Mermaids at MOA

As soon as we arrived at Sea Life, Maria began wondering if we would spot any mermaids. I told her that such an occurrence was unheard of at the Mall of America, but we'd keep our eyes open.

Jane was thrilled to find Nemo (and many of his brethren). 

Half way through our tour of Sea Life, we entered the Rainbow Reef -- an aquarium tunnel wrapping all around us -- and Maria soon spotted a REAL MERMAID. She beamed and waved. 

I've blogged before about my daughters' penchant for mermaids, including the birthday party where a mermaid made a surprise appearance. Typically our one chance a year to see mermaids comes through the RenFest's mermaid cove

The coolest way to experience a mermaid is in the water, where the finned beauties look the most realistic. What made this Sea Life experience unlike any we've had before was that the mermaid was deep in the water, swimming amongst fish and turtles. She playfully interacted with the fish that swam up against her body. 

Here she is reacting, wide eyed, to a fish that had darted right in front of her.

She had plenty of time between inhales on her breathing tube to entertain the kids. 

She put on quite the show. 

The rest of the tour was great, including many sharks swimming overhead. 

Ever since watching Flounder and Ariel's scuttle with a shark, the girls have mused about the peril sharks pose to mermaids, so the chance to see them in close quarters proved fascinating, sparking lots of speculation and discussion afterwards. 

After making our way through Sea Life, we headed to a roped off area just past the jellyfish to wait in line for the mermaid meet-and-greet beginning at 2 pm. It started a little late, but while we waited, an employee let the girls try on kid-sized mermaid tails. 

Mermaid Esmeralda arrived via sea turtle. 

She was perched on a bench, where each group could come meet her. Most kids sat beside her, dazed, and smiled for a quick picture before heading out.

Despite the fast clip from group to group, Esmeralda was very patient if your child wanted to interact a bit more or ask questions, which she ably fielded. 

It was obvious that the highlight of her day was meeting this handsome little fella. #canyoublameher

Here we all are, the mermaid chasers. 

What a vibrant way to deepen the kids' sense of wonder! 

That evening Maria told me, "Usually when I close my eyes, I just see black. But now I see a mermaid tail." 




The details

Mermaids are making a guest appearance at Sea Life for three weeks this summer -- Thursday through Sunday each week.

This coming week is their final one: Thursday, Aug. 2-Sunday, Aug. 5.

  • The mermaids perform underwater twice a day: from 11 am-1:30 pm and again from 3-4:30 pm. 
  • They do two meet-and-greets a day: from 10:30 am-12:30 pm and again from 2-4 pm. 
  • There is no extra charge to see the mermaids perform or participate in a meet-and-greet. It is a limited-time bonus for those who pay the general admission, which costs $16 per child (3-12) when purchased online or $17.49 when purchased at the mall. Children under 3 are free. Tickets for adults cost $20 online and $24.49 at the mall. 



Thanks to Sea Life for providing complimentary tickets for our review and photography! 


 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at