free trip.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is a convenient airport located just over an hour away from the park. This airport offers nonstop flights to over 60 destinations around the world, including popular destinations like Cincinnati, Kansas City, Nashville, and Syracuse.

Some of the airlines that serve this airport include Allegiant and Sun Country Airlines, both of which are known for their affordable ticket prices. St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is a great option for your travel needs.

Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Tampa International Airport is about an hour away and is the closest major airport to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. This airport provides nonstop flights to many cities, such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

Some airlines operating at TPA include Air Canada, American, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest. Opting for this airport will allow you to make the most of your travel time to the park.

Driving to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The park is situated at the junction of SR 50 and Hwy 19 in Spring Hill. The majority of visitors come from the Tampa area. If you are driving from this city, head north on U.S. 19, and the park entrance will be on your left-hand side.

Taking the Train to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

There is no train service to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

Taking the Bus to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

If you are planning a visit to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and would prefer to take the bus, the Greyhound line is an option to consider. The Greyhound line will drop you off at its Spring Hill bus stop, the nearest bus stop to the park. From the Spring Hill stop, it will be a short 18-minute drive to the park.

Getting Around Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The best way to explore Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is to park your vehicle in the parking area and then go on foot. You won’t have to walk a lot to see all the park’s attractions since they’re all located in the same main area. Another great option for exploring the park is to paddle on the Weeki Wachee River.

What To See and Do at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

This state park is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Whether you’re seeking an action-packed adventure or a relaxing day in nature, this state park promises to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Boat Tours

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Boat Tours
Image Credit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The park provides boat tours along the Weeki Wachee River, which is an excellent way to observe the diverse wildlife present in the park. The most commonly sighted animals are cooter turtles, blue herons, bald eagles, wild turkeys, deer, and a wide variety of colorful fish. Occasionally, lucky visitors may even glimpse the endangered West Indian manatee.

Buccaneer Bay

Buccaneer Bay is a water park located inside Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The park offers a plethora of activities for guests of all ages, including a lazy river, a sandy white beach, a water play area, and a wading pool for the little ones. There are also several dining options available at the park. The most thrilling attractions at Buccaneer Bay are the waterslides, such as the Cannonball and Pirate’s Revenge.

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or just want to relax and soak up some sun, Buccaneer Bay is the perfect destination for endless fun.

Mermaid Shows

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Mermaids
Image Credit: Weeki Fresh Water Adventures

For 60 years, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has been showcasing mermaid shows. These shows include mesmerizing musical numbers, live performances, and educational content. The shows change regularly, so visitors can return again and again to witness a new and unique performance each time.

Currently, the park is presenting a rendition of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, which guests of all ages enjoy. The auditorium can hold up to 400 visitors and provides excellent views of the show from every seat.

Paddling

The Weeki Wachee River is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and abundant wildlife, including manatees, turtles, and fish. Paddlers can enjoy the river’s natural beauty as they travel down its winding path, surrounded by lush vegetation and towering cypress trees.

This state park offers kayak and canoe rentals, and visitors can choose from various routes depending on their skill level and desired experience. It’s an excellent way to spend a day in nature and explore the beauty of Florida’s natural wonders.

Wildlife Show

Wildlife Animal Encounter Shows

The park offers a variety of wildlife animal encounter shows throughout the year, allowing visitors to experience Florida’s native creatures up close and personal. These shows are a great way to learn about the area’s animals, including alligators, exotic birds, and snakes.

During the shows, visitors can watch these fascinating creatures showcased in their natural habitats and learn about their behaviors and characteristics from experienced guides. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational activity, the wildlife animal encounter shows at the park will surely be a highlight of your visit.

Best Times To Visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Whenever you get a chance to visit this park, you are in for a treat. However, certain times of the year might be better than others, especially if you hope to participate in a specific event or activity.

Best Time To Visit in Winter at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

For a winter vacation, considering the month of March can be a great choice. Due to its moderate weather conditions, March is usually the ideal time to visit. The month usually sees an average of 4 rainy days, which is not much compared to other winter months. This means you can enjoy the outdoors without being interrupted by the rain.

The temperature during March ranges from the low 50s to the upper 70s, which makes it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and exploring the local culture.

Best Time To Visit To Avoid the Crowds at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

To experience this park without crowds, plan a trip in September, when visitation is at its lowest. Visiting in September will enable you to explore the park at your own pace without worrying about traffic, long lines, or crowded attractions.

