Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
April 8, 2011
In what may be the oddest family attraction in Sin City, the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, is employing mermaids to swim in its 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium of tropical fish.
The casino’s Mermaid Lounge, an adults-only bar and throwback to an earlier time, has a big window that looks into the aquarium. But an even bigger window is on the other side, in a public space outside the casino and just down a hall from the Bass Pro Shops display of dead animals. It’s proven to be a popular spot with families, and the casino has obliged by scheduling daily feeding shows and mermaid visiting hours several days a week.
“They’ve gotta be scuba certified and able to move gracefully under water, that’s a big plus,” said Jerry Cowley, the casino’s Aquatics Safety Manager and unofficial mermaid wrangler. Jerry looks for mermaids with synchronized swimming experience (“They’ve already got that grace ingrained.”) who can be comfortable in a tank filled with over 4,000 fish, stingrays, and three species of sharks.
Individual mermaids hang out at the family window four days a week, during three shifts spaced with rest breaks. Kids get the chance to give high-fives through the glass or blow kisses or play peekaboo; adults can admire the mermaid’s underwater back flips or ability to spin in a cocoon of bubbles.
The underwater ladies have been such a hit that Silverton may expand the aquarium’s repertoire. An experimental appearance by subaqueous Santa and elves proved popular over the holidays, so Jerry said that he’s investigating the potential of bringing nutty skits into the tank, similar to the shows at Weeki Wachee in Florida but performed by humans without tails. “Other aquariums used to make fun of us because we had mermaids,” Jerry said. He implied that Silverton is the one who’s laughing now.
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Kid-Friendly Mermaids in a Casino
- 3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas, NV
- At the Silverton Casino Hotel on the south end of the city. I-15 exit 33, drive west on Blue Diamond Rd, then turn left at the first stoplight. The casino will be on the left; the mermaid viewing window is just inside the front entrance with the waterfalls.
- Th-Sa various times between 2:15 and 9:00 pm; Su between 11:30 am and 6:30 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
- RA Rates:
- Major Fun
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