In the Media

The Memorial Reef™, a unique memorial site inspired by the Lost City of Atlantis, has many admirers. Read on for print and video news items from sources as diverse as National Geographic and French TV program Thalassa highlighting this green burial alternative.

The Neptune Memorial Reef: a reef where you can stay forever

America’s Neptune Society is known as a reputable cremation provider for when those dear to us pass away. Since 2007, however, customers have also had the option of having their ashes scattered on the seabed — on an artificial reef.

Also known as the Atlantis Reef, it is situated 5.2 km (3.25 miles) off the coast of Florida, at Key Biscayne. Designed to be a haven for marine wildlife, opportune location for divers and of, course, an underwater memorial cemetery or mausoleum it is safe to say that the reef has many jobs to fulfil.

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Sleep With the Fishes at the Neptune Memorial Reef

A few miles east of Miami lies an underwater city. A pair of lions guard its entrance columns, which guard stone roads, soaring gates, and crumbling ruins. Did an ancient civilization once live here? No. The “city” is a cemetery, and it was built in 2007.

Conceived as a living reef and modeled after the lost city of Atlantis, the Neptune Memorial Reef was created by cremation-services provider the Neptune Society. Anyone wishing to bury their loved one at the city can hand over the cremated remains—in person or by mail—to be mixed with cement and sand, poured into a shell- or starfish-shaped mold, and added to the reef. Family members are welcome to participate in the process, either by scuba diving or watching from a boat above. Post-burial, they may visit the reef at any time for free.

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Diving with the Dead

Welcome to Neptune Memorial Reef™; it’s unlike any other dive site. At 60 feet below the surface, spanning a quarter of an acre, the underwater city inspired by the mythological city of Atlantis, comes to life.

Massive sculptures and statues are surrounded by 44 columns, and scattered around the heart of this sacred place are 200 plots housing cremated remains of those who choose this as their final resting place.

“There’s not anything in the world like it,” said Drew Johnston, a dive captain.

video by Miami’s FOX affiliate WFLX with article by Rachel Leigh

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Radical Reefs

The residents of the underwater cemetery Neptune Memorial Reef™ literally sleep with the fishes. Located on the ocean floor off the coast of Miami, columns and arches surround an eerie collection of sculptures.

Photography by David Doubilet from Reader’s Digest Magazine

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Florida's Exclusive Underwater Burial Ground

The closest thing to the Lost City of Atlantis may be located three miles off the coast of south Florida. Forty feet below the surface is a man-made, pristine reef where, several times a month, divers come to deposit stone urns containing ashes of the recently departed.

article by Les Coleman, Public News Service – FL

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An Underwater Cemetery off the Coast of Florida

This blog about Southern Graves shares:

Today, the reef resembles the lost City of Atlantis with its gates, giant lions and columns. Eventually, it should cover 16 acres with room for 125,000 “placements,” says Jim Hutslar, who manages the reef’s construction.

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Neptune Memorial Reef™ Monitoring Report

This monitoring report, prepared by Brittany Huntington at the University of Miami, shows that the Memorial Reef™ is developing at a faster than expected pace, offering an ecosystem for species not expected for years, if ever.

Key species of the Florida coral reef community were observed at the Neptune Memorial Reef™ including predatory barracudas, scleractinian corals, the keystone grazing urchin Diadema antillarium as well as rainbow parrotfish, and the presence of transitory megafauna such as a large green sea turtle were observed…

In addition, some of the nearly extirpated functional groups that were far more common in the Caribbean decades ago were noted at Neptune Memorial Reef™, like large Rainbow Parrotfish.

Neptune Society Memorial Reef™ videos

Nine Neptune Memorial Reef™ videos offer a look at this extraordinary creation.

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Miami Dive Sites

The Neptune Memorial Reef™ is an incredible piece of planning and execution resulting in the largest artificial man made reef ever. Set up as an amazing rest place for the departed this living reef is now full of marine life and continues to enhance the local environment. Cremation and placement in the reef is pollution free and whilst reducing the need for burial land around Miami it provides an expanding home for marine life.

Florida scuba diving blog

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Facebook Page for Neptune Memorial Reef™

Join us on facebook for updates on the Reef.

