Weeki Wachee was given its name by the Seminole Indians and means "Little Spring" or "Winding River." In 1947, a stunt swimmer who trained navy frogman in World War II created a uniquely Florida tourist attraction at the spring featuring "mermaids" performing underwater stunts. The theater was carved right in to the surrounding limestone six feet below the water's surface. It had viewing windows so visitors could watch these Florida "mermaids" perform graceful acrobatics. They even learned how to eat bananas and drink from glass bottles while underwater!
When Weeki Wachee began, it was a very quiet place with few cars driving by. The "mermaids" would listen for cars and run to the side of the road in their bathing suits carrying signs beckoning cars to their parking lot. They would then run to the spring and give their performance. By the 1950's it had become one of America's top tourist destinations and had worldwide attention drawing "mermaids" from as far away as Tokyo!