Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?

 

Although I grew up in Pennsylvania, the now legendary Fairyland of Gettysburg eludedFantasyland Brochure me.  The park opened in 1959 and operated through its closure in 1980. Being born in 1978 a 4 hour’s drive away, it just slipped right through my little toddler fingers. I only learned of its existence years later online. In all the pictures and promotional materials, I continued to see a towering figure; 23 feet tall and somewhat sinister. Mother Goose welcomed all guests with a big bowl of salad and a pained expression of discomfort. Her face looked more like a real mother’s than it did a fairy tale. She appears tired, irritated, and has somewhat masculine features. Her knobby cane emphasizes her agony further. Next to her, a curious goose, looking up at her (maybe interested in what is in the bowl) The more I dug, the more she started showing up. I found her scowl on brochures, souvenirs, and postcards.
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The statue’s face is strange and memorable. I recognized it immediately.

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I had seen this face before at Storybook Land in Egg Harbor.  I thought to myself “Huh-They actually made two of those!-Wonder what happened to the one that was in Gettysburg.”

The deeper I dug the more I found; and my initial assumption was wrong.

There were not two of these figures manufactured, there was just one, and she was made to be the focal point at the entrance of Fantasyland for Ken and Thelma Dick, who opened the park in 1959.

When it closed, most of the statues and figures were sold to other park owners. Many of them went to Indiana, but surely the largest, Mother Goose, presented a unique set of challenges. As it turns out, she made the  nearly 200 mile trip east from Gettysburg to the Jersey Shore, where she has continued to greet visitors at the entrance of a new park.

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Gettysburg lost a piece of its collective childhood when Fantasyland closed its castle doors, but thankfully, Mother Goose was not left to the bulldozers or the elements. She still greets the young visitors (and the young at heart). She is the first thing guests see when they walk through the gates of Story Book Land. She’s even got a spot for excited kids (like me) to pose with her…and her mysterious bowl of salad. The park has repainted her beautifully, even softening her face into a near Mona-Lisa smile. She’s blushing and has gotten her nails done. Her witchy-pointed hat has been shortened and flowers have been added. She seems happy to spend her old age here near the Atlantic Ocean.  Her goose friend is here too, still trying desperately to get her attention.

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Next time you are visiting Story Book Land take a  look at a piece of history from a park that didn’t make it. Fantasyland was less fortunate than Story Book Land which still operates today, but even through uncertain times, mothers always seem to find their way back to their children.

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Storybook Land – A Retro Childhood Delight!

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Just popping in with a very quick update to let you know about the first ever Enchanted Kiddieland guest post over at Retro Roadmap! Check it out but be sure to also pay a visit to the rest of Mod Betty’s site! If you like the kinds of things we post on this site, odds are pretty good you’ll find yourself loving hers too!

Happy exploring everyone!

KONG Returns to Wildwood for the 2015 Season!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I’m going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive – a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World. -King Kong 1933

1970s Hunt's Pier postcard showing the original Kong ride

1970s Hunt’s Pier postcard showing the original Kong ride

If you grew up going to the Jersey Shore between 1972 and 1980, chances are good that one thing stuck in your memory. Even if you were very young, there’s an unforgettable sight you saw on that summer vacation-The Eighth Wonder of the World. KING KONG. For eight years, a 25 foot hulking ape stood watch over Hunt’s Pier, but in the summer of 1981, he did not return to the shore.

Kong started his life in New York, where he was assembled over nine months by a team of artists lead by Fred Mahana.  Mahana’s legacy is not only this giant ape, but also other custom-built beloved Jersey Shore attractions like Castle Dracula, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and Brigantine Castle. Fred Mahana also made memories outside of NJ as the artist behind the Hollywood Wax museum in Ocean City, MD.

Many of his amusements can be seen in this wonderful 8mm film:

Despite being disassembled into his nine pieces for winter storage, years in the salty air and the blazing sun were unkind to King Kong and his 7 foot captive bride Fay Wray. In 1980, he attempted to make the trip back to his homeland in New York for refurbishment. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the wire armature inside was too deteriorated to make the return trip to Hunt’s Pier. Kong would never be assembled again, he had mesmerized his last season of tourists on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Read more about Kong’s fate on Fun Chase

Kong’s memory never truly went away for the generation that grew up with him and he continued to appear on retro t-shirts and mugs. He even graced the cover of the Morey’s Fab-O-Rama: A Wild Ride book. So when a cryptic email came in to me in the fall of 2014 from Morey’s Piers with the subject line: “New Ride Survey” you can imagine my delight as I saw an ape in body of the message. The Morey Brothers, who are working tirelessly to restore Wildwood to its 1970s glory days were bringing Kong home again for the 2015 season!

