As a way to say “thank you” to first responders and electric utility workers for their hard work during Hurricane Irma, Florida State Parks are offering Florida First Responder Passes. These passes, with a few exceptions, allow first responders and electric utility workers as well as their families free day passes into Florida State Parks. Here is a link to learn more about this opportunity to explore Florida State Parks and the First Responder Pass.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
We took advantage of this generous program by exploring Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. This is one of the parks that has exceptions to it. Instead of allowing up to eight people with the pass only two are allowed. That was still a big savings for us. It was only $8.00 for the three of us to enter the park!
This was such an interesting park to explore for the day. It has a long history as a roadside attraction long before Disney came to Florida. The park began in 1947 when Newt Perry first introduced the public to the amazing mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs. It became a Florida State Park in 2008. The mermaids are still swimming to the delight of the many visitors that come each day.
The Weeki Wachee Mermaid Shows are very popular and seating fills up fast. It is on a first come, first served basis. The shows are located in the Underwater Theater, which opens 30 minutes prior to the start of the shows. If you want to go, get there early and keep in mind wet swimsuits and trunks are not permitted in the theater. Plan accordingly. There are currently two shows The Little Mermaid and Fish Tails. We saw the former. My eight year old son was not as impressed as I was. But I think little girls would love it!
Taking pictures in this theater was a bit of a challenge for an amateur like me, but here is a mermaid!
There is still a lot to do in this park after watching a mermaid show. There is also a Wildlife Show as well as Wilderness River Cruise. The Wilderness River Cruise is also popular. If you want to do it, get in line early.
And then there is the Weeki Wachee Spring to swim or float in.
But what my son loved the best was the waterslides. Make sure your child is able to swim on their own before allowing them to enjoy the slides.
Please follow all rules about swimming in the springs especially this one:
A couple of things to keep in mind before going. This is a popular park. It will stop allowing people in once it hits park capacity. Arrive early. Bring chairs or beach blankets with you. The beach chairs are claimed fast. It’s nice to have a place to sit and relax. Coolers with food and drinks are allowed in the park. Just don’t bring your own alcohol. There are picnic areas to eat at, but grilling is not allowed. There are also snack bars and a restaurant.
Where to Camp
We only spent the day, but my research showed a campground with good reviews close by for camping, as Weeki Wachee does not have any camping facilities. Cody’s RV Park is located close to the springs.
Florida State Parks are an amazing way to explore Florida’s many natural wonders. Weeki Wachee Springs is just one of many places we hope to visit before this thoughtful offer expires on October 31st. Get outside First Responders and see what all of the Florida State Parks have to offer.