Best Time To Visit for Ideal Weather at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park for Ideal Weather
Image Credit: Weeki Fresh Water Adventures

The weather can significantly impact your trip, so planning around the typical weather patterns is essential. The optimal time to visit this park for ideal weather is in October. During that time, temperatures usually range from the low 60s to the mid-80s, and there are typically only 3 days of precipitation, which is lower than most other months.

Cheapest Time To Visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Proper research and planning can go a long way for those planning to visit the park and want to save some money. The ideal month to visit and stay within your budget is September, especially in the early to mid part of the month. During this time, flights and accommodations are relatively cheaper, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in travel expenses.

Annual Events at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

At Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, visitors can experience a range of exciting events throughout the year. From the fascinating wildlife shows to the thrilling boat tours and the enchanting mermaid shows, there is always something to see and do at this incredible destination.

No annual events are currently scheduled, but new and exciting activities are added to the calendar regularly, so be sure to check back often to see what’s happening next.

Where To Stay at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

When planning a vacation, finding accommodations is a top priority. Luckily, there are plenty of options available when visiting this state park.

Inside the Park

At the moment, no accommodation is available within the park’s boundaries. Visitors who wish to stay overnight will have to look for lodging options outside the park. However, park management is currently working on plans to offer beach rentals shortly.

Towns Near Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Whether you’re looking for the excitement and energy of a bustling city or the peace and tranquility of a quiet town, you’re sure to find a nearby destination that meets your needs.

Spring Hill, Florida

Spring Hill, where the park is located, offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels.

The city’s vibrant dining scene is also worth exploring, with many restaurants serving delicious seafood, authentic Italian cuisine, and much more. Whether looking for a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Spring Hill has something for everyone.

Tampa, Florida

View of downtown Tampa from the harbor
Image Credit: Wollwerth Imagery via Adobe Stock

Tampa is a bustling and exciting city just a short 45-minute drive from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. This vibrant city is an excellent base for those visiting this beautiful natural attraction, as it offers a wide range of options for dining, lodging, and recreation.

Tampa has it all for those searching for upscale restaurants, cozy cafes, or lively bars. With its diverse accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to affordable motels, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay.

Bottom Line:

The city offers plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy, such as museums, parks, and shopping centers. For a fun and exciting getaway, Tampa is the perfect destination.

Where To Eat at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Several restaurants within the park’s boundaries offer various delicious options to suit every taste and dietary preference. From quick bites to sit-down meals, these eateries provide the perfect opportunity to refuel and recharge before returning to continue your adventure.

Mermaid Galley

Mermaid Galley restaurant is in the back of the park, providing a serene and breathtaking view of the surrounding woods. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating options, where you can relax and enjoy your meal amidst the beautiful natural surroundings.

The menu features a wide range of options, including mouth-watering sandwiches, wraps, healthy salads, juicy burgers, and delectable ice cream desserts.

Pirate’s Grubb

Situated behind Buccaneer Bay, Prirate’s Grubb offers a variety of delicious fast food items such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, and quick snacks. You can also enjoy the stunning beach views outside and relish your meal.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Facts

1. A New State Park Established

This park has a rich history dating back to 1947 when it was first founded. However, it wasn’t until November 1, 2008, that it was officially recognized as a state park. Before that, it was one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions, known for its mermaid shows that drew in enthusiasts from all over.

2. Famous Visitors

Weeki Wachee Springs has been a popular destination for celebrities to see the mermaids. Famous guests have included Elvis Presley, Arthur Godfrey, Don Knotts, and Esther Williams.

3. What’s in a Name?

The Seminole Indians named the river Weeki Wachee, which means little spring or winding river.

4. Lights, Camera, Action

Weeki Wachee State Park has been featured in several movies, including “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid” and “Sunshine State.”

5. National Register of Historic Places

Weeki Wachee Springs was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. This designation recognizes the site as a cultural resource that is worthy of preservation for future generations.

Final Thoughts

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park offers plenty of attractions for visitors. From live mermaid performances to an exciting waterpark, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. If you’re looking for a fun and memorable experience, book your trip to this state park and discover why it attracts so many visitors from around the world each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park?

The admission fee is $13 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children ages 5 and under.

How much time should I plan to spend at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park?

It is recommended that you spend at least half a day in the park, which will allow you enough time to see a mermaid show, swim at Buccaneer Bay, and take a river cruise.

What are some places I should visit near Weeki Wachee Springs State Park?

Several parks near Weeki Wachee Springs State Park offer hiking, wildlife viewing, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities. Some of these parks include Roger’s Park in the nearby town of Spring Hills or Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida.

Can I swim at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park?

Swimming is not allowed in the Weeki Wachee River. The only place where swimming is permitted is at Buccaneer Bay.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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