Mermaids are the new princesses for girls of a certain age. Now anyone can realize their fantasy of learning to swim like one — from coast to coast and beyond. Tails are included as instructors lead children and grownups through underwater adventures sure to create a lasting memory.
"The attraction of swimming with a mermaid tail is the opportunity to do what so many young girls dream of," Joe O'Rourke, owner of Florida's Mermaid Academy says. He offers mermaid swims at 14 resorts in the Orlando area.
"They have dreamt about, read about and watched videos for years about mythical mermaids, and just to be able to swim like one sends kids over the top," he says.
But it's not just youngsters who are queuing up to don a tail and slide into a pool.
"Mermaid Fitness at The Del is an instructor-led 45-minute fusion of swimming, core, cardio and strength training set to upbeat music," a news release says. It's primarily for grownups, but children 12 to 17 may participate if accompanied by an adult.
Classes priced at $20 start 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and will continue until the weather cools down. A spokeswoman said the sessions were sold out all summer.
The mermaid trend extends to Hawaii, where a Maui water sports company recently launched Hawaii Mermaid Adventures in the ocean off Makena.
Since they're swimming in the sea and will want to explore their surroundings, participants are equipped with masks and snorkels in addition to fins. Guests are also to take off the snorkels and masks for photo opps. And the fins, I'm told, are unisex for any "mermen" wannabees.
The 90-minute swim costs $199 for one person and $139 each for two or more guests. Photos on the beach and under the sea are included.
Back in Florida, a $55 package includes the swim plus photos and a T-shirt. The swim alone costs $25.
"Our mermaid instructors teach participants how to put on a tail, how to use it, and lead the participants through games that include treasure diving and swimming through hoops," O'Rourke says.