Florida's Reef of Remains

NeptuneSociety.com / NeptuneSociety.com

If you want to learn about someplace, you can always pick up a textbook. But if you want to get to know a place, you're going to have to dig a little deeper. And what you find there might be a little strange. The Strange States series will take you on a virtual tour of America to uncover the unusual people, places, things, and events that make this country such a unique place to call home.

Every day this week, we're heading to Florida, the land of sun, oranges, gators, and a famous pants-wearing mouse.

Sleeping With the Fishes

Even if you aren’t a greedy mob accountant, you, too, can sleep with the fishes at the Neptune Memorial Reef.  Created by the Neptune Society, a cremation service, the reef is located 40 feet down, some three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida.

Since opening in 2007, the site has grown to about a half-acre of ocean floor, but when completed will cover 16 acres, making it the largest man-made reef in the world. And you can be a part of it—literally—by having your cremated remains mixed into the concrete used in the underwater gates, columns, and statues designed to look like the lost city of Atlantis.

Personalized memorial plaques are placed around the complex to mark the contribution of each person interred so their SCUBA-loving loved ones can come by for a visit. Currently the reef holds the last remains of about 175 people, but when completed will hold as many as 125,000.

Come back for another Florida installment tomorrow!