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Original Mockup from Survey

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Mockup after survey feedback (with Tram car, fangs, and a fancy new shirt!)

In the original concept art I saw, Kong was holding a Statue of Liberty and wearing a T-shirt reading “I ❤ NJ”. He had a silly “cute” face and looked a bit too friendly. I felt strongly that Kong should be a bit scary-looking, and also shared some feedback on the items he was holding and wearing. NJ seemed a bit too generic, and the Statue of Liberty (although a nod to the original film) just felt out of place. The entire thing seemed to be lacking a sense of cohesiveness, as if too many good ideas got put into one design.

I was thrilled to see in the final artwork that they update Kong’s face to add fangs, and a bit of a meaner scowl to his facial sculpt overall. He is now wearing a Wildwood tank top (Now reading “I ❤ WW”). His feet and hands were also slightly modified, but the biggest change (and the one I am happiest about) was the decision to put one of Wildwood’s famous Tram Cars in his terrifying grip. NOW Kong has truly come home to Wildwood!

According to the Morey’s Piers Facebook page, The planes showed up this week, and Kong is currently making his cross-country trip to the shore and is due to arrive any day now! (All Photos courtesy of Morey’s Piers)

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Kong preparing for his cross-country trip to the Wildwood boardwalk! (April 2015)

I am ecstatic to see Morey’s giving a nod to the bygone days of Wildwood, while keeping the boardwalk a little bit scary for kids. We cannot wait to see the beast in all his glory! Are you excited to see King Kong make his return? What do you think of his new look? Have a memory of Kong to share with us? Add it to the comments!

How The Miniature West Was Won

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably noticed that many kiddie parks focus on the sweeter parts of childhood. In fact, most of the places that I post about are decidedly “girly” in theme: Princess castles, Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland. There is no debating who the intended audiences for these attractions were.  However, there is another type of kiddie park that was geared at the rough and tumble boys of the 1950s; boys who grew up on Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. They were dirty, old fashioned, and gritty. Let me introduce you to the Wild West Park. Now nearly extinct, these parks usually featured skits and shows filled with shoot-outs, bank robberies, and undertakers. Often they included inappropriate themes like drinking, can-can girls, and train robberies. One such park still exists in Netcong, NJ. Opened in 1956, it continues to operate today as Wild West City.  Incredibly, the park has been under the ownership of the same family since 1966. The shows are a joy, and the actors that work to recreate Dodge City in 1880 clearly love their jobs. Many that I spoke to explained that they felt like it was their second home. They worked there, their children worked there, and they hoped the park would be around long enough for their grandchildren to work there. Young men skillfully rode horses and were clearly proud of their role in this historic place.

It is here, among the daily stunt shows, the gunfights, and the saloons that you will also find a miniature treasure that is easy to walk by. A long trailer fitted with a glass front is home to Pixieland, which took 15 years to build. The attraction isn’t mentioned on the park’s website, but it literally captivated me as I stared and laughed at its scenes until I was pulled away before I missed the next scheduled show!

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A  printed description next to the diorama proudly describes the work:

PIXIELAND was made in Australia by Mr. A. Langham, a mechanical engineer. It took 15 years to build with the help of his wife and son. All the tiny figures and animals are hand carved out of wood and hollowed out to take the mechanical movements.

They are all dressed an finished to look lifelike, although only five inches high. All the scenery and effects are handmade also. Every animation tells a humorous story; keep this in mind as you watch. For instance, observe the cross-eyed cowboy on the cross-eyed horse and the horse’s eyes roll. See the prisoner sawing his way out of jail. The old man is shooting rabbits as they pop out of their holes. He is swearing as he misses them. Watch his mouth. See the bears tongue move as he eats the honey.

Chief Sitting Bull’s eyes move as he oversee s the war dance. The hair of the man tied to the totem pole raises in fright. The horse at the wagon, his ears are moving. As the baby pulls the mother’s pigtail, watch her mouth move as she cries! The cowboy holding a lighted lantern in his toes is breathing in and out. The cowboy playing the harmonica in the Hillbilly band puffs out his cheeks. The man next to him opens an closes his eyes.