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Dive the Neptune Memorial Reef™

The term ‘Burials at sea’ have taken on a brand new meaning in Miami, Florida. The Neptune Memorial Reef™ is not your average cemetery, but the first of its kind underwater cemetery.

from Aquaviews, the online SCUBA publication of LeisurePro 

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Extreme Burial

Key Biscayne is Miami’s small island paradise just off Florida’s coast. It’s also home to the only underwater cemetery in the world. Forget 6 feet under, at Neptune Memorial Reef™, the ashes of loved ones are laid to rest 45 feet below the ocean’s surface.

Accompanying video from the Travel Channel available here:

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French TV program Thalassa highlights the Neptune Memorial Reef™

13 minute video from Miami Beach highlighting the process of adding to the Neptune Memorial Reef™. French over English.

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National Geographic Sells Memorial Reef™ Images

In this photo, sold in National Geographic’s online print store, tomtate grunts and yellowtail snapper swim through Neptune Memorial Reef™, an underwater cemetery with decorative arches and columns installed on the ocean floor off Miami Beach. The cremated remains of about 200 people have been mixed with cement and molded into memorial sculptures.

Artificial Reefs Featured in National Geographic

Artificial reefs aren’t just the final resting places of tires and ships. Several companies have arisen to serve people who have the desire to become artificial reefs themselves, but reef burials are still a microscopic niche market of the funeral industry. Jim Hutslar, one of three partners behind Neptune Memorial Reef™, invited me to accompany him one spring morning on a maintenance run to the underwater cemetery he’s constructed in 40 feet of water four and a half miles off Miami Beach.  

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Visit a Cemetery for Halloween

As part of our Strange and Bizarre Travel Tip Series, I’d like to encourage you from now on to visit cemeteries every time you travel.  It’s a great way to examine local culture, religion, art, and history.  And you’ll find that some are more like parks than places to be scared of.

The Neptune Memorial Reef™ (also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef or the Atlantis Reef) is an underwater graveyard that just opened in 2007, off the coast of Miami Beach, FL.  It’s a classical re-creation of the Lost City, 40 feet under the sea.

by Lori Allen, The Travel Writer’s Life

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Top 15 Cemeteries to Visit

From this blog of 15 Cemeteries to Visit Before you Die:

This city of the dead is in fact a recreation of the Lost City of Atlantis – otherwise it wouldn’t exactly live up to its name now would it? 40 feet below the surface of Key Biscayne in Miami Florida, the project is the largest man-made reef in the world. It is first and foremost a place where the Neptune Society cremation service offers family and friends scatter their loved ones.

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San Antonio reports on the Neptune Memorial Reef™

Video of Neptune Memorial Reef™ Placement

This video highlights the process of interment on the Memorial Reef™:

Thursday, March 24th I was hired by a family to videotape the placement of their loved one on the Neptune Memorial Reef™, just off of Key Biscayne in Miami Beach, FL. The Neptune Society has established this Memorial Reef™ so that loved ones who had an affinity with the ocean in some fashion, could have their ashes buried amongst the Atlantis-like structures on the ocean floor.

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A Cemetery Under the Sea

Families wanting a unique burial for loved ones have their cremated remains placed in the Neptune Memorial Reef™ off Key Biscayne. The underwater cemetery has a growing popularity.

Emma Gleichmann was one of nearly 60 souls whose cremated remains rest in nautical sculptures on the sea floor about three miles off Key Biscayne at the one-of-a-kind Neptune Memorial Reef™. The alternative burial option creates an environment for reef creatures and a destination for divers.

by Robert Nolin, Los Angeles Times

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Reef Design Offers Haven for Divers

Artist Kim Brandell, who designed the reef, said he was given no parameters in the reef’s designs, which grew as they waited three years for permits. The structures are 90% cement. Some of the sculptural elements are in bronze and steel. It is the same pH balance as the sea, Brandell said.

by Lisa Orkin Emmanual, The Guardian

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Best Artifical Reef

This blog covers Miami’s Best attractions, including the Neptune Memorial Reef™:

The first phase of construction has been completed on the Neptune Reef™, a mixed-use artificial reef that is the first large-scale underwater themepark in the world. More than 2000 tons of concrete in shape of domes, arches and columns, as well as a pair of bronze.

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Disclaimer: These comments are those of the reporters’ and not those of Neptune Society.