Center in the Square Gala, One Heck of a (fish) Party.

Tank Team
John Carlin, Jeff Turner and Ben Carlin pose in front of the Steel Dynamics Living Reef.

It was hard work, but we made it.  The crew from Reef Aquaria Design, working 12 hour days, weekends and everything in-between presented complete and well stocked aquariums well in advance of the fantastic black-tie Center in the Square gala on Saturday night.  It was an invitation-only advance viewing of all the work that has been done over the past two years — from the new lobby, to the green roof and all the museums in-between.

Atrium Crowd
The atrium was standing room only.

Women in beautiful dresses and men in tuxedos moved through the atrium while jellyfish pulsed in the two tall cylinder aquariums, seahorses looked out by the gift shop, turtles swam or perched on a log, native Roanoke River Fish darted among driftwood, and the living reef glowed with hundreds of colorful fish as corals waved int he current.

It was a wonderful night and the beginning of yet another chapter in the life of downtown Roanoke.

Ben Carlin
Ben Carlin of Carlin Aquarium Systems

I was especially proud of the reef aquarium, while the attendees surprised the aquarium crew with their interest in the Turtles of Virginia exhibit.

Joleen and Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner, president of Reef Aquaria Design and his wife, Joleen.

The Aquariums are settling in to the cycling process and Carlin Aquarium Systems is now monitoring water parameters, feeding the fish and keeping the glass free of algae.  This weekend (May 18 & 19, 2013) the public will get it’s first opportunity to experience the new Center in the Square as it re-opens officially after the 27-million dollar renovation project.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte
Rep. Bob Goodlatte gets a tank tour.

I plan to be on hand a good part of the day on both Saturday and Sunday to answer questions and really, to anxiously watch the public with the hope that the aquariums are as popular as we believe they will be.


1125 East Main St
Salem, VA

(behind Fresh Studio Salon)

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