I've lived in Florida for almost a full year now, and there are so many reasons why I love living here. And one of a kind, jaw-dropping places like the awesome Neptune Memorial Reef in Key Biscane, FL just outside of Miami is a huge reason why. I only just learned of this place and I have never rushed faster to the keyboard too see if anyone has been here.
What is the Neptune Memorial Reef in Key Biscayne, FL?
Founded in 2007 as the world's largest man-made reef at over 600,000 square feet, the Neptune Memorial was the brain-child of Gary Levine and brought to life by Kim Brandell. The project to build the memorial reef, which was formally known as the Atlantis Reef Project/Atlantis Reef, is located 3.25 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Fl. The goal for this reef since 2012 has been a 16-acre addition complete with underwater roadways and inches to sit.
What's really interesting about the Neptune Memorial Reef is that, although often billed in the media as an "underwater cemetery/mausoleum", it is not one and does not qualify. So what happens to the remains of the people who want to be buried here? Well, it's pretty genius.
The ashes of the deceased are lovingly mixed with cement and casted as "features of the Reef". Memorial plaques are also stationed. Which makes the name of "cremation memorial site" a lot more fitting. On their website, they call themselves "an undersea tribute to life", which is even cooler if you ask me. It is known as "the most beautiful underwater cemetery". Fun fact, visitors can even see celebrity-chef Julia Child's memorial down in the Reef.
Why you should visit the Reef
Okay, so, jig is up for me, I haven't been here yet so I can't speak to much about this. Still, it's easy to see there are clearly so many reasons to make a trip out to Key Biscayne, which is about a 3 hour and 41 minute ride in a car from Orlando where I currently am.
One look at Trip Advisor and the reviews there will tell you that this place is a real win, a "diver's paradise". According to the official Neptune Memorial Reef site, "all are welcome". Florida locals and numerous travel websites will tell you it's a popular place to scuba, snorkel, and have fun with the family. Be aware that the Reef is officially a "sanctuary to endangered and threatened species", so make sure to be on your best behavior.
And as for being buried here, it'll cost $2,600 for "standard placement" and $4,000 for cremation.
If you'd like to visit the reef, "it is free and accessible to everyone", according to the website, but there are a few rules.
- Do not fish as it disrupts the ecosystem
- be gentle as this is the marine life's home
- share with reef divers
And of course, respect that there are actual people's ashes all around you.
Honestly, this might be the option for me when I go. Until then, I'm going to have to take a trip out to the reef to see it for myself. My only question is: Who's coming with me?