Weeki Wachee Mermaid Rita King Performing at a Mermaid Reunion

Dublin Core


Weeki Wachee Mermaid Rita King Performing at a Mermaid Reunion

Alternative Title

Black and White Photograph of Rita King, a Mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs, Performing Aerobatics at a Mermaid Reunion, 1960


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


Rita King, a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs, in costume, performing an acrobatic routine. This event was one of the many mermaid reunions that Weeki Wachee Springs hosted, where they invited former mermaids to attend special events. This particular reunion happened on December 1, 1960. Text cut off at the top of the image reads, "Acrobatic Dance Routine for a Mermaid Reunion Show - Age 21."

Weeki Wachee Springs is a state park that opened to the public in October of 1949 by Newton Perry along with a group of investors. This attraction opened as the roadside era of Florida was ramping up and consisted of an amalgamation of vendors including an orchid garden, a river boat tour, as well as the star attraction- the mermaid show that took place in an underwater theatre. The attraction grew to include The May Museum of the Tropics, an ‘abandoned Seminole village’, an show called “Birds of Prey”, and a petting zoo. As theme parks became the new norm for Florida’s tourist industry, Weeki Wachee Springs began steadily declining until the state of Florida absorbed the attraction into the state park system in 2008. The attraction now focuses on appealing to a modern audience, while still preserving its rich history.


Black and white photograph of Weeki Wachee Mermaid Rita King


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park


Original black and white photograph of Rita King, December 1, 1960: Private collection of Rita King.


Date Created


Date Issued


Is Format Of

Digital Reproduction of B&W photograph: c. 1960s. Scanned by RICHES Team. RICHES, Orlando, Florida.

Is Part Of




3 MB


Black and White Photograph


Still Image


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanities Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher
Theater Teacher


Originally created by Newton "Newt" Perry, owned by Delee Perry, and published by RICHES.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Rita King 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 Rita King.

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 Springs State Park. “Weeki Wachee Mermaid Rita King Performing at a Mermaid Reunion.” RICHES of Central Florida accessed October 5, 2022, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/11178.



Transcribe This Item