The Mermaids of Silverton Casino

The Legendary Las Vegas Mermaids

Legend has it that spotting a mermaid brings you luck for the rest of the day.

Las Vegas MermaidsAs luck would have it, the focal point of the Silverton Casino is an astonishing 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium with thousands of tropical fish, one hundred species of fish, four distinct species of sharks, five species of stingray and… yesa unique class of Las Vegas Mermaids.

The Silverton Aquarium is currently home to eight such mermaids, beautifully costumed to bring the mystical creatures of the deep to life Thursdays through Sundays.   Since the aquarium opened in 2004, the Silverton Mermaids have made more than 500,000 individual appearances.

Las Vegas MermaidsBecoming a mermaid requires a unique resume and countless hours spent in the water.   Although most Silverton Mermaids are certified divers, their special uniforms – seashell bikini tops and tails – are not attached to scuba tanks. Instead, the performers breathe from so-called “hookah ports” throughout the aquarium reef, taking in just enough air to greet passers-by before returning for more air.

Through the years, more than 20 mermaids have donned fins at Silverton.  An elite group, many former mermaids have been part of the UNLV synchronized swimming program, and even Cirque du Soleil performers.  One famous alum, Heather Carrasco, is best known as a gold medalist in the 1996 USA Olympic Swim Team.

The mermaids have been featured in the media over the years and they have even assisted with Project Mermaids, a non-profit organization helping to bring awareness to Save Our Beach Foundation.

 “People are always surprised to know that we have sting rays and sharks in the tank, and they’re also surprised to know that they’re very, very docile and very sweet and not dangerous whatsoever,” said mermaid Logan Halverson in a 2018 feature in the Las Vegas Review Journal.  “It’s fun and it’s really nice to be able to get in and kind of zone out of my everyday life. It’s very, very relaxing.”

“My favorite part of being a professional mermaid is seeing the faces of the children who visit and how they light up. This is real for them, this is their fairy tales comes to life. It’s such a heartwarming feeling to be that for them,” stated former mermaid Ari Luizzi, in a 2014 feature in Los Angeles Times.



  • Silverton Mermaids have made more than 500,000 individual appearances since the opening of the casino’s aquarium.
  • The Silverton Mermaids each spend about 15 minutes per swim, along with a safety diver. They are sometimes lowered into the tank on a special swing created for their grand arrival.
  • Mermaids prefer cooler water.  The water temperature in the Silverton Aquarium is kept at a balmy 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The tails and fins worn by the Silverton Mermaids each weigh about 3 pounds.
  • Las Vegas MermaidsSilverton’s Underwater Wedding package gives new meaning to the phrase “taking the plunge.” Couples who are certified in scuba diving can get hitched in the Silverton Aquarium. All the gear and, thankfully, a full safety team are provided. If couples want to wear traditional attire, a weighted man’s vest and bride’s veil are available. Vows are exchanged below the surface, and the bride has the option to be accompanied by mermaids instead of her bridesmaids. Underwater Wedding packages start at $3,000 (plus related fees) and include a one-night hotel stay along with an underwater ceremony rehearsal.
  • Wedding Ceremonies are also available in front of the aquarium, with a provided officiant and seating for up to 40 guests, starting at $700 (plus related fees).
  • For those who have dreamed of being a mermaid, Silverton’s Las Vegas Mermaid School provides an opportunity.  As part of the magical 90-minute experience, fans ages 7 and older (including adults!) are transformed into a famed Silverton Mermaid and swim in the casino’s 117,000-gallon aquarium, along with thousands of tropical fish and rays.
  • Las Vegas MermaidsDuring the holidays, the Silverton Mermaids share their habitat with holiday icons.  During previous years, appearances have been made by Santa Claus and The Grinch.  Thanks to a state-of-the-art underwater microphone system, kids are able to speak directly to Santa during his underwater dives.
  • In 2001, a Mermaid Convention (or MerCon, for short) was held at Silverton, attracting dozens of attendees who enjoy dressing as merfolk.  The convention was also the site of the first International Mermaid Pageant.
  • In 2015, Silverton hosted a special game of underwater poker inside the aquarium to promote the nonprofit organization Dive Alliance, which supports veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  With thousands of exotic fish swimming around, the poker players competed in a friendly game of poker, betting with poker chips made of clay so that they wouldn’t float. The dealer was a Silverton Mermaid, which provided an unforgettable experience for the veterans.  (Video:




New Las Vegas Mermaid School

What’s one of the most often asked question we receive?

“How can I be a mermaid?”

The Silverton mermaids — the mythical creatures that swim in our aquarium — have definitely put our resort on the map.  And why not?  Legend has it that spotting a mermaid would bring good luck to sailors.  We hear it also works for gamblers in our casino.

But how can a guest join the ranks of these amazing creatures?

mermaid school Las Vegas

As of this week, you now have an opportunity to put on some fins and become a mermaid yourself… for at least a morning!

The new Mermaid School for Adults (for ages 19 and older) and Mermaid School for Teens (for ages 13-18) gives you that opportunity.  These two new classes join Mermaid School for Kids (for ages 7-12), a program we launched in 2019.

Las Vegas Mermaid School

As part of the magical 90-minute Las Vegas Mermaid School experience, fans are transformed into a famed Silverton mermaid and swim in the casino’s 117,000-gallon aquarium, along with thousands of tropical fish and rays.

 Each session includes:

  • A mermaid “warm up” class
  • A Mermaid School photo op
  • A mermaid swim in the aquarium with a tail (sizes available up to XXXL)
  • A behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium and the sea life that lives within it
  • A voucher for a free post-class mimosa at a casino bar (for participants age 21+)
  • A voucher for a free post-class scoop of gelato at Sundance Grill  (for participants ages 19 or 20)
  • A voucher for 15 percent discount on breakfast or brunch at Sundance Grill
  • And, of course, the experience of a lifetime.

