New park to feature aquarium backstop

New park to feature aquarium backstop

MIAMI -- The Marlins announced a new highlight for their upcoming stadium on Thursday -- dual aquariums that will serve as a home-plate backstop.

The twin custom-made saltwater aquariums will flank both sides of home plate while encompassing fish and coral-reef ecosystems at the new ballpark, which will open at the start of the 2012 season.

The aquariums were constructed by the world's leading custom aquarium manufacturer, Living Color Enterprises Inc., and "have been designed to utilize the latest cutting-edge technology and will incorporate unique features to ensure the safety and health of the many species of aquatic life that will inhabit them," a team-issued news release stated.

The aquarium on the right side of home plate -- when looking from the pitcher's mound -- will measure 34 feet in length and 36 inches high while holding 600 gallons of seawater. The one on the left will be 24 feet long and hold 450 gallons.

Each aquarium will be constructed using a durable fiberglass structure, and white crystal-clear acrylic panels 1.5 inches thick will be used for the viewing windows. To safeguard it from impact, Lexan -- the material used for bulletproof windows -- will be installed in front and in back of the acrylic panels.

"Our new ballpark will be the pride of Miami and will showcase many of our community's great attributes," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. "From the distinctive local ballpark cuisine and magnificent city views, to our unique home plate aquariums -- nothing will better symbolize South Florida than our new ballpark. And as we quickly approach our 2012 opening, we look forward to unveiling new, exclusive features that will make our ballpark one of the greatest in the country."

The Marlins' new ballpark, which will feature a retractable roof and 37,000-seat capacity, is being constructed on the Orange Bowl grounds of the Little Havana section in Miami. Fans can follow the ballpark's progress via a webcam .

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.