Weeki Wachee Mermaid Florence McNabb Posing Underwater in Costume


Dublin Core


Weeki Wachee Mermaid Florence McNabb Posing Underwater in Costume

Alternative Title

B&W Photograph of Florence McNabb Underwater in Mermaid Costume, c.1950s


Weeki Wachee Springs (Fla.)
tourism & museum
Mermaids--Florida--Weeki Wachee--History
Theater--20th century


Photograph of Florence McNabb posing underwater in a mermaid costume at Weeki Wachee Springs in the 1950s. Florence was the daughter of Ed and Vera Gothberg, who owned the Mermaid Motel that was across the street from Weeki Wachee Springs until 1966. At this time, mermaid tails were mainly used in promotional photos and rarely used during shows. This was because shows at the time mainly consisted of ballet routines.

Along with a group of investors, Newton Perry opened Weeki Wachee Springs to the public in October of 1947. At the time, roadside attractions were becoming popular stops along Florida roadways. The attraction consisted of an amalgamation of vendors, an orchid garden, a river boat tour, as well as the star attraction: a mermaid show that took place in an underwater theater. Eventually, the May Museum of the Tropics, an "abandoned Seminole village", a show called “Birds of Prey”, and a petting zoo were added. After peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, attendance began to decline as theme parks and highways changed the dynamics of Florida's tourism. The State of Florida took over the attraction as a state park in 2008. Since then, the park has focused on appealing to a modern audience while preserving its history.




Weeki Wachee Spring State Park


Original Black and white photograph of Florence McNabb, c. 1950s: Collection of Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.


Date Created

ca. 1950-1960

Date Copyrighted

ca. 1950-1960

Is Format Of

Digital Reproduction of photograph: Florence McNabb, c. 1950s. Scanned by RICHES Team. RICHES Program, Orlando, Florida.

Is Part Of




19.6 MB


4 x 6 B&W Photograph


Still Image


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanitites Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher
Theater Teacher


Originally created by Weeki Wachee Springs, owned by Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and published by RICHES.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and is provided here by RICHES for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Florida Humanities Council Community Grant Program and Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park


Schwandt, Rebecca

Digital Collection

Source Repository

Collection of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

External Reference

Allman, T.D. Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013.
Ammidown, Margot. “Edens, Underworlds, and Shrines: Florida’s Small Tourist Attractions.” The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 23, (1998): 238-259.
Georgiadis, Bonnie and Lu Vickers. Weeki Wachee Mermaids. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.
Hollis, Tim. Glass Bottom Boats and Mermaid Tails: Florida’s Tourist Springs. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2006.
Pelland, Dan and Maryan Pelland. Images of America: Weeki Wachee. Mount Pleasant: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
Revels, Tracy J. Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
Vickers, Lu. Weeki Wachee City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida’s Oldest Roadside Attractions. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.


Weeki Wachee Spring State Park, “Weeki Wachee Mermaid Florence McNabb Posing Underwater in Costume,” RICHES, accessed May 25, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/11153.