In the Media

Neptune Memorial Reef™: Creating Life After Life

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.

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An Underwater Burial Is Creating Life After Life

MIAMI-DADE/SARASOTA COUNTY (WSNN) – The largest man-made reef ever created, right off Miami-Dade County.  And Suncoast divers are planning a dive at the site.

It’s the ultimate circle of life; but instead of on land, it’s in the sea. And it involves an underwater burial … 

“Sure, you go to see memorials and you have that feeling, that ‘awe feeling,’ but this is just magnified underwater,” Sarasota Florida Underwater Sports instructor, LeeAnn Patterson said.

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9 Amazing Experiences In Key Biscayne

So, you are in glamorous Miami for a vacation. You have visited all the hot spots, admired the cool people on South Beach and the famous art deco buildings, tasted a bit of Cuba in Little Havana, and are keen to go a little farther afield on a fantastic day trip. You can’t do much better than spending a day in Key Biscayne.

Key Biscayne is an island south of Miami Beach, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Biscayne Bay to the west. It’s connected to Miami by the Rickenbacker Causeway, which opened in 1947. Until the mid-20th century, two-thirds of Key Biscayne was taken up by the largest coconut plantations in the United States. The causeway changed all that, and Key Biscayne is now a very upscale residential area.

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Unusual Burial Places Around The World

During Halloween in the United States, many lawns and stoops are festooned with creepy fake headstones displaying spooky epitaphs meant to elicit fear and trepidation. But around the world burial grounds have often been an everyday part of living.

Different cultures have an infinite variety of beliefs that are manifest into many ways death is viewed and the deceased are buried. What follows are descriptions of some unusual cemeteries throughout the world, as well as examples of how the growth of civilization has impacted some older final resting places. Many are worth a visit — the next time we can all visit places.

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Burials At Sea Are Booming During The Pandemic

More than three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, a small island village neighboring Miami, a 33-foot catamaran bobs in the Atlantic. It’s Tuesday afternoon, and while his crew of scuba divers do maintenance on a group of buoys, Capt. Jim Hutslar plans to scatter the ashes of a few recently deceased individuals in the water over the Neptune Memorial Reef, a large, artificial, rocky structure that resembles the lost city of Atlantis. 

Beneath the glassy surface, 76 columns and a menagerie of stone-carved marine life span several acres of ocean floor at a depth of 40 feet. The carvings are made from a mix of concrete and the cremated remains of dead people who chose Neptune as their final resting place, Hutslar explained to The Daily Beast.

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Secret Florida: 10 Places You Never Knew You Needed To See

Florida is quite the destination–sometimes controversial, sometimes just plain weird, it’s hard not to hold a special place in your heart for the strange state. This is especially true when it comes to all of the wacky and…interesting…spots it holds. These ten treasures are the under-the-radar, completely out of this world gems the state houses.

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Fox Sports Mexico Coverage of Neptune Memorial Reef for Super Bowl

An Undersea Tribute To Life

With more and more families choosing cremation than ever before, we are seeing the development of exciting and new options in permanent places of remembrance. This is an important part of planning for a celebration of life, to ensure that loved ones will always have a meaningful place to visit, remember and reflect.

At Dignity Memorial, we are honored to be able to provide access to one of the most unique resting places ever conceived — the Neptune Memorial Reef, the largest man-made reef ever created. This is the first and only environmentally friendly sanctuary for those choosing cremation with memorialization.

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This Underwater Memorial In Florida Will Take You Back To The Lost City Of Atlantis

There is a lost city 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne that is magical and mysterious. Neptune Memorial Reef is the world’s only underwater cemetery that you need to explore as soon as possible.

If you love the ocean and scuba diving, this place withholds the memories of Atlantis and your loved ones. It is definitely hidden and you need to dive 40 feet under the sea to see it with your own eyes. Neptune Memorial Reef is the largest man-made reef conceived and, once completed, it will cover over 16 acres of barren ocean floor. The first completed phase is an artistic representation of the Lost City of Atlantis.

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Underwater Forever: Military family chooses one-of-a-kind place for father's remains

Senior Chief John Hermsdorf served our country in the Navy for 20 years. His family in Jacksonville says he saw an article on the Neptune Memorial Reef and told them that’s what he wanted for his cremated remains.

His daughter, Lauren, said, “I always remember him saying, ‘I’ll be in the ocean, and so no matter where you are, I’ll be around you.'”

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Boomers Get Creative With Their Final Wishes

Remember Ted Williams’ postmortem journey? The baseball legend’s body was shipped to an Arizona cryonics lab after his death in 2002. His children were left bickering in court. A will specified cremation, or, no, he wanted his body frozen, per a signed scrap of paper stained with motor oil. Lawsuits later, his body remains in the deep freeze. – Savvier generations are increasingly authoring their own “preneed” funeral and burial plans. Doing so spares survivors anxiety and indecision over a dizzying host of choices, from how you want to be remembered to where you might want to be buried, scattered or shelved. – You might go for a simple religious rite followed by interment in a family plot. You can also have your ashes compressed into a diamond, submerged in a reef or blasted into space. – Whether you are the family elder or a boomer confused about your parents’ or siblings’ desires, take the lead: Invite family discussion about a topic that none of us find particularly comfortable to talk about.

