Florida on a Tankful: SeaLife Orlando behind-the-scenes tours

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017, 12:39 PM EDT

It takes a lot of work to keep the world's oceans running indoors.

"We have a lot of immersive habitats when it comes to displaying our creatures here,” said Andrew Nerness, the curator at SeaLife Orlando.

Beyond the looking glass awaits a porthole that when opened, leads to another world.

"It's a very neat perspective most people don't get to see," Andrew said of the aquarium’s secluded backside, until now. Welcome to the life support side of SeaLife.

"It's a neat way to gain a bit more information about the ocean, it's creatures and the eco-system as a whole,” Andrew said.

He invites visitors to go on tour to see what it takes to provide harmony in the seas.

"It really gives you a neat, different perspective of what goes into taking care of an aquarium and all the hard work that goes into making sure our animals are happy and healthy,” he shared from inside a food prep area.

"Behind me, they are prepping the food for every single animal we have here,” Andrew said as a team begins weighing squid and smaller fish for breakfast.

All of the fish and squid served here are restaurant quality. Besides food prep, there is the constant sound of cleaning.

The tour leads upstairs, above the pools where visitors can look at the creatures below, and the life support systems needed. A network of pipes and filters spans the ceilings below and side room.

"It really gives you a unique perspective on how big the aquarium is, and the inner-workings of the operation itself."

Guests can stroll part of the catwalk system and see the animals swimming from above, as well as see the dive crew suiting up for a swim into the pools below.

"We want to make it fun and engadging and interactive,” Andrew said.

Know Before You Go: Several tours take place throughout the day.  Get more information here.

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