Sunbathing at Weeki Wachee Springs


Dublin Core


Sunbathing at Weeki Wachee Springs

Alternative Title

Weeki Wachee Springs


Weeki Wachee Springs (Fla.)


A postcard of Weeki Wachee Springs sometime in the late 1950s. Louise Nan Steer mentions this postcard in her oral history interview because the blonde girl in the pink bathing suit in the center of the postcard is her twin sister, Lynda. The rest of the women are mermaids that worked at the park. Louise stated that several times during photoshoots, the photographer would gather whoever was available to fill the shot. This is how Lynda became a part of the postcard even though she was not a Weeki Wachee mermaid.

The May Natural History Museum of the Tropics is a non-profit organization that displays the world’s largest private insect collection. James May acquired the thousands of insects and arthropods that make up the collection from the late 1800s until his death in 1956. John May continued his father’s legacy, building a museum in Weeki Wachee, Florida, that lasted from 1954-1964, and a museum in Colorado that opened in the 1950s and is still open today. John May also took parts of the collection across the United States and Canada to display at fairs and exhibitions.

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.


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Original 3.5 x 5 color postcard by Weeki Wachee Springs: May Natural History Museum Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Date Created

ca. 1950-1963

Date Copyrighted

ca. 1950-1963

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original 3.5 x 5 color postcard by Weeki Wachee Springs.

Is Part Of

Weeki Wachee Collection, Hernando County Collection, RICHES.





5.35 MB


color postcard




Still Image


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanities Teacher


Originally created and published by Weeki Wachee Springs.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by May Natural History Museum and is provided here by RICHES for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Rebecca Schwandt's Thesis Project


Schwandt, Rebecca

Digital Collection

Source Repository

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. Accessed November 9, 2018.
Georgiadis, Bonnie and Lu Vickers. Weeki Wachee mermaids: thirty years of underwater photography. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.
Hollis, Tim. Glass Bottom Boats &
Mermaid Tails: Florida's Tourist Springs. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2006.
Pelland, Maryan. Weeki Wachee Springs. Arcadia Publishing Inc, 2006. .
Revels, Tracy J. Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
Vickers, Lu, and Sara Dionne. Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida's Oldest Roadside Attractions. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.


<a href="" target=”_blank”>Weeki Wachee Springs</a>, “Sunbathing at Weeki Wachee Springs,” RICHES, accessed May 23, 2024,