MILTON, Wis. - For two hours Saturday, a group of girls transformed into mermaids, complete with their very own brightly colored tails.
“We put on mermaid tails, and we pretended like we were mermaids,” 9-year-old Julia Schultz said. “It was really fun.”
Kelly Whitney, also known as Mermaid Kelly, started Flippers Mermaid School after taking a mermaid certification class in North Carolina with her 11-year-old daughter last year.
“We found that there’s no mermaid schools in this area, so we just wanted to start it for all the kids here and bring it to Wisconsin,” Whitney said.
Her first class was Feb. 26 at the Milton High School pool and Whitney said it’s been a hit so far.
“It’s awesome to see the imagination come alive. The kids just get so into it, and they believe that they’re mermaids,” she said. “To see them exercise and have fun and just live out a dream for a little bit is magical.”
Each class is two hours long and has around 7-8 participants. Whitney said she starts with a swim test and then goes through a safety check.
“It’s all about safety of the tail,” she said. “How to float on your back if you need a break, how to put the fins on, the tails on and off, and then just play around and have fun.”
The girls had a blast as they splashed around with their fins.
“We jumped through a hula hoop,” 8-year-old Allison Kojo said. “We did somersaults, races, we played games and we tried to do handstands.”
Her older sister, Lauren, also took the class with her.
“It was really fun,” Lauren said. "You were with all your friends, dressed up like a mermaid, and you’re swimming around in a pool and have so much fun.”
Ten-year-old Olivia Larson became a mermaid with a green tail, her favorite color. She said the best part was trying on the mermaid tail and meeting new people.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it would probably be a 10,” she said.
Whitney said her dream would be to offer the class at other pools around the area, and she’s looking forward to adding more classes in the summer at outdoor pools.
The next mermaid classes are scheduled for April 29 from noon-2 p.m., April 30 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. or 2-4 p.m., and May 6 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. or 2-4 p.m. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found on Flippers Mermaid School’s Facebook page.
The class is $30 per mermaid, and Whitney provides tails for each participant to wear during the class. Mermaids can also buy their own tails to keep practicing the skills they learned.
Whitney said she also hosts private parties for birthdays or other occasions. The class is open to anyone age 7 and up.