Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Recently our family received the opportunity to meet one of the most famous and recognizable animals in the world. Winter, the star of the movie “Dolphin Tales,” lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In 2005, the center rescued a baby dolphin from a crab trap off the coast of Florida. Rescuers brought Winter to Clearwater and began the long task of healing and rehabilitating. Documented in the movie, Winter must learn to swim using a prosthetic tail. Not only does she thrive in her new environment, but she begins to inspire others around the globe.

Although much attention is given to this amazing story, Winter is just one of hundreds of animals cared for by this marine center. The mission of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is “preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life, environmental education, research and conservation.”

Spending even a few minutes at the center will allow you a glimpse into how well they live out this mission. We were blown away by the attention, and care the animals were receiving. Simultaneously, CMA uses the public forum to educate and encourage guests to respect sea life.

Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure

We started our day at the Clearwater Marine Center at Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure. This location houses many of the images and props used during the filming of the movie. Our family enjoyed reading and learning about the filming of the movie. We were also able to learn more about Winter and the care she receives at CMA.

My children loved seeing all the recognizable elements from their favorite movie! After thoroughly exploring, we were ready to meet Winter (and the other animals!) A free trolly or boat will take you over to the aquarium facility.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium was designed with the animals in mind. Because of this, it’s important to remember that they are not there for guests enjoyment. The animals are at CMA to heal, and rehabilitate. I point this out because many of the animal habitats include private areas. This allows the animals some alone time and a break from public viewing. We walked around the whole building 2 or 3 times so that we made sure not to miss any of the animals.

Highlights of the Marine Center included:

Winter (obviously)


The Surgical Suite

Rufus Beach

Interacting with the staff and volunteers was also one of our favorite parts of our visit to the Clearwater Marine Center. Each of the team members we encountered was extremely kind and knowledgeable. Additionally, we loved watching Hope and Winter do a “typical” training/therapy session!

After spending a week doing all sorts of fun things in Central Florida, both my children picked CMA as the highlight of the whole vacation.

We were all starstruck by Winter, but also inspired by the phenomenal work being done at CMA. We are already looking forward to our next opportunity to visit!

To learn more about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and to plan your visit, go to their website. And you may also enjoy reading:

The One Where We Leave Florida

Experience Orlando Like A Local

Favorite Travel Destinations By Miller

*CMA hosted Mom With A Map during our visit*

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