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Cremation Companies Aid Sea Life After Death

Environmentally-conscious Jacksonville residents now have a local option to help reduce their body’s impact on the planet after their death. The Neptune Society, the largest cremation company in the nation, offers traditional cremation practices and now something wholly unique: Customers have the option to have their ashes entombed in the largest artificial reef off the coast of Miami.

“We offer the public a cost-effective and dignified option to traditional cemetery burials,” said Sylvan Leizerman, the prearrangement manager. “Families can even rent a boat and watch the entombment from the surface.”

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Culture And Conservation Beneath The Sea

Scuba divers descending to the BVI Art Reef off the British Virgin Islands may encounter schools of snapper, sea turtles and rays. But they will certainly see something not native: a giant sculpture of a mythic kraken gripping a shipwreck.

The arty artificial reef is part of a wave of new underwater installations visible to divers and snorkelers. Anchoring sculptures on sandy ocean floors, these cultural attractions have a scientific double life, providing habitats for fish, invertebrates and coral.

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Deceased sailors reach “Atlantis” when laid to rest at Neptune Memorial Reef

FLORIDA — An underwater mausoleum off Miami’s coast is giving all new meaning to being buried at – or in this case under – sea. The magnificent Neptune Memorial Reef, which was modeled after The Lost City of Atlantis, is an under-the-sea city for the dead and living.

The Neptune Memorial Reef is located 40 feet underwater at the coordinates N25° 42.036’, W80° 05.409’ and is the largest ever manmade reef, covering more than 16 acres of the ocean’s floor.

In addition to being an amazing underwater tribute to a remembrance of human life, the structures have also contributed to marine life. Local businesses, such as boat chartering, snorkeling and diving, have also benefitted from the mausoleum.

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Underwater Mausoleums, Memorial Reefs - What Are Your Plans For The Afterlife?

Two new reefs have popped up off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, each made of concrete culvert and pipes, each memorializing the life of John Michael Baker, a seagoing 17-year-old who lost his life in a boating accident in 2015.

About three miles off the coast of Miami Beach, concrete mixed with the ashes of more than 1,500 deceased ocean lovers forms a series of structures in the Neptune Memorial Reef.

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Reef Cemetery Is Now Home To New Life

A year after Will and Daniel Payne lost their mom, and nearly two decades since their father’s death, it was time to follow their wishes for the afterlife.

As they board a boat with three generations of family, the brothers slip into flippers and de-fog their masks. Will, who became a certified scuba diver just days earlier, checks his oxygen tank and jumps into the azure waters to secure a concrete marker mixed with their ashes at a memorial reef about three miles out to sea.

This unusual resting place is exactly what the Paynes say their parents wanted. Buel Payne, a former Coast Guard member, and Linda Payne, who grew up on the water and loved boating, will spend their afterlife in a memorial modeled after the lost city of Atlantis, among impressive lion statues and ornate gates and pillars encrusted with sea life.

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Underwater Cemetery Brings New Life To Florida's Reef

An underwater cemetery modelled on the lost city of Atlantis grants the dead a place to sleep with the fishes.

The Neptune Memorial Reef lies three miles off the Florida coast near Key Biscayne at a depth of 40ft. It is the most bio-diverse habitat in the state’s waters, home to more than 140 marine species, as well as the resting place for the cremated remains of 1,500 people.

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People In Florida Are Paying Thousands Of Dollars To Be Buried In Underwater Graveyard

Making plans for what will happen to you after your death is always kind of weird, whether you believe in an afterlife or not. Where your earthly remains end up is something that is often discussed with your closest family members, but the end of the road is often a well-manicured field with tasteful headstones. In Florida, some folks are choosing to handle things a little bit differently.

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Neptune Memorial Reef Completes Expansion

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Neptune Memorial Reef™, an underwater reef and mausoleum, located approximately three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Fla., has completed the next phase of its planned expansion, adding space for an additional 4,000 memorials. Currently, the Reef serves as a home to thousands of fish, coral and invertebrates and provides cremation placements for 1,500 individuals. Once all phases of the planned design are complete, the site, which is inspired by the Lost City of Atlantis, will memorialize more than 250,000 individuals, with a master plan covering 16 acres of the ocean floor.

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Families Finding Life In The Afterlife At Coral Reef Cemetery Off Cost Of Miami Beach

A year after Will and Daniel Payne lost their mom, and nearly two decades since their father’s death, it was time to follow their wishes for the afterlife.

As they board a boat with three generations of family, the brothers slip into flippers and de-fog their masks. Will, who became a certified scuba diver just days earlier, checks his oxygen tank and jumps into the azure waters to secure a concrete marker mixed with their ashes at a memorial reef about three miles out to sea.

