By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 31, 2023 at 10:01 AM

Mermaid Echo, a popular event for families in which a live mermaid swims in the Reiman Aquarium tank at Discovery World is back.

The event takes place Saturday, Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and is suitable for all ages.

The mermaid – who is actually a 20-something UW-Madison grad named Claire VanValkenburg – has performed at Discovery World at the lakefront in the past.

VanValkenburg is a science communicator who since 2016 has used Mermaid Echo as a means for connecting with children about aquatic ecology.

According to Discovery World, kids (and adults) can, "Watch as she swims with her underwater friends, take photos with her, and enjoy one-on-one interaction with a real mermaid."

Space in the aquarium is limited, so spots are first come first serve.

Learn more about Mermaid Echo here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.