TV reporter joins mermaids during NC aquarium appearance


WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Have you ever wondered if flipping some fins will get you far? For Kourtney Ellinghuysen and her mermaid siren sisters it has. The world-famous Weeki Wachee mermaids have returned to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher for one final weekend.

The siren sisters perform at aquariums all across the country and back at their home spring to entertain guests from across the globe using a breathing tube.

For the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, it’s not all about flips and tricks. It’s hard work requiring months, even years, of training to go through the audition process.

“You go through a swim test. It’s 400 yards in 16 minutes so that’s four football fields and you’re swimming with and against the currents,” Ellinghuysen explained.

Ellinghuysen said her favorite part about visiting the aquariums is being able to interact with the kids. It was all smiles and amazement as the boys and girls visited the mermaids between shows asking them questions and taking pictures.

WECT was invited behind the scenes to learn about what it takes to be a mermaid, how they prepare for shows, and a special message they want you to take home.

“Save my friends. I love my sea turtles and my sharks and jellyfish, all my ocean friends,” Ellinghuysen said. “So if I could send one message, just an easy message, stop using plastic…single use plastic. Stop using single-use straws.”

After a mermaid makeover, Ellinghuysen shared some of her magic with WECT’s Kellie McGlynn who traded land legs for a tail.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.

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