Clearwater Marine Aquarium

By Holly Giles | Family

dolphin aquarium
 Have you been to an aquarium lately? Grant, my 10-year-old
and I took a mini vacation together to see Winter, 
the dolphin who lost her tail.
My sister recently moved to Clearwater which gave us the perfect excuse to
scoot down to see her and Winter, who we have wanted to visit for years.
If you have seen the movie Dolphin Tale, you know about Winter and the
loss of her tail due to getting tangled up in a crab trap.
 
Candace, Grant and I headed over to the aquarium, in the summer heat,
to learn more about Winter and the rehabilitation work they do there.

clearwater aquarium
Even though it was stifling hot and crowded, we were able to see Winter
in the pool during one of her therapy sessions. She did not have her 
prosthetic tail on. She only has it on for a short while, several times a day.

winter clearwater

We encountered a large sea turtle who also had his back flippers amputated due to fishing line. My boys are avid fisherman and it is always a good reminder what happens to fishing line if we don’t put it in a bag and take it with us to dispose of. It may not seem like a big deal, but to a turtle who now cannot 

 swim well to feed itself, it is rough.

clearwater turtle
turtle2 clearwater

The facility is small and mainly does rehab, so don’t expect exotic fish

and a full day of activity. There are two locations that are included in
the price of admission. The first was the aquarium itself overlooking the
bay and the second was the movie sets and information on how they
made the movie, Dolphin Tale.
IMG_2651
were filmed and now house many of the sets. We were greeted by a summer
intern who gave us a personal guided tour. 
winter movie set
and how they had to use animatronic dolphins for some of the scenes. 

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I had never thought about that before! Although I think Grant was slightly

disappointed to learn about some of the information.

 Children want to believe it was all real. 

winter movie boat

We took a boat ride back to the aquarium and finished our tour.

clearwater boats
at Honeymoon Island State Park which we happened to visit the day before.

honeymoon island
It was beautiful with breathtaking views and white sand. Did I mention
how hot it was? We did do a little bicycling on the nature trail until
my tire went flat. Then we walked along the beach.

honeymoon island5

Grant skipped seashells on the water and found a few interesting creatures.

honeymoon island 1
We wanted to stay for sunset, which I hear is phenomenal. However,
we were attacked by the biggest monster mosquitoes I have ever seen.

honeymoon island3

When I say attacked, I mean blood running down my legs and screaming

for mercy! We ran and jumped into the car for safety.

honeymoon island 4


Do you have plans to visit a state park? I hope so.
Just remember to pack bug spray and a tire pump.
 
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