For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.
Today, Alanna from the fantastic book review blog THE FLASHLIGHT READER has stopped by A Backwards Story to celebrate mermaids by talking about an awesome mermaid attraction in Florida. Not only that, she was generous enough to do a special GIVEAWAY, featuring the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs! How awesome is she? So awesome that you should go follow her right now if you don't already, of course!
When Bonnie asked me to participate in the Splash Into Summer event, I was sold by the mention of mermaids. As a child, I would fantasize about being a mermaid every time I entered water. It didn't matter if it was a pool or the bathtub, I always imagined having fins. In fact, for a while it was the only way I would take a bath. Everyone in my house had to pretend that I turned into a mermaid in the tub. (I attribute this to the movie SPLASH, which I idolized as a kid. I even liked SPLASH 2.)
I instantly knew what my guest post would be about: Sirens of the Deep Camp at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida. Unfortunately, I don't have a daughter (I have two boys), so I have to con my family into participating in anything even remotely girly. Weeki Wachee Springs is a state park in Florida, which makes it super family friendly. I knew there were "mermaids" when I planned our Father's Day adventure, but I left that little tidbit out to everyone else. Instead, I focused on the water park that is attached to the spring. That sold the men folk. The women (myself, sister-in-law, and niece) were all about the mermaids!
Weeki Wachee Springs is one of Florida's oldest attractions. (Yes, it outdates Disney!) It has been around for over 60 years. Originally, it was founded by a Navy SEAL trainer who bought the spring and cleaned up the polluted waters (it apparently was used as a dumping ground for unwanted appliances). The same founder is also credited with developing the breathing tube that the mermaids still use today. Weeki Wachee and its mermaids became an instant hit, but it didn't really hit the map until the 1960s when Elvis stopped by for a visit. Paris Hilton and Nicole also visited during one of the episodes from that train wreck of a reality show a few years back.
If you visit Weeki Wachee today, you can see what "old Florida" looked like while you tour the spring on a pontoon boat. You can also check out the history of the spring and the mermaids. My favorite attraction, however, was the underwater ballet performance of "The Little Mermaid." (Disney's kid friendly version, of course.) Yep, that's right. An actual re-enactment of the famous story with REAL mermaids-- sort of.
It wasn't until recently that I learned that Weeki Wachee offers an actual Mermaid Camp. Well, Mermaid Camp is for the youngsters and Sirens of the Deep Camp is geared to those over 18. Who says you can't still have fun as an adult? Sirens of the Deep Camp allows you the chance to become one of the mermaids--at least for a day. During the camp, you learn all of the underwater ballet moves that the real mermaids use in the shows. You also get to perform in the aquatic theater during a live performance at the end of camp to show off all your moves and your awesome tail. What would a mermaid camp be if you don't get a tail? You also get a makeover and a photo shoot. (You know you'd want to show off that tail.) Personally, I would want a wallet size picture so I could show EVERYONE I meet. Even my Publix bag boy.
If you're ever in Florida, you should check out Weeki Wachee springs just north of Tampa. It's one of our oldest "theme" parks and a great mermaid experience. Plus, you'll appreciate the cool 72 degree spring water during our summers of 100+ degree heat.
By the way, the total population of the city is a whopping 9 people. Really, only nine people. If you blink, you would pass right through the town. I actually couldn't believe I was "in" Weeki Wachee when we arrived. There was a Target across the street.
Along with my guest post about Weeki Wachee Springs--The ONLY city of live mermaids-- I will be giving away a LIMITED EDITION Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid calendar. It's a 2011 calendar. I know, 2011 is halfway gone, but it's still pretty awesome. I'm using mine to make awesome mermaid pictures in my study. Frame the images from the old months, and presto. Instant mermaid photography. It's got a cool retro feel, so that makes it even more fun.
If you're interested in entering the contest, just follow this link and fill out the form. One lucky winner will get a mermaid calendar in the mail. Contest ends July 12th. US entries only, please. I'm poor and can't afford international shipping. Blame it on the economy. Or the three year old with an apparent tape worm.