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The famous mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs are the epitome of grace and elegance. They make what they do underwater look effortless. Surprisingly, the secrets behind their daily aquatic ballets haven’t changed much since the classic Florida roadside attraction first opened in 1947. Have you ever wondered how the mermaids are able stay underwater for so long and look so good doing it? Here’s an explainer.

Six Interesting Facts About Weeki Wachee’s Mermaids

  • Before Newton Perry bought the property and turned it into a tourist attraction, the spring was not exactly pristine or visitor-worthy. The water was full of old rusted refrigerators and abandoned cars.
  • The original Underwater Theater only had 18 seats. The mermaids stood by the roadside to drum up more business and the theater’s capacity was later expanded.
  • The mermaid show has been a celebrity magnet over the decades. Elvis Presely, Don Knotts, Kevin Smith and Larry the Cable Guy are just a few of the famous guests.
  • At one time, the attraction was owned by the ABC television network and numerous shows and movies have been shot there.
  • Stand-up comedian Thomas J. Kelly made history in 2006 when he became Weeki Wachee’s first ever male mermaid. His adventures were documented in a web series called The Little Merman.
  • American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson used quick clips of the Weeki Wachee mermaids in the music video for her 2011 mega-hit “Stronger.”