The Meraids Of Old Florida

Something For Everyone

Having worked in the tourism industry, I appreciate the efforts, both large and small, that roadside attractions, as well as major vacation destinations, place on entertaining the visitors who come to their locations as an escape from their work and school lives.  I’ve voyaged on multi-week spectacular escapes across five time zones (see The Bus To Wal-Mart from November 2013), and I’ve enjoyed an evening drive just to watch the Yellowstone River flow unobstructedly along its path.  I’ve volksmarched through the German countryside (see Volksmarching from February 2015) just for the chance to stretch my legs and snag a bier stein.  I’ve also rejected the opportunity to partake in the local versions of entertainment, because sometimes, I just want to relax and unwind, and not be entertained (see The Alaskan “Wilderness” from February 2020).

What’s truly delightful about this vast array of options always returns to one of the tritest tropes of tourism: there’s something for everyone.  I don’t particularly care for Las Vegas, but there are others who make the mirage in the desert a regular pilgrimage.  I’m not a fan of waiting in long lines for short rides, but those with small children make the effort to see their faces illuminate.  While I adore the views throughout Yosemite National Park (see Vapor Trails from December 2011), the throngs overwhelm me and I am content to see El Capitan of Texas rather than its namesake (see El Paso, El Paso from January 2013).  Find a place that you enjoy – better still, find a hundred of them – and see what makes each of them unique.

Thus It Had Been Written

For Christmas Break, we plan several various excursions throughout our home state, so we can still work a few days in between our local outings.  We cheat and fly to Key West and drive back to cut down on a long day spent driving (see A Little Bit of Something Is Better Than A Whole Lot of Nothing from August 2014).  We visit the Orlando Science Museum for a 3-D Imax showing of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, but we also play a game of chess with nearly life-size pieces to a king-only draw.  And just for kicks and giggles, Son #2 and I set aside a day to visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

I’m a fan of state parks – I’ve camped at them, I’ve hiked through them, and I’ve worked in them – but only at Weeki Wachee can you enjoy the entertainment of mermaids.  No other state park that I have visited includes actual mythical creatures performing fetes of diving prowess as well as storybook reenactments.  If you think this sounds cheesy, it absolutely is, but it is also great fun because it’s just silly enough and campy enough and small-town enough to be a way to escape from the work and school when you have just one day and you don’t want to be overwhelmed by massive theme parks and crowds.  It’s that low-end vibe that, as the PowerPoint presentation accompanying the water show boasts on screen, “The only city of live meraids [sic].”  Anywhere you travel, you can always find a place to relax, to unwind, to enjoy, and to be entertained, but in the old Florida tradition, you cannot always find the other M.

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