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South Florida coral reef cemetery allows mourners, sea creatures to flourish

A year after Will and Daniel Payne lost their mom, and nearly two decades since their father’s death, it was time to follow their wishes for the afterlife.

As they board a boat with three generations of family, the brothers slip into flippers and de-fog their masks. Will, who became a certified scuba diver just days earlier, checks his oxygen tank and jumps into the azure waters to secure a concrete marker mixed with their ashes at a memorial reef about three miles out to sea.

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Incredible Photos Of Underwater Coral Reef Memorial

A Texas couple’s final resting place is buried along the ocean floor off the coast of southern Florida in a unique underwater mausoleum, which is now home to more than a thousand cremated human remains. 

Ever since The Neptune Memorial Reef, a man-made reef located roughly three miles east of Key Biscayne, Florida, opened in 2007 thousands of family members have opted to have their loved ones buried among the structures. 

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Memorial Reef A Way For Deceased To Survive Among Living

You can sleep with the fishes — by choice.

The Neptune Memorial Reef, a final resting place like no other, is expanding. One day, the cremated remains of 250,000 souls will be tended by angel fish, guarded by moray eels and visited by scuba divers in a scenic 16-acre city of the dead 3 miles off Key Biscayne.

“My mom always wanted waterfront property, and now she’s got the best,” said John Hink, whose 86-year-old mother, Edith Hink, passed away in 2008. Her remains were placed in a Greek column at the reef, and her family of avid divers regularly swims down to pay their respects.

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Reef Offers New Choice To Honor Loved Ones After Cremation

When discussing funeral plans, Sonny Acedo, a Flagler Beach man, had told his wife, Michele, to scatter his ashes in the ocean. When he died a year ago in March, Michele was making arrangements at Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home and found out about an opportunity to have his ashes placed in a permanent location that would honor his wish to be part of the ocean that he loved.

Neptune Memorial Reef, located about three miles east of Key Biscayne, is a living reef, built as an artistic interpretation of the Lost City of Atlantis, 40 feet under the sea, with a road, archways, columns, statuary, etc. It serves as a memorial, where cremated remains are part of the infrastructure and include a memorial plaque.

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Sleep With the Fishes - Forever - At Underwater Cemetery

You can sleep with the fishes. By choice.

It’s the only way to go for those who want to return to the sea whence we came.

Miami’s Neptune Memorial Reef, a final resting place like no other, is expanding. One day, the cremated remains of 250,000 souls will be tended by angel fish, guarded by moray eels and visited by scuba divers in a scenic 16-acre city of the dead three miles off Key Biscayne.

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You Can Sleep With The Fishes By Choice

You can sleep with the fishes. By choice.

It’s the only way to go for those who want to return to the sea whence we came.

Miami’s Neptune Memorial Reef, a final resting place like no other, is expanding. One day, the cremated remains of 250,000 souls will be tended by angel fish, guarded by moray eels and visited by scuba divers in a scenic 16-acre city of the dead three miles off Key Biscayne.

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WATCH: Diving in the peaceful underwater 'city' of a memorial reef

It looks like a lost underwater city, with roads, pathways and structures. The Neptune Memorial Reef is a small city frozen in time, three miles off the coast of Miami, where people can spend their eternity as part of an underwater reef 40 feet under the sea.

With no fishing allowed, it’s also home to thousands of fish and other marine life, and a dive site for avid divers and family members of those who are memorialized there.

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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

View the video and article

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zySI3FE6IQM

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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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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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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.

 

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.

View the Video

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.

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Permanent Placement

Celebrate a loved one’s life and legacy with a permanent memorial in this unique underwater setting.

PACKAGE INCLUDES:
  • Your choice of Reef Placement – from Limited Release, Exclusive and Premium to Standard or Legacy placement options
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Memorial Plaque

A personalized, commemorative plaque on the Reef is a simple yet truly memorable way to pay tribute to a special life.

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Scatter at Sea

Honor a loved one’s life and legacy with the Scatter at Sea package.

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  • Scattering in the open waters over the Neptune Memorial Reef®
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  • Scattering certificate
starting at $595
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  • Placement in the first phase
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  • Placement in the second phase
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  • Starfish, Seashell, or Coral
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Limited Release

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  • Turtle, Stingray (Lucy - Straight Tail or Desi - Curled Tail)
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  • Crown Placement - Mermaid or Dolphin
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Limited Release - Lion

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  • 30'' Simba
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The family is welcome to be present during the mixing of the placement and is scheduled at their convenience. They may also help with the mixing, add trinkets or a note to the mix or leave hand prints on the placement.

Family members are welcome to be present during a scattering ceremony or the deployment of a loved one's permanent placement on the Neptune Memorial Reef. This provides the opportunity for family and friends to gather and celebrate the special life of a loved one - and the chance to say goodbye. The Reef crew can assist with chartering a boat as well as scheduling at the family's convenience.