Musical Mermaids.

Musical Mermaids

Field review by the editors.

Ventura, California

Alec Benke knows that he sounds nuts, but he swears he heard mermaids talking when he worked as a sonar operator on a Soviet submarine. He later emigrated to California, going into business as a landscaping contractor.

One day he passed a salvage yard and saw several large bronze statues of... mermaids. Although the mermaids were expensive and elaborate -- with artistic detail worthy of a Las Vegas casino fountain -- Alec maxed out his credit card to buy two of them: one tooting a shell that resembled a flute-like trumpet, the other sawing on a finny cello.

Alec brought the mermaids home and put them in his back yard. His wife suggested that maybe he should put them somewhere else. Through luck and perseverance, he eventually did.

Both mermaids now stand 25 feet high, on pedestals built and decorated by Alec, flanking the entrance to Ventura Harbor. On the north side, the tooting mermaid went up in 2010, with a plaque designed by Alec that reads, "From Russia With Love." After securing permission from the Coastal Commission, the Ventura Arts Commission, and the City Council, Alec was finally able to erect the second, cello mermaid on the south side of the harbor entrance in April 2017.

Musical Mermaids

Marina Park

Address:
Pierpont Blvd, Ventura, CA
Directions:
Marina Park. US Hwy 101 exit 68. Drive west on S. Seaward Ave., then turn left at the stoplight onto Pierpont Blvd. Drive south until the street ends at the Marina Park parking lot. Walk south and west as far as you can to Soter's Point and the Flute Mermaid. To reach to Cello Mermaid on the other side, drive back north on Pierpont Blvd, turn right onto S. Seaward Ave., then right again onto E. Harbor Blvd. Drive south a little over a mile. Turn right at the stoplight onto Spinnaker Drive, and follow it a little over a mile until it ends. You'll see the Cello Mermaid ahead.
Hours:
Park open daily 8-7
Admission:
Free
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Dead Fishermen's MemorialDead Fishermen's Memorial, Ventura, CA - < 1 mi.
Public Art Bus StationPublic Art Bus Station, Ventura, CA - 2 mi.
Woolworth MuseumWoolworth Museum, Oxnard, CA - 6 mi.
In the region:
Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village, Simi Valley, CA - 32 mi.

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December 10, 2017

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