The moment dozens of children caught of glimpse of Mermaid Nia hanging out at the Seguin Wave Pool on Sunday, the grin on their faces stretched from ear to ear.
Sisters Nana, 10, Kayla, 9, and Kamari, 9, Reed hustled to a shady spot under a tree on the hill, quickly put on their tails and headed up to where Mermaid Nia (Kayla Laurence) was sitting to posed for photos.
They were joined by several other children excited to visit with Mermaid Nia during her special visit to Seguin. Including Richard and Yara Perez’s children 11-year-old Grace, 10-year-old Reagan and 5-year-old Ryan.
“This morning today, Grace woke up and said, ‘Daddy, can we got to the wave pool today?’” Richard said. “Grace has been awake since 8 and they have been stoked to come out here.”
Richard’s daughters both said they liked mermaids and often pretend they are creatures of the deep, blue sea.
“Yesterday we were playing mermaids,” Reagan said.
After about an hour on dry land, with the help of her assistant, Mermaid Nia went for a swim in the wave pool with the children.
The moment she splashed down, a school of younger merfolk surrounded her — some wearing their own tails and fins.
The city of Seguin Parks and Recreation reeled in the mermaid as a way to offer more fun events at the wave pool, assistant director of Parks and Recreation Crystal Miranda said.
“We’re trying to do more at the pool, do more events for the kids and families,” she said. “We offered a free arts and crafts project — make your own shell necklace station. We probably had about 150-200 people come out. I think it went well.”
Miranda said she was impressed by the mermaid gear the swimmers brought out. She is also looking at ways to expand the event for Mermaid Nia’s next visit in a couple of weeks.
Laurence, who donned the tail and garb for her underwater persona, said she jumped into the mermaid world about two years ago just for fun.
In a short time, she found that her hobby became a business, something she hadn’t planned on.
“I got my first tail and someone asked if I did parties, and I said I would try,” she said. “It just kind of snowballed from there. I wasn’t doing it to start a business, but it kind of turned into it on the side. I do have a full-time job and I do this on the weekends.”
As much as she enjoys splashing around with her colorful tail living out a childhood dream, she also enjoys getting to interact with the children.
“Just the kids and their reactions is really fun,” she said. “If you catch them between the ages of 4 and 6, it’s the best. They don’t ask questions, they are just awed by everything and by you and it is really fun. It is a good time.”
Overall, Richard said he was thrilled the city invited Mermaid Nia out and offered something fun and different for his children to enjoy.
“I think this is great,” he said. “We can bring out the kids and let them have fun verses them just being on the phone or playing video games. They get to come outside, enjoy the fresh air that the Lord, Jesus Christ gives us.”