All equipment, including goggles, is provided.  Participants need only bring a swimsuit or towel.  Reservations must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. There is a minimum of two participants per class and a maximum of four.   Note:  this program is intended for participants who are strong swimmers. This is not a scuba program.  Mermaid tails are available up to size XXXL.

Las Vegas Mermaid School for Teens


Did you know?  Wearing fins and tails to swim is considered the actual sport of mermaiding? True story! wrote an article about it.

The Science Behind
the Silverton Aquarium

Our very own Mr. Science — Aquarium Curator Ryan Ross — plays a starring role in this summer’s PBS STEAM Camp, in a segment about the science behind the Silverton Aquarium.



The episode premieres Thursday June 9 at 2pm on Vegas PBS.  The episode can be viewed online here.

Science behind the Silverton Aquarium

Designed to support the educational needs of children in elementary school, Vegas PBS STEAM Camp brings the fun and discovery associated with camp directly into viewers’ homes.  Now in its third season, this Emmy Award-winning series continues to engage audiences through at-home STEAM challenges and science exploration in the Las Vegas community. 

It’s Shark Week!

Shark Week holds a very special place in our hearts. As you know, our Aquarium is one of the best free attractions in Las Vegas and we constantly add new fish and species to our ecosystem. Did you know that we have a few sharks, too? Our Aquarium, which holds over 117,000 gallons of water, is home to thousands of tropical fish. It’s also home to four different kinds of sharks. Sure, they’re not the large predatory kind that pops into your head when you think of sharks, but they’re a cute bunch! In honor of Shark Week, we’re introducing to you the sharks in our Aquarium.

White-spotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum)

White-Spotted Bamboo Shark

Found in the Pacific Ocean, this docile shark can grow up to three feet in length and can be found primarily near the Indo-West Pacific Ocean regions of Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan and the Philippines. Since they’re smaller sharks, they prefer living in shallow tropical reefs. Their slender bodies allow them to glide between coral branches and hide in the small crevices of reefs.

The white-spotted bamboo shark is also known as “cat sharks” because their nasal barbels look like cat whiskers. These “whiskers” help them locate food in the sand. In the ocean, their diet consists of shrimp, small fish, and crab. These nocturnal predators usually scour the sea bottom for food. In our Aquarium, our white-spotted bamboo sharks are fed shrimp, squid, smelt, and mackerel. We also have albino versions of this shark which lacks the brown coloration and are completely white. Watch our Aquatics team feed them below.


California Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci)

This California horn shark is a sluggish species with edges above the eyes and a pig-like snout and belongs to the bullhead shark family. They can grow up to three feet in length and are unique because of the small horn that grows right in front of their dorsal fins. These sluggish and nocturnal creatures hunt food closer to shore at night and return to their familiar resting place during the day.

California Horn Shark

These horn sharks are not considered a threat to humans because of their small size and teeth structure. They can live more than a decade and are usually fed shrimp, squid, smelt, and mackerel in our Aquarium. In the wild, they usually feed on shrimp, crab, sea urchins, and small fishes. Primarily found in warm-temperate waters, these sharks are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from central California to the Gulf of California. We’ve named our California horn shark, Bruce. Say hello to him near the bubble window at our Aquarium where he likes to rest during the day.

Japanese Leopard Shark (Triakis scyllium)

Leopard Shark

The Japanese leopard shark can grow up to five feet in length, which makes it the largest shark in our Aquarium. Their maximum lifespan is about 30 years but can live up to 20 years in captivity in aquariums. These shark “homebodies” usually remain in the same area for much of their lives and are most common in shallow water, usually following the tide onto mudflats to forage for food. They feed on animals that live in mud, like crabs, shrimp, octopuses and small fish. In our Aquarium, our leopard shark is usually fed shrimp, squid, smelt, mackerel.

These sharks can be found primarily in the northwest Pacific Ocean near shallow waters, but in our Aquarium they can be found swimming near the front of the coral and guests will usually see him at the 1:30 pm stingray feedings. Leopard sharks are the most common species of shark in San Francisco Bay. However, last year hundreds of leopard sharks were found dead in the San Francisco Bay. This mass mortality event could have been caused by meningitis because of a fungal bloom in the stagnant shallow water where they usually reside.


Coral Catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus)

Coral Catshark

The coral catshark can grow up to two feet in length, making it the smallest shark in our Aquarium. This shark derives its name from its cat-like eyes and slender body. Surprisingly, little is known about the biology of this specific catshark. Primarily found in the Indo-West Pacific from Pakistan to New Guinea, the coral catshark thrives in coral reefs, living in crevices and holes in the reef. Our shark likes to hide in the corals and rockwork as well!

In the ocean, this shark feeds off small, bottom-living invertebrates and bony fishes. In our Aquarium, it is fed shrimp, squid, smelt, and mackerel. Despite its small size, these sharks are semi-aggressive and active swimmers, spending much of their time in caves and crevices. The coral catshark is recognized as one of the best species of shark for a home aquarium.


Shark Eggs in our Aquarium

Here’s a white-spotted bamboo shark egg. Our albino and spotted bamboo sharks have been mating in our Aquarium and have laid eggs. The female will lay her eggs in the Aquarium and our staff usually find them wrapped around coral pieces. The juvenile will hatch at about 14 to 15 weeks and be around six inches. Since we also have albino bamboo sharks in our Aquarium, it’ll be a surprise for us to see if the hatchling will be standard coloration or also albino.

Watch as the baby shark wriggles inside the egg below.


Visit our Aquarium for free mermaid shows and our daily stingray feedings. If you spot one of our sharks, don’t be afraid to wave hello.