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Mermaids Are Real: Where to See Them in Myrtle Beach

This just in: Mermaids are real. At least they're real in Myrtle Beach, where you can meet them and watch them perform at various locations around the Grand Strand. If your children are fascinated with these mythical creatures and would love to take home a photo of their up-close-and-personal encounter, here are five places to give them the full mermaid experience during your Myrtle Beach vacation:

* Mermaid Party: Everyone loves a pool party, especially if a “real life” mermaid is the guest of honor.  Hire a mermaid princess to host meet-and-greet gatherings for youngsters in the kiddie pool for a splashing good time, and snap a few shots of your little ones dressed as actual mermaids. For those who prefer a meeting on dry land, there are several boutiques that hold mermaid/princess dress-up parties, like Sparkles at Broadway at the Beach and Whimsy and Wonder at Market Common.

* Mermaid School: Mermaids might not swim in schools, but they do provide classes for young, aspiring mermaids. Captain Jack's Mermaid School provides one-hour mermaid lessons to kids ages 5 through 12, including the chance to take a tail for a test swim in the kiddie pool and interaction with a "real life" mermaid princess. Participants play mermaid games and take photos with their mermaid mentor for a magical and memorable experience.

* Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show: Pirates are the headliner of this family-friendly dinner theater, but the mermaids steal the show. Amid all the firing of cannons, sword-fighting, rope-swinging and theatrics of the pirates, the mermaids perform dazzling dives and dances on the water, which serves as the main stage. This high-seas adventure also includes live animal acts, like sea lions and tropical birds. The dinner menu features pirate-themed items that are kid-friendly and come with a souvenir mug, and patrons can meet the cast and crew after the show for photos and autographs. Be sure to check the coupon rack in the Caribbean’s lobby for discount coupons and other specials.

* Ripley's Aquarium: Seeing is believing, and the Ray Bay Mermaid Show will make believers out of young and old. Featuring eight shows daily, Ripley's Aquarium holds 30-minute mermaid shows that are set to music and feature "real-life" mermaids swimming in Ray Bay among the many sharks and stingrays. Watch the mermaids gracefully perform underwater acrobatics, and snap plenty of pictures for evidence. You and your crew might not believe your eyes. The shows are included with aquarium admission, which includes full access to all the amazing aquatic exhibits at the Broadway at the Beach attraction. The Fancy Fins Boutique offers little ones the chance to dress up like mermaids and pirates, and mermaid-themed birthday-party packages are available.

* Seafood Buffets: Most Myrtle Beach visitors don't need much incentive to go to one of the many area seafood buffets, but there are a couple of these restaurants that go the extra mile to make the little ones happy with live character actors. The Seafood House in Surfside Beach is known for featuring a "real-life" mermaid who greets the kids and poses for pictures. Pirates and parrots are also part of the sideshow, but the main draw is the expansive buffet filled with famous Myrtle Beach seafood. Enjoy shrimp, crab legs, oysters and more, and kids' favorites and landlubber grub are also part of the spread.

To make your child’s mermaid experience complete, stay and play at the Caribbean Resort & Villas on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront, where your children can frolic in the surf and swim in our many water attractions just like a real mermaid. We look forward to welcoming you and your little mermaids to our resort.