If you travel three-quarters of a mile off the Florida panhandle (southern part of the state), then sink to depths of 60 feet, you will find the home of seven sculptures -- all designed to live in harmony with the underwater flora and fauna that surrounds them. In a symbiotic relationship between art and ecology, the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA) opened this past June to those who seek a little more adventure.
In need of some encouragement before you take the plunge? Read on for five reasons to visit these watery depths.
The sculptures live in harmony with sea life
The seven sculptures, encased in concrete and containing no plastic or toxic chemicals, are designed to encourage and vitalize the growth of sea life. This sustainable and ethical approach to tourism is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise murky cycle.
UMA is the first ever underwater sculpture garden in US
While similar underwater installations exist in Mexico and the Canary Islands, the UMA is the first ever attempt to transform the Gulf of Mexico into a home for contemporary art.
It's the perfect adventure for art lovers, scuba divers, and nature enthusiasts
While experienced scuba divers will have no problems reaching the depths of the museum, there is still room for less experienced divers to explore UMA. Whether you want to dive for the sake of art, the sake of the environment, or the sake of an adrenaline surge, UMA is bound to delight.
You will witness the growth of an artificial reef system
The installation of an artificial reef system in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is a live and ongoing experiment in the interplay of humans and our environment. Explore the seabed and bear witness to the flocking of marine life to the sculptures. Watch a fish nestle in the crevice of a skull. You can't see this anywhere else.
New installments will be added every year
With seven statues to begin, each year, new installments will take the plunge to rest on the sandy floors of the Gulf of Mexico. The only way to truly appreciate the changing landscape of the seabed is to bear witness to it's humble beginnings.
Admission is free
Take the plunge. No elaboration needed here.
Image credit: Smithsonian Mag