A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.

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A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.
Mermaids performing underwater. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida is hiring mermaids for its underwater theatre.
  • Auditions are "rigorous and challenging," a state spokeswoman told Insider.
  • Weeki Wachee mermaids are required to swim in 72-degree waters, 16 feet below surface level.

If you're a strong swimmer who loves to entertain, you're in luck: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida is holding auditions for mermaids.

Or at least, performers who can convincingly play the role of mermaids.

The six successful candidates will swim in a 16-foot-deep natural spring, which is attached to a 500-seat theatre.

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It's a tough gig, though, according to officials. "Being a mermaid can be a glamorous job but it is also very demanding," said park spokeswoman Alexandra Kuchta.

"Our performers make it look easy, but the process is rigorous and challenging. It's common for performers to audition several times before they are hired."

A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.
A mermaid greets a park visitor. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

What skills are required?

Candidates who are at least 18 years of age must complete a swim test that involves swimming a 370-meter freestyle or breaststroke in less than 16 minutes, Kuchta said.

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The next step will be water auditions comprising underwater ballet manoeuvres, feet-first dives, and a buoyancy assessment.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has 19 underwater theater performers at present. They are "truly underwater athletes," Kuchta said.

On the job, they must maintain their buoyancy, hit their cues on time and look completely flawless to their audience - all while swimming in 72-degree water against a fairly strong current, she added.

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Mermaids also need to hold their breath for long periods of time. During the shows, they can discreetly take mouthfuls of air from slender breathing tubes while they perform, however.

A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.
Underwater performers use breathing tubes for air. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The tube technology was invented by Weeki Wachee's founding father, Newton Perry, a former frogman in the US Navy who trained SEALs to swim underwater in the second world war.

Perry designed a method of breathing underwater from a hose pipe supplying oxygen from an air compressor, rather than a tank strapped onto the back.

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This is how the concept of mermaid shows was born.

Weeki Wachee is steeped in tradition. The park's mermaid shows have entertained visitors for nearly 75 years.

Underwater shows include "The Little Mermaid," and a new addition called "Wonders of Weeki." The latter explores the park's colorful history, dating back to the 1900s.

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A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.
Weeki Wachee mermaids pictured during the 1960s. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

In the past, visitors have watched Weeki Wachee mermaids perform classic stories, including "Alice in Wonderland," "Snow White," "Peter Pan," and "The Wizard of Oz."

The park offered its first show on October 13, 1947. Since then, its underwater theatre has attracted celebrities including Elvis Presley, Edie Falco, and Jimmy Buffett, to name a few.

A Florida state park is holding auditions for mermaids. Here's what it takes to play the role of a mythical aquatic creature.
Water sports and activities are a big part of the park's attractions. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Other attractions at the park include wildlife animal shows, riverboat cruises, and kayaking at Buccaneer Bay.

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Park visitors may be able to spot blue herons, manatees, and even alligators at the site.

Kuchta said the park hires mermaids all year round. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said.

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