WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS
WATERPARK
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Home of The Weeki Wachee Mermaids

There is also a fabulous place where you can rent canoes if you feel like paddling your own way down the river for a more extended journey than is offered by the cruise. Stop by the Weeki Wachee Canoe Rental, located right behind the water park and see the river at your own pace from a canoe or kayak. Dave Lowerre and his partner, Peter Ruban, own the business. They have about 30 canoes and 11 kayaks for your enjoyment. They are friendly, helpful and will give give you a canoe lesson if you need it. We did.

It was the first time Jo Beth or I had ever gone canoeing. After a few minutes of instruction from Dave on how to paddle, my eyes glazed over and I was hoping Jo Beth was paying attention. Luckily she was; she sat in the back of the canoe and steered.(She's from West Virginia, so I think it's in her blood.)

It was weird getting comfortable enough in the canoe to relax (if you lean too much one way or the other, it's Capsize City). After a few minutes in the Abe Lincoln Memorial pose, I relaxed and things were fine. The stuff we saw on the way seemed surreal it was so beautiful. We saw the some of the same birds we had seen from our cruise, but we also saw turtles, a gator, egrets, ibis, cypress trees, and best of all manatees! It was the first time I had ever seen one so close. It swam right under our canoe. I though for sure we'd be swimming with those guys in about two seconds. But big as they are, they gracefully slipped under our canoe and peacefully swam alongside us, while I snapped pictures with my waterproof camera and we didn't capsize!

Our journey was from from the Weeki Wachee River to Roger's Park, covering approximately 8 miles of pristine scenery. About half way, we decided to dock our canoe and take a swim. The water is delicious; fresh, clean, and totally refreshing. (Yes, and at this point I would like to add, that the environmentally conscious people who love and want to preserve this spectacular part of the earth, either canoe or kayak down the river or use nonpolluting electric boats. A big fat SHAME ON YOU! to the people I saw polluting the water with their motor boats and jet skis! There should be a law against this! You would think people wouldn't be so ignorant as to use motor boats in such a fragile environment; but alas, ignorance lurks at every juncture.) The canoe ride from start to finish is at least three hours, more if you stop along the way.

At the end of the journey, Dave came to pick us up at Roger's Park and drove us back to Weeki Wachee. This service is provided for all renters. The canoe trip was one of the most awesome nature explorations I have ever been on and I highly recommend it. Call Dave or Peter at Weeki Wachee Canoe Rental, (352) 597-0360 or visit their website www.canoe-ww.com.


V
ery conveniently located, just across the street from the waterpark is Weeki Wachee Best Western Resort, the best place to stay when you're visiting. It's pet friendly, with expansive grounds, has a well-kept super clean swimming pool and on-premises laundry facilities for traveling families. We had a enjoyable stay there. Our room was large and comfortable and the continental breakfast served every morning, was delicious.

 

 

The resort has several room and ticket packages to Weeki Wachee Waterpark as well as SCUBA diving and golf at one of the areas five golf courses. There's also the Mermaid Lounge located on he premises where you can relax with a drink after a hard day at the waterpark. Call ahead for reservations and rates. The folks here are friendly and happy to help.

Weeki Wachee Best Western Resort, 6172 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL (352) 596-2007. Fax: (352) 596-0667. Or visit their website: www.weekiwachee.com/hotel.htm.

And last but not least, the best places in the immediate area to eat. For breakfast we choose Nellie's. Located just a "stone's throw" form the hotel, Nellie's offers good old fashioned country cooking at reasonable prices. Try the buttermilk pancakes or the Belgium waffle. Mmmm.. Also serving lunch and dinner.Casual atmosphere. Nellie's at Cortez (Hwy 50 and US 19), Spring Hill, FL, Tel: (352) 596-8321. Opens at 6:00 AM.

And for dinner...Truthfully, the best place I have EVER eaten bar-be-cue, The Pit Boss. My West Virginian traveling companion heartily agreed the food here was some of the best she's ever tasted. I got the bar-be-cued ribs, she got the pulled pork sandwich and we split an order of onion rings. The onion rings, can only be truly appreciated by tasting them—they are in a word, perfect. Just the right amount and consistency of beer batter; thick, but not too thick, and cooked to a medium golden brown. The crunch is right on the money. The hell with the diets, we inhaled. We actually ate here twice, it was so good. The following time, we both got fried catfish which proved to be just as satisfying; moist, plump and generously portioned. The accompanying cole slaw was fresh and the baked beans delectable. Although I really should never eat beans (poor Jo Beth).

If you can manage to stuff your gullet with desert afterwards, they offer homemade fudge pie or key lime pie.We couldn't move; but it looked good at the table next to us. Casual atmosphere. Don't miss this place!! Pit Boss Bar-B-Q, 2270 Commercial Way (US 19) Spring Hill, FL, Tel: (352) 688-BOSS (2677).

And so ends our sojourn to Weeki Wachee. I know I'll return someday to this magnificent part of the world, where fantasy is kept alive. But until then...in the words of the mermaids......glub....glub...glub.


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