Over the last few years my family decided on our weekends to explore some State Parks around where we live in Florida. It was partly to give ourselves a little break from the theme parks (gasp!!), but also just to check out new places, get some fresh air, a little exercise and really just be able to spend some quality time together. As an added bonus, I found that many of the Florida State Parks have pressed penny machines which I of course collected. Here we are many months after these trips and I realized that I never shared them with you. There were quire a few to chose from but I wanted to share a pretty iconic spot and that is the Week Wachee Springs State Park.
This place is primarily know for it’s iconic mermaids, but let’s hold off on that nugget of info for a little bit. First let’s take a little walk around the property to see what all is here.
Just like many State Parks there were plenty of nature trails to hike, picnic pavilions to enjoy some lunch and a lot of open space just to just enjoy the great outdoors. This place however also has a pretty large water park on one side. There is a small fee to enter the State Park, and then an additional cost for the water park area. Since this was our first visit we opted to just stick with the main park and the mermaids..sorry, sorry I know we will get to them soon.
After walking some of the trails and enjoying our lunch we headed back towards the main entrance area where there was a pretty large gift shop. Just outside the main doors was where I found the pressed penny machine.
This was certainly a unique looking machine. I have used similar styles on other trips, but this pain color was definitely a choice. I was also surprised to see there was no marquee sign across the top showing off the available designs. Instead you kind of had to look at the small wheel just above the coin tray to see what you could get.
The side of the machine had some very pretty art work showing off the name of the park, and a few of its special residents.
The penny designs pressed very nicely which was a bit of a relief. I’ve had issues with this style of machine in the past. The designs showed off a few of the famous mermaids, and then a fearsome Pirate which is part of the local lore for the park.
Now it was time to check out the Mermaid show. There is a pretty large theatre that you really can’t miss. There are specific showtimes that are posted, and I would definitely recommend getting in line a bit early as they do fill up pretty quickly and you don’t want to miss out.
When you enter the theatre you will walk down some steps to find any available seat. I would say that ones towards the middle are your best option, but we sat along the one side and were able to see the show just fine.
Once the show starts the large curtains along the viewing window are drawn up and you can see that we are looking directly into the natural springs with our new mermaid friends.
The show goes on for about 20 minutes or so but it’s a lot of fun, and really impressive to see in person. There are plenty of mermaids putting on an underwater acrobatic show telling some history of the State Park mermaids and even includes a sea monster at one point.
They also do have some meet and greet times with the mermaids that is completely free to visitors. My daughters really enjoyed meeting a few of them, and they were so sweet and were not rushed away. This was a really fun trip to a classic Florida roadside attraction and beautiful State Park. We will definitely be back in the future, but until then we have quite a few more State Parks to visit so stay tuned and Keep on Pressing!