View Full Version : Weeki Wachi Mermaids

05-07-2012, 11:48 PM
I thought it would be cool to have a thread dedicated to these ladies. I got to see them for the first time this past March. I wont say too much about the visit since I wrote an article on it for Tail Flip. But I can post some photos I've taken! What about all of you? How many have had an experience at Weeki?

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05-08-2012, 09:09 AM
Okay, i'm gonna say it: I'm amazed that for a full blown tourist attraction that they swim with fabric tails rather than professional silicone ones. I thought that would be the kind of situation where high quality/expensive tails would be a given however, i've never been so I might be ignorant to some kind of restriction or something.

Mermaid Marissa
05-08-2012, 09:42 AM
Okay, i'm gonna say it: I'm amazed that for a full blown tourist attraction that they swim with fabric tails rather than professional silicone ones. I thought that would be the kind of situation where high quality/expensive tails would be a given however, i've never been so I might be ignorant to some kind of restriction or something.

I was going to say the same thing.

05-08-2012, 10:35 AM
The pictures look great. I wish I could go see them someday.
I don't want to step on any...fins here...but regarding their tails - as far as I know (and I may very welll be wrong) Weeki Wachee isn't very well off financially and they haven't upgraded - or maybe they just don't know about the option of silicone tails. The fabric ones are easier to fit on multiple people anyway. You can't just bring your tail there to work in, they provide it for you. I think they look fine, except the legs can show more than they might want. Anyway, I don't think that silicone tails are necessarily better or even more professional than fabric tails. They are just more 'realistic'. But maybe for them it's not practical.

05-08-2012, 10:35 AM
I went when i was 5, imagine how awed and amazed i was! Ever since my visit there I always wanted to be a mermaid, my dad even talked to the designer to make me a tail! (back then i dont know if its the same lady)
At the time it was $150.00 for the custom mini version of their tails, i still have it too! I need to take some pics and post them :)

When i move back to FL i might apply there, all you need is a diving licence and some acting clases :D
Im gonna see if i can get my licence here in PR, its cheaper.

05-08-2012, 10:48 AM
I have heard some things about bad experiences with realistic tails from the mermaids themselves that I wont post here since it'll start drama, But you can imagine :) and yes, they've had financial troubles from time to time, so after investing a lot in expensive tails that didnt last I dont think they're too keen on doing it again. Many mermaids wear the same tail as well.

I have to tell you, when I was watching them, I dont think they'd be able to do as amazing stuff in big heavy silicone tails. The fabric really lends to the fluid motions, and you forget after 5 seconds that you're watching women in fabric tails because they just embody mermaids that much. I cant wait for you all to read my article on it in tail flip I think it really captures them! :D

05-08-2012, 10:58 AM
I wish I could have seen them perform! So jealous. And it makes sense that the fabric is easier to move in. They have to do a lot of different routines so it's a lot of work to do! :)

05-08-2012, 03:32 PM
Gorgeous photos Raina! Thank-you for sharing! I would love to see them perform one day! It's definintely on my list!

Gem Stone
05-08-2012, 06:13 PM
I love Weeki Wachee! It's what got me into mermaids in the first place! They actually do have silicone tails but they use those for more sitting or going someplace else type of things. Their silicone tails are amazing if you get to see them. But yes, the fabric ones are cheaper, easier to repair, and faster to get on and off. One of the three original mermaid sisters normally p,as the sea witch and has to change in the underwater air lock really quick, so yeah.

05-08-2012, 11:23 PM
I've seen them once, and as a silicone tail owner, no way could they do what they do in one. Maybe latex, but not silicone. Although I do wish they wore something a bit more realistic, and maybe if they had some way to secretly breath from the air hoses, it would be great! But really they are amazing for doing what they do. As much as I love being a mermaid, I couldn't work there, because I could never do what they do.

05-11-2012, 10:44 PM
Weeki Wachi Mermaids were on Yahoo news today! Check it out!!


05-12-2012, 10:28 AM
You know I've been thinking about it and I have to retract my comment that they couldn't do what they do in silicone tails....cause Melissa & Shannon did some amazing stuff in theirs.....so just I'm the one that couldn't do it...lol

Ayla of Duluth
05-12-2012, 12:52 PM
I've always wondered this; why do the weeki wachi (however you spell it) mermaids breathe out of air hoses? It seems...I dunno. Unnecessary? I've seen other mers perform at different aquariums, and when they need to breathe, they just surface for air. It keeps the performance looking realistic and there's no worry of getting tangled up in your air hose or accidentally dropping it while swimming. To me, it's hard to get into the performance because the hoses are really distracting. Anyone know why they use them instead of just going up for air?

