WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. (FOX 13) - Renovations are wrapping up at Weeki Wachee State Park as construction enters its final stages. But that's not the only thing changing at the iconic attraction.
Since November, crews have been renovating the mermaid theatre, sidewalks, and other areas of the park, forcing attractions like the mermaid show, the wildlife show, and the riverboat ride to close for months.
Park officials said the park, which has been a Florida favorite since 1947, needed a facelift, as well as safety upgrades.
The Newton Perry Underwater Mermaid Theatre is getting the most work done: new floors, better lighting, a new ceiling, and 400 new chairs. However, its old school charm will remain untouched.
"One of the things that we pride ourselves on, here at Weeki Wachee, is maintaining that historic old Florida feel, and that's something that we didn't want to go away," said John Athanason, spokesman for Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
Some of the park's sidewalks are getting repaved, and the footbridge located at the entrance will be replaced.
"It was time for it to have a whole new look itself," said Athanason.
Along with the renovations, the Weeki Wachee mermaids are learning a new skill.
"In the water and out of the water, we're hoping to communicate with sign language," said Amanda Luter, the mermaid manager, who added the importance of being able to connect with guests who are deaf or hearing impaired.
"I was very excited about it because a lot of times when people come to watch the mermaids, their dreams are coming true, and so you want everyone to be included in that," said mermaid Brielle D'Ascenzio.
All of the park's activities that were temporarily closed due to the renovations are expected to reopen April 19.