Animal Planet’s ‘Tanked’ Headed To Perdido Key
Animal Planet’s ‘Tanked’ Headed To Perdido Key To Boost Local Economy
By: Kelly Woodard
Perdido Key is about to get ‘Tanked’ thanks to Wayde King and Brett Raymer, co-owners of Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), one of the country’s most successful builders of aquariums and stars of the Animal Planet hit show. The boisterous brothers-in-law are designing a 403-gallon, pirate themed aquarium to be installed in the new Perdido Key Visitors Information Center.
The ‘Tanked’ crew will visit Perdido Key in June to film the installation of the aquarium which will feature fish and an ecosystem native to the Gulf of Mexico as well as all the elements of a pirate’s paradise including a pirate ship, treasure chest, gold coins, and “a few other surprises to pay homage to Perdido Key’s annual Pirate Festival”.
Those familiar with the show know that King and Raymer aren’t your average aquarium builders. They travel the world to create fish enthusiasts’ dreams of having their own piece of the ocean. Throughout their careers, they have installed tanks in everything from cars and phone booths to pinball machines and jukeboxes, and the Perdido Key tank is expected to be yet another unique masterpiece in their portfolio.
Perdido Key Chamber President, Tina Morrison, said the arrival of the tank and being featured on the show ‘Tanked’ will be good for the local economy. With most of Pensacola’s tourism efforts focused on Pensacola Beach, Morrison hopes that the show will boost Perdido Key’s visibility to potential visitors. “We’re basically creating a new tourist attraction,” said Morrison. “We hope that it will not only attract out of towners to the area, but locals to this side of town as well.”
The Chamber will be using a BP grant received after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that some local residents aren’t happy about. Local resident Ryan Simoneaux stated, “I like big aquariums, but why use BP spill money? Why not use that money to stimulate the economy since money was lost because of the spill? Or put it in escrow to use it for cleanup since they find new tar every so often. This doesn't seem like a very smart use of the money.”
Denise Hemenway agreed, saying, “They need to put that where the money is being made! Beach nourishment! We need more sand brought in. We lost a lot of our beach.”
But Morrison insists that the tank and the attention that it will bring to the area will be well worth the money spent. “This BP money we are spending will allow us to include an interactive component for school children and other visitors. We think that it will attract a whole new group of visitors to our area, and that will reflect positively on our local economy. It will be well worth the investment.”
As for long term maintenance costs, Morrison said that Alabama Credit Union agreed to pay for educational materials to accompany the exhibit and an anonymous Perdido Key business has offered to take care of the tank’s maintenance. Both sponsors made three-year commitments. “It won’t cost the tax payer’s a dime,” Morrison added.
This isn’t the first time ‘Tanked’ has been to the Pensacola area. In 2012, the crew was summoned to design a trolley for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos stadium, but was unable to finish the project due to investors pulling out of the project. Then, last year, Blues Angel Music was featured on an episode of ‘Tanked’ where an innovative functioning drum kit tank was constructed to be a focal point of the store. The tank is still up and running and can be seen in the Blues Angel Music showroom.
The Perdido Key episode is scheduled to air sometime this summer. “Tanked” airs at 10 pm Fridays on Animal Planet, which is available in more than 95 million homes in the United States.
For more information visit www.visitperdido.com.