Winter Retreat 2024

Jan 24th – Jan 26th, 2024

Location: Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida
Attendees: All Aquascape Water Feature Builders – Novice and Experienced

Get ready to enjoy sunshine and warm weather when we head to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in beautiful Jupiter, Florida. The Sanctuary is dedicated to wildlife education and conservation, rescuing and rehabilitating a wide range of animals. During the retreat, we’ll create two unique Aquascape ecosystems for otters and bears!

Once the water features are complete, we’ll work with the Busch staff to install native plantings to complete the overall transformation. This is truly a unique and amazing opportunity that you don’t want to miss!

USD $399.00USD $599.00

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

Bear Pond

The state of Florida has requirements for all aquatic systems as they relate to specific animals. According to their regulations, the minimum size feature for a Florida black bear is a 4’x6’ pond with a depth of three feet. Using a mix of locally sourced boulders and logs, we’ll create an incredible plunge pool for the bear to enjoy during the long hot Florida summer!

The bear pond will have an intake bay as the prefilter, and pump housing which will provide a safe and tamper-resistant location for the pond mechanics. The water will be pumped up into a Biofalls® Filter that cascades into a series of plunge pools, all of which are designed to be bear-proof!

Otter Stream

The river otters are a bit more challenging because they’re mischievous and smart! According to the State of Florida, they require a minimum pond size of 10’x 5’ with a depth of three feet. The otter feature is designed to be a meandering stream system with a deep area that meets the three-foot requirement. Otters are very curious, and the long, stream-like pond provides more shoreline interaction, which is important to keep them engaged, using their natural curiosity to explore their surroundings.

Submerged logs and hidden caves will capture the attention of the otters while providing the staff with enrichment opportunities. Like the bear exhibit, an intake bay and BioFalls Filter will be incorporated to deliver the desired water quality for these amazing animals.



5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Event check-in
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Reception Dinner
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Drinks Networking


8:00 AM Build begins
12:00 PM Lunch will be served on site
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM Pre-dinner drinks
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM Dinner will be served followed by networking


8:00 AM Build continues
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM We will conclude the build by late afternoon
Meals included:


  • Reception Dinner Day
  • 1 Lunch & Dinner Day 2
  • Lunch Day 3
  • Snacks and drinks throughout both days
Fairfied Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter

(7 minutes from BWS)
6748 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter, Florida 33458 USA

(561) 748 5252

Click here to book your room. Prices start at $232 per night.

Comfort Inn & Suites Jupiter I-95

(7 minutes from BWS)
6752 West Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL, 33458-3978, US

(561) 745-7997

Click here to book your room. Prices start at $141 per night.


Optional additional build:

If you want more hands-on opportunities for training, join us at one of the nicest personal zoos anywhere.

For over 40 years, Mark McCarthy has lovingly cared for a host of exotic animals. His water features, however, could use some help and here’s where you come in. Bruno Maegerle will create an Aquascape pond inside a tiger exhibit! Kenan Harkin will be there as well, filming this project for his YouTube Channel. This is your chance for not only another hands-on experience, but some INCREDIBLE social media content as well!

Note: Space is limited for the McCarthy Build.
Bruno Maegerle from Pond Pros is leading the build. If you are interested in attending the build, please contact Bruno Maegerle directly at +1 (609) 484-5948 or email [email protected] to register.