The Silverton Aquarium boasts a unique feature among Las Vegas attractions: mermaids. These mystical creatures are intricately costumed and appear throughout the 117,000-gallon saltwater tank alongside sharks, stingrays and other tropical fish. Less than 25 mermaids have graced the tank over the years, with various members being part of the UNLV synchronized swimming program, performers with Cirque du Soleil and even a USA Olympic gold medalist (Heather Carrasco).
Living the Mermaid Life at Silverton Casino
Since the aquarium’s opening in 2004, the Silverton Mermaids have made over 500,000 individual appearances for visitors. Gaining the coveted position requires unique qualifications, countless water-hours logged (no pun intended), and in many cases, a diver certification comes in handy. A quick look at the swimmers shows that none of them are wearing scuba equipment, and no wires or tubes are attached to their shells or tails. Breathing is achieved via “hookah ports” throughout the aquarium, which gives them enough air to interact with visitors.
If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming a mermaid—even for just a day—you’re in luck. The Mermaid School at Silverton Casino allows visitors to step inside the Silverton Aquarium and become a mermaid. We were invited in to check out the Mermaid School for ourselves and experience what guests can enjoy as they step into their tails. “The number one question our guests ask is “how can I be a mermaid?” Aquarium Curator Ryan Ross told us. “We created Mermaid School as an extraordinary experience for fans to don a fin and swim in the aquarium along with the fish. In addition, participants visit the quarantine areas and meet several underwater species up close.” The aquarium features a two-level section that few ever get to see.
Students don’t need any kind of certification to participate and are fully supervised. “Everyone involved in Mermaid School is CPR/AED/First aid certified,” Ross explained. “Participants are placed in small groups with a mermaid performer who walks them through the process. They remain with them as they swim in the aquarium. In addition, one of our certified safety divers is in the aquarium the entire time.”
Various classes are available depending on age group. “We see interest from all ages, especially now that we have started a class specifically for adults and teens,” Ross said of the classes. “Up until this month, the class was only available for children ages 7-11. We find this group to be very eager to get in the water and (finally!) realize their dreams of becoming a mermaid.” The 90-minute experience is both fun and educational, with plenty of photo opportunities mixed in throughout the class. Next time you visit the Silverton Aquarium, be sure to keep an eye out for these unique performers bringing a bit of magic to the underwater world.