Underneath Pixieland is a maze of shafts, pulleys, bolts, gears, cams and levers. All these too are handmade. The main shafts are powered by 1 H.P. electric motor using 110 volts.

Originally the entire unit was designed to be portable and came apart into five-foot base sections. The entire display was enclosed as you now see it and trailer mounted in 1972.

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I’ve visited a lot of parks and seen a lot of dioramas and animatronics, but I have never seen anything like this one! First, it is enormous, stretching the length of a trailer. You can’t possibly take it all in at once. The costuming details along with the characters’ strange pointed ears and the cartoonish features ensure that viewers can’t help but smile at them. The scenes are sometimes funny, sometimes gruesome, and sometimes politically incorrect. One vignette shows a tribe of native Americans dancing around a white cowboy tied to a pole with a sign reading “Injun Country. Paleface Keep Out By Order Sittin Bull”. Another scene shows a man with an arrow through his face (!) kicking his feet helplessly as he takes his final breath, and in another, a cowboy with a bloody mouth sits on the chest of an Indian while pistol whipping him in the face…Yes...pistol whipping him in the face.

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Still photos do not do it justice, as it is so amazing to see every minute detail of this artwork moving simultaneously. I strongly encourage you to stop by this park to see it for yourself.  There’s plenty more to see as well, so hop on your saddle and get there when they open up this May, cowpoke.

What In God’s Name? The Chapels of Kiddieland

One of the most unusual things you’ll begin to notice when you visit a lot of kiddie parks is the amount of churches you’ll find. When you think about an amusement park today, it is hard to imagine that something so blatantly religious could be an important part of a family’s vacation. Don’t forget, most of these parks were built in the 1950s at a time when the majority of Americans were practicing Christians that attended church every Sunday. In post-war America, the nation was prosperous, and the culture shifted to a more conservative set of values. Families moved out of small city homes and into large suburban ranches. Boomers saw the church as an important pillar of these newly developed suburban communities. It was a place for families to pray, but also to socialize with their neighbors. For parks, building a church was not just culturally appropriate, but it also made good business sense. At a time when families would spend weekend getaways visiting these new amusements, many still wanted a place to worship. This unique intersection between family fun and faith resulted in many kiddie parks having small chapels on their property.

It is in these small churches that families could gather to quietly pay respect to God and step away from the commotion and excitement outside. It is no surprise that many of these small structures are nestled away in quiet forests away from the park’s sensationalism. As parks grew, many are now surrounded by noisy rides and video games. You might walk right by them today without even realizing that they are churches. In fact, most people seem to do just that! Today we’re going to take a moment to peek inside the pews of these small houses of worship.

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At Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, NY, you’ll need to cross a foot bridge in the rolling hills to find this serene chapel with a bright red roof hiding between the trees. This is Saint Nicholas Chapel, and once inside you’ll find a simple rustic church with German influenced design.
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With a mood that differs from most of the whimsical music shows, a group of actors presents a live Nativity Pageant nearby daily.

 

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Story Book Land in NJ welcomes visitors to the “Chapel Of Peace”. This tiny church, The Chapel was built by 18-year-old Andrew Cresci as a gift to his parents Celestine and Augustus Cresci in 1885, and stood at their home in Vineland, NJ. Benediction was held in the chapel on the feast days of each saint until the family property was sold, and the chapel was moved to a cemetery in Union NJ where it fell into disrepair. It was later rescued by Story Book Land, who kept the interior and exterior intact, including the intricate stained glass windows made of sand.

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Nearby a ramshackle nativity is set up using mannequins with wigs, false beards and fabric clothing.

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At Santa’s Village in New Hampshire, an awe-inspiring church sits between the Sugar and Spice Bake shop and the  SS Peppermint Twist ride. A fantastically ornate interior surprises guests entering the rustic log structure. Contained within is an altar built in 1864 for the Cathedral of Manchester. Seven Bishops were consecrated in front of this impressive structure which was graciously given to Santa’s Village by All Saints’ Parish in Lancaster NH when the church was renovated.

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A young elf can be seen worshiping on this late 60s or early 70s postcard of the church.

