I’m sure tons of us gave up our childhood dreams ages ago (I can relate, although there’s a small part of me that secretly hopes that NASA will have a use for an astronaut that has no STEM experience whatsoever). But, there’s a small group of individuals out there who actually made those fantasies come true. The mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida fall solidly into that category. And, good news for every other adult who once dreamed of being an underwater princess or siren of the deep: they’re hiring. And yes, guys, they have mer-princes as well.
The grand tradition of mermaids in Weeki Wachee dates back to 1947. A former US Navy man who trained frogmen divers bought the spring, cleaned it out, and started experimenting with using discrete hoses hidden in the scenery to breathe underwater. He then built a submerged theater, found some pretty girls to train, and opened the first mermaid show.
By the 1950s, the spring was one of the country’s most famous attractions. In 1959, ABC bought the spring and built a larger theater, putting on elaborate underwater ballets inspired by Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and Peter Pan. Although the spring’s heyday has passed, it’s still managed to keep its kitschy, magical vibe to this day. And, it still attracts aspiring mermaids from all over to try out, attend camp, or enjoy the shows.
It’s not too late to start preparing to prove you have what it takes for the mid-January auditions. Reportedly, the preliminary audition involves a 300-yard endurance swim and up to 15 minutes (!!!) of treading water. Then, those who pass muster will be invited back for another audition, where the mermaids will show how that they can move gracefully underwater.
And, as if being a real-live mermaid isn’t enough, there’s a bonus: the town of Weeki Wachee is a pretty magical place to work and live. The roadside attraction-turned-incorporated town/state park boasts the natural spring, which stays at 72 degrees year round, manatees, turtles, peacocks, a spring-fed waterpark, and a population of four. The mayor is actually a former mermaid and the state park’s assistant manager, so there are some interesting opportunities for job growth in the mermaid industry as well.
For those that want to be a mermaid, but aren’t ready to do it professionally, Weeki Wachee offers camps (for kids and adults alike) that help you learn mermaid skills and unleash your inner siren of the deep.
More ways to live out your childhood dreams…