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Dalton Discovery Center by Living Color

By Leonard Ho - Posted Feb 04, 2013 07:00 AM
Before Living Color became the Fish Tank Kings, they were frequent contributors to Advanced Aquarist sharing details about their professional public installations. They haven't forgotten their roots and sent us information and photos of one of their latest project: Multiple installations at the Dalton Discovery Center at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. And for those interested about FTK, the second season is tentatively scheduled to return this May on NatGeo Wild. The cast and crew promise a bigger, better sophomore season in response to what they learned in their first year on TV.
Dalton Discovery Center by Living Color

The artificial cypress trees and mud banks of the Everglades Restoration gallery

From Living Color:


The Dalton Discovery Center at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida opened in November 2012 and provides the opportunity for immersive and technology-rich learning, hands-on animal encounters and ways to take action to protect the region’s land, water and wildlife resources.  The Living Color team worked for over 6 months to complete this world class facility and built everything from the aquariums, reptile exhibits, artificial trees and vegetation to the filtration system and laboratory for the entire complex.

The center has seven galleries dedicated to Southwest Florida’s major ecosystems and displays approximately 100 animal species, including juvenile American alligators and tropical fish. The center takes visitors on a journey through Florida’s ecosystems without having to take five different field trips to visit uplands, mangroves, beaches, the ocean and the Everglades.

The Uplands Gallery is home to 4 snake species living in unique exhibits built into replica slash pines designed and built by the creative team at Living Color. Each snake enclosure is built around an artificial Slash Pine Tree and features hidden features like UV lights, water and drainage. An Everglades gallery displays baby alligators in a 10 ft long acrylic and fiberglass (FRP) aquarium. The exhibit is themed with our life-like artificial cypress trees and mud banks. The mangrove gallery consists of three large aquariums holding the species that rely on the mangroves for survival, including the secretive diamondback terrapin. Visitors get a hands on experience at the 25 ft long acrylic and FRP touch tank. The realistic artificial beach is built in durable epoxy and even includes a replica  sea turtle nest.

The Living Ocean Gallery is the center piece of the new facility. The 6000 gallon FRP and Acrylic Aquarium was designed and built Living Color and features native fish swimming around a fabricated reef. A juvenile loggerhead sea turtle swims curiously around the tank and will be released into wild upon reaching 24” in size. An advanced life support system filters the entire volume of the aquarium every 15 minutes while a central services plant sends both reverse osmosis water and synthetic seawater to location throughout the facility.

The Living Ocean Gallery

The main 6000 gallon Living Ocean aquarium features tropical animals native to Florida.
The main 6000 gallon Living Ocean aquarium features tropical animals native to Florida.

The touch tank invites visitors to interact with Florida's sealife.
The touch tank invites visitors to interact with Florida's sealife.

Here is a small portion of the Living Ocean Gallery's life support system.
Here is a small portion of the Living Ocean Gallery's life support system.

The Upland Gallery

Juvenile American alligators patrol these waters.
Juvenile American alligators patrol these waters.

Living Color creates replica Slash Pine trees for the snake exhibit.
Living Color creates replica Slash Pine trees for the snake exhibit.

Production Photos

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Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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