Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters gets national exposure
The citizens of Marathon are now well acquainted with the town’s newest attraction — Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. Now the rest of the nation will discover the aquarium’s special construction and reveal when the television show “Tanked” airs tonight on the Animal Planet channel.
The show, titled “Pipe Dreams,” airs on Friday, Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. (Comcast channel 54, U-verse channel 252.)
The television crew started filming the show in the Keys in December of 2013 and returned in July of 2014, just days before the facility opened. Through the miracle of video editing, viewers will be able to see the aquarium take shape in about 30 minutes.
“I’ve seen the rough cut of it and much of the hour focuses on the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and Marathon,” said Ben Daughtry, who co-owns the facility with Forrest Young. “It’s good exposure for our business and great exposure for Marathon, too. They show the city’s new lighthouse signs more than once.”
Daughtry and Young broke ground on the facility in June of 2012, although dredging of the property’s canals was already underway. It opened on July 1, 2014, featuring an impressive 200,000-gallon saltwater tank with a clear glass divider halving it — one side for divers, the other for marine predators and other big fish.
“Tanked” follows two brothers-in-law who co-own Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, a specialty tank builder located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The television stars helped install the specialized acrylic windows, as Daughtry and Young have collaborated on many previous projects with show’s stars. And if the television program infers a little more input into the tank’s design and construction … well, that’s show biz.
“It’s reality TV,” said Daughtry, shrugging his shoulders and smiling. “At the end of the day, it’s a great thing for our business and for Marathon as well. It will help put Marathon on the map as a place known for its marine education and conservation, and a great place to bring families.”
The show will air again on Saturday, Oct. 25 at midnight and on Friday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m.
Editor Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes small and weird children (she has two); prefers target practice with a zombie rat poster; and looks best with saltwater dreads. Occasionally she tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.