52 hours in a truck, 7 tons of black lava rock, and 1 beautiful exhibit for the Tennessee Aquarium.

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." John Muir

We, at Ponds & Plants, just finished up an exciting project at the Tennessee Aquarium. We built a 20' x 30' seepage waterfall out of 7 tons of black lava rock. Next time you visit the aquarium please take a moment to enjoy, it's right in front of the butterfly house. You might think black lava rock is easy to come by but in reality it was quite the task. We ended up having to drive 27 hours, one way, to Utah to pick the rock up directly from the source......a volcano! They unlocked a rickety gate and we pulled our trailer right into the middle of it.

A family of three, very helpful and intrigued, men helped us load our rock. They were patient and amused as we hand picked each and every 2'-5' boulder and tiny stone in between. The textures, sounds and colors were breathtaking in every direction. From the rainbow of colors in the rock, to the sheer and awe inspiring landscapes, it was a sensory overload.

Although there was heavy anxiety from the machinery used to extract these rocks, there was also a calming whistle in the air from the wind hitting the landscape. This was an odd divergence of sensations being experienced. It just proved that no matter how hard we try to overcome nature, she can control a moment with ease.

We then caravanned back to the rock guys home to see their personal rock collection. We found some unique and hard to find pieces that we are just now starting to use at Ponds & Plants.

Underneath all the beauty and excitement of the west, we were still anxiously waiting to tackle the whole reason for this trip......The Tennessee Aquarium Black Lava-Rock Seepage Water Fall!

After arriving home and 3 solid days of rest and relaxation, we were anxious to get started. The first thing we had to do was create thin veneers out of the huge boulders we had just brought home. This process was intense, but we did get to buy a new toy. A chain saw for stone!

With the rock sliced, we were finally ready to tackle the big event......the first day! The anticipation had built up and were were primed and ready.

The entire job went remarkably smooth.

We carried all 7 tons of lava rock up to the 4th floor, we wheeled countless barrows of cement up and down, and we even made a "just in case" second trip back to Utah for more rock! It was a long and painful process but the results were breathtaking.

The Tennessee Aquarium just featured a video about our project with them, which is part of the new Lemur Exhibit, on their site. Please enjoy the video below and be sure to stop by the aquarium and enjoy the colors, sights, and craftsmanship of this project.


P.S. We were so inspired by the black lava rock, that we are starting work on our own wall at Ponds & Plants! The wall will be part of our new "Koi House" addition and include rocks we have collected on our travels. Be sure to stop by soon and see the process and progress.

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