 

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In what appears to a running theme, A fiberglass nativity is spread out in a wide area of the park, including the Three Wise Men traveling to the manger on camel back.

 

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Down an unassuming path, a short little building with a Queen Anne dome turret stands amongst the landscaping. In Storyland of Glenn, NH, a simple miniaturized church houses two small rows of single seat pews that lead up to fabric draped altar holding just an acrylic encased bible and a vase of fresh flowers. A token sign outside reminds visitors to finish their food and drink before entering the chapel. This is, after all, a house of the lord.

 

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Santa’s Land  inVT features one of the only open air areas of worship I’ve seen, and it happens to be hog sty adjacent. I suppose no other scene more accurately captures the feeling of the nativity stable than one with live pigs running around. A crazy-eyed goat seems tacked on and out-of-place amongst the more detailed figures. There are also pipe organs mounted above the entrance, which seemingly attach to nothing. They do give the whole area a “churchy” vibe though, so its nice to see that they are still being displayed!

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At Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA a simple Amish church is on the park property. Traditionally, the Amish do not include ornate or decorative elements in their building techniques, and this church is no exception. It resembles many of the larger churches found in the area, but this miniaturized one seats just 8 people!

 

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We have talked a lot about the Magic Forest on this site, and we often chuckle at some of the creepy statues that inhabit their grounds. I have to tell you that when I stepped inside this log building, I was genuinely shocked at what I found inside! Despite the run down exterior typical of this overgrown park, the inside of this rustic log church blew my mind. Log elements intersect with roman catholic elements like stained glass and a stone holy water font. From the woodsy carved altar and colored lightbulb chandeliers the design elements of this Catholic church come together to create an altogether surreal house of worship.

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You might think that park chapels are only for the wholesome family focused Santa parks and Fairy Tale Lands that popped up in the middle of the twentieth century, but there’s another kind of park that we’ve yet to scratch the surface on here at Kiddieland, Giddy up- it’s the Wild West Park! Once plentiful, there are only a few of these parks remaining. At Wild West City in Netcong, NJ actors recreate a day in the life of Dodge City, KS in the 1880s and while gunslinging cowboys fall off real horses and stage coaches drive by, there is a quiet escape from the shootouts on main street. Near the back of the park next to Boot Hill, a nondenominational chapel welcomes all. You can take a moment to quietly reflect while you mourn your fallen bandits at this historic house of the lord. Uncle Floyd is purportedly a fan of the chapel, as it features one modern convenience that was not available in the old west-air conditioning!

Although I’m not religious, I grew up in a town that boasted the claim of “America’s smallest chapel” which, as a fan of tourism, always attracted me, and I know this is where my fascination with tiny churches originated. As a small town teen (with no church affiliations), I remember going into the chapel with my brother and just taking in the strangeness of the place. Having grown up in a primarily Catholic area, we were accostomed to seeing ornate churches with giant steeples, and rituals we didn’t understand. This simple little place made no sense. We took rosary beads and signed the registry book even though we weren’t Catholic. My brother used to say that when he got married, he wanted to have his tiny wedding there, and coming from a very large family, we thought that was hilarious. I guess we pictured our 15 aunts and uncles and 50+ cousins crammed in the small pews. Now that I’ve been to some of these small churches, I’m not sure Decker’s Chapel can continue with their draw of “smallest church in America” (though they still claim to be!)Whether you are looking for a quiet escape from a noisy day at the park, or want a unique place to hold an intimate wedding, these small park chapels are another way that vintage attractions are keeping things weird.

Parks like Holiday World have even continued the tradition and recently transported a historic 1880s church to the park in 2012. At Knott’s Berry Farm, you can get married at the Chapel of Reflection and Snoopy can even attend your wedding, and late to the game Walt Disney World built their 300 seat nondenominational Wedding Pavillion  on the Seven Seas Lagoon in 1995 so that guests could have a fairy tale wedding with a “picturesque backdrop of Cinderella Castle”.

There’s something special about these small spaces. Whether they are built by families out of love for each other and their god, or because  that was all that was affordable for a tiny community, these humble churches are a unique testament to a time lost. Regardless of your religious affiliation, there’s something special about that.

Peace be with you.

 

What Big Eyes you Have!

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A barefood Red Riding Hood & Overall clad Wolf  from  the now defunct Never-Never Land in Hill Island, Ontario. (1967-1980)

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? You might be when you see some of these photos!

