"In 1946, Newton Perry purchased Weeki Wachee. He hired and trained the `mermaids' to perform synchronized ballet moves underwater using hidden air hoses. The 18-seat theater opened in 1947. Weeki Wachee's heyday began in 1959, when the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) purchased the spring, built the current theater and developed themes for the shows. In the 1960s, girls came from as far away as Tokyo for tryouts to become a mermaid. They performed eight shows a day to sold-out crowds, entertaining nearly half a million people annually. Weeki Wachee Springs became a state park in November 2008. "
When the mermaids heard a car coming, they ran to the road in their bathing suits to beckon drivers into the parking lot, just like sirens of ancient lore lured sailors to their sides. Then they took to the spring to perform.
Due to the depth of Weeki Wachee Springs, the park was promoted as the mountain under water. Through the glass of the underwater theater, visitors were able to witness the magnificence that is the basin of this first magnitude spring. Its terrain resembled a mountain under the surface of the spring.
The early construction of the underwater theater in 1959. The underwater theater is still in use today as park visitors enjoy the mermaid shows in this 400-seat theater. It is the only theater of its kind in the world.
The completion of the underwater theater in 1960, adorned with the now famous clam shell roof, became a very well known site as visitors drove on U.S. 19. Drivers could easily see the mermaids on the roof, attracting visitors to the spring to see their show.