The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location
Weeki Wachee Springs has been a tourist attraction since 1947 when Newton Perry bought the land around the spring and transformed beautiful young ladies into mystical mermaids of the springs.
The spring is large and clear, and along the southern edge is an underwater “theatre.” The glass front theatre offers a view to the underwater springs where the mermaids perform shows several times a day. I lucked out and visited on a day the “Legendary Sirens” were performing. The Sirens are mermaids who originally performed at the park in the 60’s and 70’s and still occasionally put on a show. Some of the ladies are now in their 70’s, but underwater they are still graceful mermaids. Their show was actually longer than the young mermaids show!
When I first arrived at the park, it was very early in the morning and I walked around the park to find good view. I walked to where there is a dock on the river for the tour boat. Here I saw a man go by on a kayak with his little dog. The kayak seemed to just float on air the water was so clear!
Then I walked further down to the kayak launch and saw plenty of peacocks on the way. The peacocks posed for photos and their feathers glowed like jewels in the morning sun. But even here, there wasn’t a good view to paint. I was looking for a spot that was slightly elevated with a good view of the river run, but it was very wooded and the trees blocked the view. (Another park, Rainbow Springs has the perfect vantage point!)
Along the way I came across a “Mold-a-Matic” machine. I remember all the old tourist attractions had one of these. It is a machine that looks a lot like a jukebox. You put in your money and the machine goes to work making a custom wax figurine right before your eyes! I splurged and spent $2 on a little green mermaid just for me!
I decided to head back up to the main spring, where the view is very open. Downstream the river is very wild and wooded. I had a nice shady spot to paint as the kids were leaping of a floating dock into the river. I was right next to a large swimming area with giant slides called “Buccaneer Bay.”
I finished painting just in time to see the second mermaid show of the day! The cool air conditioned theatre was packed over a half hour before show-time. So if you want a seat in front of the window, get there early!
For more information on this park, visit their website