05-12-2012, 02:53 PM
My guess would be time? Or maybe a more flow-like transition between movements/dance? I've never seen the show.

05-12-2012, 03:07 PM
Yea the air hose is a bit distracting, but I think they also do pretty long shows and performances so
perhaps if they had to come up for air every time, it would be difficult or make the show twice as long.
I'm sure they could edit or rewrite the show up a bit if they really wanted to, maybe the way they have
it is alright as it is?

As for the silicone tails, I dunno seems you can maneuver pretty good in them. Seems like they provide a
lot less drag than fabric tails since the fabric always bunches and sways. Silicone tails (at least ones that
are fitted properly) would seal shut around your legs and provide little to no places for water to pocket up
and weight you down. Fabric, on the other hand absorbs water and allows water to flow into the tail and
"bunch" up. I've seen videos of mermaid Melissa performing pretty well in her MVD tail and I think it's
a silicone tail.

05-12-2012, 03:23 PM
I really think it's something you gotta see first hand to really get. The air hoses are incorporated into the acts in really neat ways, and there's a lot of historical stuff about the park they show you and demonstrate for one of the acts. Honestly, before I saw it I would have agreed with you all on the aesthetic of the fabric tails but not after seeing it :)

05-12-2012, 03:23 PM
and yes they also do multiple very quick tail changes that would just NOT work with silicone

05-12-2012, 04:04 PM
The tails that Weeki Wachee uses today are Mertailor. Fabric and realistic.

I personally do not have a problem with the air hoses. I rather see the hoses than have the mermaids surface for air every 30 seconds.

Here is the website's page on the History of the park. http://weekiwachee.com/about-us/history-of-weeki-wachee-springs.html The second photo down is Newton Perry, the man who designed the air hoses that the mermaids still use to this day.

05-12-2012, 05:11 PM
The tails that Weeki Wachee uses today are Mertailor. Fabric and realistic.

they have mermaids R us for realistic ones now except for the one you and I saw of Eric's, and 1 other we didn't see. Kylee was telling me about the mermaids r us, and then mermaids r us emailed me too when I was in Florida.

05-12-2012, 05:31 PM
I've seen a number of videos on their performances. Doesn't really look all that complex. I think
you just have to be a really strong swimmer in order to be very agile in a silicone tail.

I'm sure whatever they do there has been discussed several times over and they've probably
chosen the best option towards what they feel is what they want to accomplish.

07-15-2012, 05:57 PM
Just to throw my 2 cents in... Silicone can be maneuvered just as gracefully and beautifully as the fabric ones. But, I think that with a combination of having to change in and out of tails during the show and traveling though tunnels as their way to get into the spring, silicone tails would just not be the best choice for them.

09-15-2012, 03:45 AM
Okay, i'm gonna say it: I'm amazed that for a full blown tourist attraction that they swim with fabric tails rather than professional silicone ones. I thought that would be the kind of situation where high quality/expensive tails would be a given however, i've never been so I might be ignorant to some kind of restriction or something.
None of the professional mermaids really do. I used to live in Vegas and the Silverton mermaids don't. I now live in Florida and noticed that Medusirena the firbreather and her group of mermaids dont. The weeki mermaids don't either. Almost all of the professional mermaids that are solo (or only 1-3 mers in the group) swim in silicone/latex tails while the other larger groups or more known of mermaids don't. It's because of the volume of mermaids. The Silverton Hotel doesn't want to pay over 12-15,000 dollars for tails for their group of mermaids. I highly doubt weeki does either. And I think it has a lot to do about all of them looking uniform. Why spend the 12,000 and up making 5-6 or more silicone tails that all look the same? I feel like that'd be fucking pointless and a waste of product. I feel like the tails that can take up to months to make would be better off all being individual. It'd be such a waste to have to spend so many hours of your time making the same exact thing over and over.... Most tail-makers who make those sorts of tails do it because they love making something unique and different every time.

Capt Nemo
09-15-2012, 12:59 PM
I've always wondered this; why do the weeki wachi (however you spell it) mermaids breathe out of air hoses? It seems...I dunno. Unnecessary? I've seen other mers perform at different aquariums, and when they need to breathe, they just surface for air. It keeps the performance looking realistic and there's no worry of getting tangled up in your air hose or accidentally dropping it while swimming. To me, it's hard to get into the performance because the hoses are really distracting. Anyone know why they use them instead of just going up for air?

The mermaids have to be on scuba/compressed air due to the airlock, they are also running with hardly any air. When they are using their lungs as buoyancy compensators, they don't need much air in them to remain neutrally buoyant, with less stored oxygen they need to breathe more often than a freediver would. But a freediver would have to remain on the surface for a minimum of what their dive time was to prevent shallow water blackout. So if they did it freediving, a 3 minute dive would mean a 3 minute minimum surface interval before their next dive.