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In Ellicott City, MD a vintage postcard shows a living breathing Red Riding Hood on her walk near Grandma’s House at the now defunct Enchanted Forest.

Little Red Riding Hood is a classic European fairy tale that has been frightening children since the 10th century. In it, Red takes a walk through the woods to visit her sick grandmother, and take her some food. The simplicity of the story means that despite its age, it rarely deviates much in theme and language. There is always a little girl in a red hooded cape, a basket of food, and a big bad wolf disguised as grandmother in her bed. (The implication being that the wolf has already consumed dear old grandma as an appetizer and has stolen her nightgown.)

Red enters the house and launches into the memorable exchange with her grandmother:

What big eyes you have!
The Better to see you with, my dear

What big hands you have!
The Better to hold you with, my dear

What big teeth you have!
THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH MY DEAR!

Most parks wisely focus on the climax of this conversation and the best ones feature a terrified red riding hood and a scowling wolf.

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In What was formerly Storytown USA (now the Great Escape) Red Riding Hood and the Wolf  are found in Grandma’s filthy concrete bedroom. This 2007 photograph of the scene found on The Tourist Trap almost makes it appear as though Red won the battle! A victorious Red Riding hood stares at guests as a dead looking wolf lies nearby in bed like a hunting trophy. I don’t believe this display still existed when I visited a few years later.

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Over in New Hampshire at Story Land, We are warned by signs notifying us both of the path to Grandma’s house, as well as the wolf spotted in the bed. Red doesnt’ seem to frightened in this one, as Grandma Wolf pants happily. Their eye contact and expression sort of makes it seem like they are catching up after a few weeks away from one another! Maybe we have caught her in her last moments of innocence and she hasn’t yet realized that this is the wolf in disguise.

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Storybook Forest in Pennsylvania has signs that also warn of a wolf in the woods,. Another (bearing a wolf illustration) recommends that we take the high road. This sign reminded me of a cartoon, as I imagine that the wolf put it there himself in order to lead Red right to his big teeth! This scene is very effective, despite featuring no Red Riding Hood figure. I believe that the viewer is meant to play the role of Red here, which thrusts you right into the story. As you approach the door of the house, the wolf inside can be seen in bed with one eye open awaiting a delicious morsel!

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Holiday World’s (in Santa Claus, IL) is now known as a coaster destination, but it had its start as both a Santa park and a Kiddie park! Most of their vintage fairytale figures can be seen from the train ride, so of course this is where we found Red and the wolf hiding! This simple scene is also quite effective and features an innocent looking child who appears to be unaware of the sinister wolf lurking a few steps behind her. Though they abandoned the Grandmother disguise motif, I believe that the thoughtful positioning of these two figures convey the mean-spirited nature of this story more than some of the displays with stronger attention to detail.

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At the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, NY, a brightly colored house from 1956 contains this familiar scene with a smiling mannequin standing in for Red Riding Hood, while a scraggly wolf sits upright in Grandma’s nightgown and cap. The wolf’s neck is so thin, I sort of want him to get something to eat!

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Finally, my favorite Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf are busy  terrifying children in Egg Harbor, NJ at Story Book Land. The display is newer, but I think that works to its advantage. First, take a moment to appreciate the location of Grandma’s house. Once you walk through the woods, down a winding brick path to a somewhat remote cottage (by tiny kiddie park standards, anyway!) you could be lucky enough to be the only person at the window when these two figures begin to move…that’s right. They move! Audio-animatronic figures retell the story in frightening detail. The wolf blinks, opens his mouth, and grabs at Red Riding Hood with a growl before resetting to scare the next group of kids. This display either mesmerized or horrified children and parents were seen either dragging them toward it or away from it. That alone puts it high on our list!

So, what do you think? Are you afraid of the Big Bad Wolf now?

They’ve got the World by the Tail-The Enchanted Mermaids of Weeki Wachee

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Imagine a place
Serene, tranquil, and peaceful
Full of weightlessness
A world as old as time,  and as new as a dream.

