World Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids Set to Return to Ripley’s Aquarium in July

Finned beauties to prove that mermaids are more than just figments of fantasy and imagination as they perform 12 shows, July 23-25

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (July 7, 2010) – Following 12 commanding performances at Ripley’s Aquarium last summer, the world famous mermaids of Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, known for their grace and beauty for the past 63 years, will be returning to Myrtle Beach once again later this month.

You’ll see mermaids as you have never seen them before – live and in front of you!

The finned beauties will grace the aquarium’s waters for 12 shows, July 23-25, 2010. Free with admission to the aquarium, it was standing-room only for last summer’s critically acclaimed performances. “Reservations for the shows are not offered. My advice is to arrive early in order to secure the best view.” noted Peter MacIntyre, the aquarium’s GM.

The mermaids will perform each day at 12, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. and will be available to meet and greet guests following each show in the shallows of Friendship Flats. The stage at Ripley’s Aquarium will be Ray Bay, a 15 foot deep, 85,000 gallon saltwater tank, populated with sharks and stingrays.

Special photo opportunities and several interactive programs will be offered in conjunction with the mermaid’s visit, including a “Mermaid Splash,” where guests can join a mermaid in the water and splash, pet and frolic with the friendly stingrays. Availability for these interactive programs is limited and reservations are required. For further information about the interactive mermaid programs contact Mary Clark at 843-916-0888, extension 3226.

This year, the popular and enchanting mermaids Daniella Demonaco, Shannon Tooker and Ashley Beadleson will be traveling to Myrtle Beach from their home waters at Weeki Wachee to swim among the sharks and rays.

“We are absolutely delighted the girls are coming back,” said MacIntyre. “For the past two summers, their shows have been very well received by our guests. Watching their underwater ballet is truly a joy. It’s something you can’t see just anywhere.”

A Brief History of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, also called The City of Live Mermaids is truly an original piece of Florida’s rich heritage and one of the state’s earliest roadside attractions.

The Weeki Wachee Springs underwater theater opened on Oct. 13, 1947. The mermaids performed synchronized ballet moves 20 feet underwater while breathing through special air hoses hidden in the scenery.

In the 1950s, Weeki Wachee, located north of Tampa on Florida’s west coast, was one of the nation’s most popular tourist stops. The attraction received worldwide acclaim and several movies were filmed at the spring.

Weeki Wachee’s heyday began in 1959, when the spring was purchased by the American Broadcasting Co. (ABC) and was heavily promoted. The ABC creative team developed themes for the underwater shows, with elaborate props, lifts, music, and story lines.

In the 1960s, the glamorous mermaids performed eight shows a day to sold out crowds – as many as half a million people a year came to see them. The mermaids were treated like royalty wherever they appeared in Florida and stars of those days, including Elvis, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, and Arthur Godfrey, stopped by to see them perform live.

Today, tiny Weeki Wachee is one of the nation’s smallest cities, with a population of nine, including its mayor, Robyn Anderson, a former mermaid. It is also a Florida State Park.

About Ripley’s Aquarium

The world class Ripley’s Aquarium ( is part of the Ripley Entertainment family of worldwide entertainment facilities including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, a second world class aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tenn.  More than 13 million people visit Ripley’s 80-plus attractions in 11 countries each year.  Ripley Entertainment Inc. is a division of the Jim Pattison Group, the third largest privately held company in Canada

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Media Contact:

Jessica Mula

Ripley’s Aquarium

(800) 734-8888

Tim O’Brien, VP Communications

Ripley Entertainment Inc.

(615) 646-7465 – office

(615) 496-5949 – cell