Sea Pearl
09-15-2012, 01:48 PM
What they do is incredible and a lot of hard work. And that's only seeing it all from pictures and reading about it, seeing them perform live must be amazing! Thanks for sharing pictures. Next year I may be going to Florida for my birthday, so I may get the chance to go and see them :)

09-15-2012, 02:48 PM
Dana mermaid and Doreen both mostly use fabric/neoprene based tails :)

10-31-2012, 01:18 PM
Hi, Mermaid star is it? We have another user here that's called Mermaid Star, but you're not the same person clearly. I see you've made 3 posts already but haven't introduced yourself. I see you keep referring to yourself as "we" so I'm wondering who "we" is. I'm assuming you're selling something because of your other post about racks?

Anyway, back to the debate between fabric vs realistic,
Hannah, Kariel, Weeki Wachi, Dana mermaid, Doreen Virtue, Mermaid Kat, and many others use FABIC. And they make it work. I have swam in fabric, latex, and real silicone. If you haven't tried them all I don't think it's fair to say you can do the same in some that you can do in others, because really you can't- that's the whole purpose of trying others. I am a million times better in my silicone than I every was in my latex that was too buoyant. I am much better at turning in a fabric tail and bending and being flexible than I ever will be in a silicone.

The point is, and the reason I made the thread to begin with - the Weeki Wachi girls deserve a lot more credit than people give them.

I also see that for some reason my photos no longer show up, so here they are again!

















11-01-2012, 01:12 PM
I just can't believe that two of the Wichee Watchee mermaids are from Michigan! That blows my mind. especially since one's home town is like 10 min from mine. How did they get so lucky? lol

Gem Stone
11-09-2012, 01:51 AM
They have some realistic looking tails now. I've seen them. They look cool

02-14-2013, 10:54 PM
I used to go to Weeki Wachee every summer on vacation when I was younger- it's what got me hooked on mermaids. I'm pretty sure part of the reason they still use fabric tails is also just the history behind them. WW is big on their whole backstory and how old they are, and I think they'd definitely lose some of that "trip back in time" appeal if they started using completely realistic tails. Plus, they perform so many shows for so long, I would think that lighter fabric tails would be a heck of a lot easier on them.

02-14-2013, 11:05 PM
also, they've almost went under budget wise dozens of times, super expensive place to run- cant afford super expensive tails

02-14-2013, 11:45 PM
yeah, and I don't know if they get as many tourists anymore- which stinks since it's such a great place... and the waterslides are actually fun! (at least, in my opinion.)

02-15-2013, 10:19 AM
I'm thinking about trying to go for my birthday. =P

Quick question though--what monofins do they use?

02-15-2013, 08:09 PM
when I was watching they looked like individual swim fins to me

02-15-2013, 08:19 PM
Wow, really? Such a low budget...makes me feel sad.

04-29-2013, 06:22 PM
yep, they have a low budget.
In fact, the place was about to be closed down for good, and then one former mermaid, one of the first performers there, bought the whole thing.
So, it's really run by enthusiasts only.

I read an article from someone who actually went there and got to perform with them for a day, and I do have a healthy respect for the work these girls do.
It is a LOT more difficult than it looks to breathe through the hoses and to stay down so long while always doing a nice choreography.

Considering how incredibly expensive the newer silicone tails are (I'm still saving up for one), I can really sympathize with them using cheaper versions which do the job just as well.
For me, underwater swimming skills and performance are way more important than a great looking make-believe tail.

04-30-2013, 12:56 PM
O was so grateful I got to go to weeks wachi with my mom in 2007.
I loved everything about it!
It felt like I had gone back in time and watched the mermaids perform as they would have many years ago. I did not think about the hard times the park had been through, but the fact that I was able to visit and enjoy the shows, and swim in buccaneer bay :)

The stage area is very deep so I can't imagine them NOT using their air hoses. I loved it, and wanted to try using one lol
maybe someday :) being scuba certified I know at least all that underwater performing with compressed air would entail, so I give these girls much props. They're awesome!

Here's a pic of me and mom at weeks wachi, I wish I had taken more of us!

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2

05-06-2013, 09:50 PM
I saw that they had auditions lay weekend for new mermaids. I would love to try out one day but I have heard they don't get paid much. I wonder if that's true or not. I would think they'd be paid above min wage bcus their job takes extensive training and much experience and is dangerous

05-06-2013, 10:32 PM
I've heard/read that training is extensive and pay is low (the show doesn't actually make that much money).

