We didn’t have many choices in RV parks in the Weeki Wachee area. At least none that we could find. Our 1st choice in Spring Hill excepted our reservations but then called us back later that same day to ask if we had a dog/dogs traveling with us. Hmm, the website said they were pet friendly. “Yes” Don replied. “Is it under 20 lbs.?”, they inquired. “No” Don answered,”but your website didn’t say you had size restrictions.” “This is a new policy we just implemented” the manager said, “We’ll need to cancel your reservation.” Well, now we had to scramble to locate another RV park.
So here we are at Cody’s Catfish Pond & RV Park.
Cody’s is a shining example of why campgrounds with seasonal sites (& sites on which people are living) need to have restrictions & regulations in place & enforced. Too often theses sites become eyesores. Now I have nothing against old trailers usually, I do though when they’ve not seen soap, water & a soft brush in a quarter of a century. I do when they are in disrepair, such as damaged awnings left hanging off the trailer, duct taped plastic in place of windows, etc. Then there’s the ramshackle sheds & porches that are rotting, doors hanging off or missing altogether with junk spilling out of them. Sites with tacky lawn ornamentation that has seen its better days or landscaping overgrown with weeds. You can well imagine what an impression this park made on us. Fortunately we will only be here for 3 days. Just enough time to visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The pity is this facility could be a real gem of a park. Lots of lovely palm trees. The pond is pretty, clean, & clear. The non seasonal sites are reasonably level with attractive patios made of paver stones & they have FHU’s. Alas, I would not suggest this park as an option to anyone, nor will we stay here again.
The purpose for our visit to Weeki Wachee is because I have never seen the mermaids & have wanted to do so ever since I was a little girl & had seen them advertised on tv. Don on the hand, was here when he was young & visiting his grandmother who lived nearby.
Weeki Wachee is one of Florida’s original roadside attractions. The mermaids here have been swimming their tails off since 1947. In 1946, Newton Perry purchased Weeki Wachee Springs & began training “mermaids” to perform synchronized ballet moves underwater using air hoses.
Weeki Wachee’s heyday began in 1959 when ABC purchased the springs. ABC built the present day theater for viewing the mermaid shows. The broadcasting company developed themes for the shows & created elaborate props, music & storylines. In the 60’s, girls came from near & far for mermaid tryouts. They performed 8 shows a day to sold out crowds.
In 1982 the state of Florida took over the springs & made it into a state park. The park also offers riverboat cruises on the Weeki Wachee River that begins at the big spring & flows into the Gulf of Mexico 12 miles west. Canoes & kayaks are available to rent & in season, guests can swim in the spring at the onsite Buccaneer Water Park. Animal shows are put on 3 times a day, these are very popular with the little tykes.
Weeki Wachee is a Seminole Indian name that means “little spring” or “winding river”. More than 170 million gallons of water flow from the spring daily. The water is so clean & pure you can actually drink it. The current runs a strong 5 miles per hour, making it a challenge for the mermaids to stay in one place.
Don & I chose to attend the “mermaids” version of Hans Christian Anderson’s Littlest Mermaid. The performers appeared to be high school aged & we had to give them a lot of credit, their ability to hold their breath for so long between air intake from the hoses was astounding. Don said he was most impressed with them being able to hover in one place as a unit while performing a synchronized routine.
He did comment that the theme park had lost much of its luster since he was last here. The lovely gardens that he remembered were gone & so were the glass bottomed boats. All in all though, we were happy to have the opportunity to take in a slice of Americana, a oldtime roadside attraction.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid……………..