Where those escaping winter can go to see “Winter”
With a residential population exceeding 100,000, Clearwater is actually a major anchor of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area, yet it is primarily known to most people as a popular beach resort destination. Clearwater Beach attracts many locals and tourists alike to its white sand strand along the Gulf of Mexico and beautiful sunsets. The city is also home to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made famous by the Dolphin Tale movies.
The causeway to Clearwater Beach passes by Clearwater Marine Aquarium
I have been to Clearwater three times. The first time was to enjoy the beach primarily, but that was in my pre-digital photography days. The most recent visits came in 2012 and 2016. In both cases, we were actually day-tripping while vacationing in another nearby area in order to bring our children to see “Winter,” the dolphin made famous in two Dolphin Tale movies for its amputated tail.
Clearwater Beach seen from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Winter is the star attraction at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The purpose of the aquarium is to rehabilitate injured sea animals or provide a permanent home for those like Winter, whom are no longer capable of fending for themselves in the wild.
Under the causeway leading into Downtown Clearwater
The facility is primarily traditional aquarium, but there are various dolphin trainer demonstrations throughout the day. The purpose of these demonstrations is more to educate about how dolphins interact and behave with humans and how staff veterinarians provide different animals with necessary care.
“Winter,” the star of two movies, has an amputated tail.
While the small facility is showing its age and fundraising for future expansion has been ongoing for quite a while now, the aquarium does offer a pretty cool secondary site that is accessible via a really cool boat ride that is free with aquarium admission. This second site is located in a convention center in Downtown Clearwater and houses all kinds of props and interesting information pertaining to the Dolphin Tale movies.