Offering Unique Education on Fragile Marine Habitats
As the leading interactive Aquarium Encounter experience in the Florida Keys, we strive to create a memorable adventure for everyone
Our Aquarium serves two main functions that contribute to the development of passionate marine conservationists.
First, our exclusive attractions and encounters utilize a hands-on approach to the introduction of the unique Florida Keys marine environment and the unique marine animals that inhabit it! Through the personal interaction with a variety of marine species, our visitors are able to cultivate a perspective of the ocean that extends beyond that which is normally taught in a classroom.
Second, our entire park is setup as an interactive learning center which serves to cultivate a better understanding of the conservation of the unique marine environment found in the fabulous Florida Keys. As barrier islands off of the Florida Coast, the Florida Keys serve as a boundary between the Gulf of Mexico to the North and the powerful Gulfstream and Caribbean Sea to the Southeast.
R3EACH Conservation Overview
Here at Aquarium Encounters, we believe strongly in conservation. Through our 501c3 charity organization, R3EACH, we are currently involved in three major conservation projects:
Coral reef restoration
Manatee rescue and rehabilitation
Great hammerhead research
The mission of our non-profit is to Research, Rescue, and Rehabilitate threatened and endangered wildlife on both land and in the sea while creating Awareness throughout our Communities; through Education, outreach, and interactive discovery of the importance of these creatures and the Habitats in which they live.
Our coral reef restoration project, in conjunction with Reef Renewal USA, has so far been successful in planting thousands of new corals on the local reefs this year. We now have two coral nurseries in the waters of the middle Keys, growing a carefully curated selection of corals for new outplanting. This would not be possible without a dedicated group of volunteers, and new volunteers are always welcome! Help is always needed to tend the coral trees, fragment corals and prepare them for planting, and participate in the outplanting of the prepared coral onto the reefs. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering.
Our manatee program has expanded to include rehabilitation as well as rescue. We currently have two juvenile manatees, Lil Peep and Maverick, rehabilitating at our facility. They are eating well and gaining weight, and release is currently being planned for spring of 2023.
May of this year saw the release of our first successful rehabilitation case, Heavy Falcon, back to the Space Coast where he was originally rescued.
We are deeply appreciative of community members whose generous donations have helped us enormously in our manatee rehabilitation work. To all who have donated towards these efforts, please accept our heartfelt thanks.
Another of R3EACH’s primary missions is research into the migrations, behavior, and life cycle of the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran). This species is currently listed as Critically Endangered under IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species due to their decreasing population trend worldwide, and IUCN places them at a high risk of extinction. Currently, little is known about these incredible creatures. Together with Grace Casselberry, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, we are tracking the movements of 17 individual great hammerhead sharks to learn where they spend their time in the Florida Keys and improve our understanding of their migratory patterns. In partnership with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Grace’s work will also help improve our understanding of predator-prey interactions between great hammerhead sharks and another iconic fish species in the Florida Keys, the Atlantic tarpon. This ongoing research project is a crucial step in improving our understanding of great hammerhead biology to improve conservation efforts for this endangered species.
If you are interested in helping with or donating to any of our conservation projects, please reach out to us at email@example.com.