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.