Aquascape Winter Retreat

Wednesday, January 26th – Friday, January 28th

Location: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Attendees: All Aquascape Water Feature Builders – Novice and Experienced

Join TEAM Aquascape for three absolutely amazing Aquascape water feature builds that will be enjoyed by a bevy of Floridians of both the human and animal variety.

Please see below for information on hotel accommodations and the three build details



Wednesday, January 26th

  • All Day – Arrival and check-in at the hotel
  • 5:00-5:30 PM – Event check-in at Blake’s Exotic Animal Ranch (address will be sent only to registered attendees)
  • 5:30-6:00 PM – Pre-dinner drinks
  • 6:00-9:00 PM – Dinner followed by networking, games, entertainment, and drinks

Thursday, January 27th

  • 8:00 AM – Our three builds begin promptly at 8:00 AM. Address information for each build will be sent to registered attendees along with the final event itinerary. Transportation on your own.
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – Classroom training session for novice builders at the “introductory project” location
  • 5:30-6:00 PM – Pre-dinner drinks
  • 6:00-9:00 PM – Dinner will be served followed by networking, games, entertainment, and drinks

Friday, January 28th

  • 8:00 AM – Continue the builds
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – We will conclude the builds by early afternoon in order to allow everyone to fly/drive home or continue their stay

Meals included:

  • Wednesday 26th – Reception Dinner
  • Thursday 27th – Lunch + Snacks + Dinner
  • Friday 28th – Lunch

Price per person is $399.00 USD, which includes the build, training, meals, and an event t-shirt.
Guests are $150.00 USD, which includes meals and evening activities.

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

Hotel Information

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites - Pembroke Pines

14651 NW 20th St, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028

Rate for Holiday Inn Express is $175.00 USD per night

  • This rate includes breakfast.  Breakfast is NOT PROVIDED by the Aquascape events team.
  • The group code is AQU, and can be booked directly using the link below.

Click here to book your room.

Advanced Project:

Aquascape Water Feature for an Asian Small-Clawed Otter at Blake’s Exotic Animal Ranch

Led by Ed Beaulieu The Pond Professor

This water feature build is for an Asian small-clawed otter named Oliver! Smallest in its’ genus, the Asian small-clawed otter is highly intelligent and very active. This build will be an interesting challenge as we work to create a truly unique water feature for this amazing species. The pond will be half above grade and half below with a sunken seating area complete with a glass viewing panel! The glass panel will provide Blake countless hours of content for his social media followers.

Creating a habitat for otters presents several challenges. The first challenge that needs to be addressed is caused by the otter’s high-protein diet. The increased protein content in this habitat requires additional filtration to properly metabolize the otter’s waste. The filtration system starts with a subterranean reservoir using our Aquascape AquaBlox® Water Storage Modules system to house the pumps and handle debris with a large prefilter area. Water will then be pumped into an up-flow wetland filter to effectively manage the waste from this unique animal. The incoming water is discharged into our Large Centipede® module and AquaBlox to slow the fast-moving water down and allow for the sedimentation process to occur. The water will then flow through several layers of specifically graded river rock that becomes home for a wide variety of microorganisms that will feed on the protein rich wastewater. A series of underwater jets and other water discharge points will keep sediments in suspension so they can be managed by the filtration system.

During the construction process we will install a series of underwater caves and tunnels to provide natural enrichment and appease the otter’s endless curiosity. The goal of the water feature is to recreate the otter’s native habitat using natural stone, large logs, and a sand bottom for the pond. The glass viewing panel will be installed using a custom designed and fabricated compression system allowing us to connect the glass panel to our 45-mil, fish-safe EPDM pond liner membrane.

Concrete Cloth™ and heavy-duty geotextile underlayment fabric will cover any vulnerable areas protecting them from the otters claws and digging capabilities. Blake will finish the feature with an overhead shade structure to keep the glass panel from acting as a greenhouse in the intense Florida sun. This project will be available for all Aquascape Winter Retreat attendees to see and photograph throughout the event. However, due to the unique nature of this installation, this project is reserved for more experienced water features builders.


Intermediate Project:

Renovation of an Existing In-Ground Swimming Pool for Florida Iguana and Tortoise

Led by Brian Helfrich – VP of Aquascape Construction

What do you do with a large in-ground swimming pool when you’re done swimming? You turn it into an Aquascape ecosystem pond! The pool still holds water so there’s no need to remove or repair the main structure. That said, our goal is to create a custom filter system on the bottom of the pool – like the solution we developed for the Ohio Fish Rescue predator pond. This system will provide the necessary biological filtration allowing the homeowners to keep a wide variety of unique fish species that can live in the subtropical environment of South Florida.

Once the filtration system is installed, we will finish the interior walls of the pool with a faux rock panel system to create a more natural appearance. A new pumping system will be added to the pool to ensure optimal water quality parameter are met. This project is ideal for intermediate builders but can be available for new installers if space allows. This property is loaded with iguanas and massive tortoises! In fact, the owners routinely sell to collectors and zoological parks around the world!


Introductory Project:

Custom Fountainscape for a Capuchin Monkey and Friends

Led by Chris Hanson, Aquascape Construction Foreman

This spectacular residential property and gardens is home to a variety of exotic animals, including capuchin monkeys! In all cases, water feature design and construction is a step-by-step process and it’s critical that you begin with the “right step” first. This customized fountainscape utilizing Aquascape AquaBlox® Water Storage Modules technology and decorative urns will give you valuable construction skills and a keen understanding of water feature systems that will serve as foundational knowledge before you move on to more complex projects. A large underground reservoir will be installed and utilized to house the pumping system and manifolds that will split the water flow between several decorative urns.

What I love most about this type of project is the beautiful sights and sounds created by flowing water and the ease of maintenance! When a feature’s water is all in an underground reservoir it lowers your daily maintenance. The feature can also be setup on a Smart Control App allowing for homeowners to schedule operating hours or adjust the water flow rate, which is perfect for second homes and customers that travel.

The serene setting for this build is adjacent to a gazebo and tucked into tropical vegetation. It’s the perfect setting for a water feature that will fill the space with the unique ambiance that only an Aquascape decorative fountain can provide.