Kiddieland is based out of the Philly area, so locals may have seen some billboards popping up in our area from Adventure Aquarium promising MERMAIDS this November. If you’re not already a fan of kitschy roadside attractions, you may not be aware of the rich history of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids (who will be gracing the aquarium with their first northeast tour date their 67 year history!) The mermaids hail from Weeki Wachee Springs in central FL, a national park /town that has affectionately been dubbed “Mermaid City” and their kitschy show has to be seen to be believed. In fact, I’m sure you’ve never seen anything else like it in your life.

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The mermaids have been swimming since 1947 when Newton Perry, a former Navy Seal saw a business opportunity and opened an underwater theater 6 feet into the limestone of the spring. After some experimentation, he invented a forced air breathing tube that could be dropped into the water allowing the mermaids to “breathe” underwater without the use of SCUBA equipment or air tanks. Now all he needed were some pretty girls! He scouted and trained girls to swim, breathe, smile, and even eat in this new underwater ballet. This was no easy feat considering the currents run at over 5 miles per hour. It takes a very athletic mermaid to stay perfectly in place in a 5 mile current, but they do it with grace and beauty.  The girls now go through a full year of training and are required to pass their “mermaid test” to become a mermaid! Since cars were sparse in the 1940s, the sirens were said to have lured roadside travelers to the attraction by running to the highway in their bathing suits! Needless to say, cars started stopping. Interest in the attraction grew greatly in the 1950s and 1960s and the area was eventually purchased by ABC who built the current theater-16 feet below the surface. Plenty of Movies and TV shows have been filmed there since, and the show was a worldwide sensation, even bringing in celebrities like Elvis Presley to see the mermaids in action. The full history is long and worth your time. You can check out more on the Weeki Wachee website.

We’re not like other women,
We don’t have to clean an oven
And we never will grow old,
We’ve got the world by the tail!

      -Lyrics from the Weeki Wachee Little Mermaid show

If it all sounds too good to be true, think again. The mermaids still swim today. Twice daily, live mermaids with bright tails and glittery tops dive into the deepest natural spring on earth to put on shows for eager families, usually with children (mostly little girls) in tow. I was lucky enough to catch them in June for both of their daily shows.

The day that I visited they put on “The Little Mermaid” (adapted from the Hans Christian Anderson story) and “Fish Tales” featuring segments from some of the best loved shows over the decades. Past shows have included Snow White, Alice in Waterland, Underwater Follies, We got to see the famous “eating and drinking” underwater act, which they still do in the Fish Tales show. The elaborate 1960s props and costumes speak to the popularity of the attraction at that time.

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I came across this treasure of a 1964 Super 8mm film of Alice in Waterland that still has my mind spinning.

You can see photos and video, but nothing compares to seeing these talented, strong, yet graceful mermaids (and mermen!) swim up to the glass in person. It is truly breathtaking and I’m not surprised to see that the show still brings in a crowd. Sure, at times the shows feels dated, but isn’t that what we’re here for? The music, the props, and the costumes are an amazing time capsule to a simpler time when a good idea and a little bit of money could lead to an empire worthy of network television and celebrity attention. This is the legacy of an entrepreneurial diver with a dream to make people believe in mermaids, and almost 70 years later, the gimmick still works. Every little girl in that place left with the dream of becoming a mermaid.

The kitschiest kookiest part of the modern show can be seen here with the mermaids performing their brassy theme song:

WeekiWachee1In other areas of the Weeki Wachee National Park, you can take a Riverboat Cruise, See the Wilderness show or visit the water park at Buccaneer Bay. You also won’t want to miss a stop by the Mold-A-Rama machines (A beloved retro treat for roadside kitsch fans like myself!) Unfortunately, one of the Mold-A-Rama machines was down when I visited, so if anyone makes it back, and can make me the green mermaid on the seahorse,  I will love you forever! The grounds are full of lush Florida greenery, and beautiful Grecian inspired  mermaid statues, and at times it is very serene. If it weren’t for the squawking of the peacocks, I imagine that this might be the kind of place I could visit often to be alone with my thoughts, sort of like that muffled perception you have of the world  when you are submerged in water, and you can’t hear anything above the surface.
WeekiWachee3I encourage you to visit for yourself and see the mermaids swim live.  The day filled me with a sense of deep history. You could feel it in the air, the memories of almost 7 decades in the bubbles of the deep water-days spent with family,  nostalgia for a simpler time, and enchanted magic under the water. If you don’t believe in mermaids now, once you step inside, you can’t deny it. Mermaids are real.