Arlene Brooks Practicing Ballet in the Mermaid Villa


Dublin Core


Arlene Brooks Practicing Ballet in the Mermaid Villa

Alternative Title

3 Strips of Kodak Safety Film with 12 photographs showing Arlene Brooks Practicing Ballet Moves in Weeki Wachee's Mermaid Villa


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


Three strips of safety film with twelve photographs showing Arlene Brooks in several ballet positions. The photographs are assumed to be taken by Weeki Wachee's resident photographer, Sparky Schumacher. These photos were taken in the 1960s. Practicing moves out of the water is just as important as practicing moves underwater.

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.


3 strips of Kodak Safety Film
Black and White Photos


Weeki Wachee Spring State Park
Schumacher, Sparky


Original Kodak Safety Film strips, 12 photographs, c. 1960s: Private collection of Arlene Brooks.


Date Created

ca. 1960-1970

Date Copyrighted

ca. 1960-1970

Is Format Of

Digital Reproduction of three film strips: Arlene Brooks, c. 1960s. Scanned by RICHES Team. RICHES, Orlando, Florida.

Is Part Of




61.3 MB


Three Kodak Safety Film Strips


Still Image


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanitites Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher
Theater Teacher


Originally created by Sparky Schumacher, owned by Arlene Brooks, and published by RICHES.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Arlene Brooks 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

Private Collection of Arlene Brooks

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 and Schumacher, Sparky, “Arlene Brooks Practicing Ballet in the Mermaid Villa,” RICHES, accessed April 25, 2024,