05-06-2013, 10:46 PM
on the other hand...there are lots of exhausting, hard work jobs that are paid really bad.
and not a lot of jobs that are as fantabulous as being a mermaid :)

if you love it, you get paid for doing something you might do anyway (swim)! :D

05-07-2013, 02:35 AM
@ Raina... Thank you for re-posting the pictures from your trip! They are a great example of costuming, swimming, layouts... parts of routines and mermen!

Training to be a Mermaid at Weeki Wachee, is quite extensive. For one thing you have to be SCUBA certified. Syncronized choreography is also taught if you don't know the ins and outs (I was on the Syncro swim team in Michigan before I did my tryout there). Breathing on the air hose takes time and patience and a good set of teeth and jaw muscles. The air is under compression, and you can adjust the valve for flow, but you still need to turn off the valve, or clench down on the hose tip, to exhale. Learning to swim up to 3 hours a day, in 74 F (23 C) degree water, synchronized routines, costume changes, on a hose, is not for the faint of heart (or body). And, you can easily become hypothermic.

One reason we used to wear full bathing suits and not just a bra, was it kept you a little bit warmer. Wearing tights inside the tails helped, too. Many costumes allowed us to wear layers, and leotard (dance) tops. We wore fabric tails (most of the tails are spandex, now, but there is a mix, fabric, some neoprene, and silicone is used on special occasion) and split fins due to quick costume changes. Peeling out of a silicone tail to get into another costume would take way too long. Sometimes we had less than a minute for a costume change. And at least when I swam there, fins were the only fluke "equipment" available. Fins were made by Voit, and cut to fit the fluke section of our tails.

The viewing area from inside the theater angles down, so the front row of seats are about 10 to 12 feet below the surface. I, and my MerSisters, performed most routines at minimum of 15 feet (it totally depends on the height of the river, and the rainwater that seeps into the Spring via aquifers). We were taught that there is no surface. An air hose was always closer than the surface. There are scads of hoses coiled or draped on the stage, for easy access. Only an extreme emergency would send you up to the surface for air.

Yep, the pay is still low. The State of Florida, Parks and Recreation, now owns Weeki Wachee proper (not the water rights). The Mers working there now are at the States' "mercy" for pay and benefits. My MerSisters, the ones I swam with, are now known as the Formers, and do a show monthly or sometimes twice a month, more often for special occasions, like our Reunion! :) Tourist counts are going up, because Disney, Epcot, and SeaWorld are so expensive. There is also a revival of people wanting to see the older attractions. Business IS doing much better!

After skimming alot of posts in this thread, it would take me a tome to write responses to questions. But if I can, I will happily discuss any Mers' curiosity about swimming there, or its history... if I don't know, I will ask my MerSisters.

I would love all the Mers here to have a chance to swim in my "home waters". It's an experience you will never forget!

Bubble hearts!
Mermaid Marla

05-07-2013, 08:20 PM
Thanks for sharing Marla! I sent you a PM :)

05-08-2013, 01:08 AM
Thanks Marla it was good to get that information. It still is poopy that the girls are paid low because of the state's mercy. But what a beautiful place and amazing girls. Still blows my mind that Mermaid Kaylee is from near my hometown.

05-11-2013, 12:18 PM
That is very true!

05-26-2015, 10:46 PM
Ok, I am no expert about Weeki Wachee, but I did recently go to mermaid camp there. The ladies who go are given fabric tails to use. I rather liked them. For us, it was just a matter of getting used to being in the tails. I have seen the mermaids model in their calendars in fancy tails - much fancier than the ones that they perform in. They may sit and visit with silicone tails, as well, but I am not sure. I do know one thing - they have to get in and out of those tails quite quickly. I watched them do it. Some of the tails have zippers, but we were told that the camper tails do not have them because of cost. Weeki Wachee is really out in the middle of nowhere. I actually had to do some driving to find somewhere to eat dinner. There have been times that the park was about to close, but fortunately, it does stay in business. The Mermaids who taught us in camp are retired mermaids who do not get paid. They do it for fun.

As for the hoses, I really couldn't answer that, but I know that the spring is deep. Those mermaids and princes perform 1/2 hour shows. They also blow neat bubbles and stuff with the hoses. I never got to use one, but it is amazing how the hoses are special for different parts of the spring. A lot really goes into it.

Anyway, I wish that I could answer your questions about Weeki Wachee, but I don't know how well I did. There are a couple of books on Weeki Wachee and underwater photography that I found at my library. They are also on Amazon.com. They are worth looking into for the history of the air hoses.:cool:

05-26-2015, 11:31 PM
well this thread is about 3 years old and we've since had weeki mermaids come and chat with us along with various articles published. ;)

05-27-2015, 07:50 AM
I'm new! :)

05-28-2015, 07:40 PM