The CMA is a non-profit organization and aquarium in Clearwater Florida dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sea animals. Best known for being the home of Winter the Dolphin, the star of the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2 staring Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick, Jr., the aquarium is home to many other marine animals, including Nicholas the Dolphin, who you can watch splashing away in this 360° video. It’s like you’re part of the audience—without getting soaked! Find out essential details for planning your visit to the CMA here.
Plan Your Visit: Clearwater Aquarium Hours, Admission & Tickets
Hours: Daily 10 am-6:00 pm. (extended hours to 8 p.m. are available at certain times of the year). Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Open Christmas Eve and New Years Eve but limited hours.
Admission: General Admission—Adults (Ages 13-59): $24.95. Children (Ages 3-12) $19.95. Seniors (Age 60+): $22.95. Children under 2 are free. Special programs have different fees. Check the website for more info.
Discounted Ticket Package: save on admission to the CMA by purchasing a CityPASS. You’ll save 51% off admission to five area attractions, including the aquarium. Learn more and purchase mobile tickets, as well as ticket booklets here.
Can’t Miss: What to See at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Animals: While the goal of the CMA is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release the animals they help, not all of the animals can be released because their injuries can prevent them from living a full life in the wild. If that happens, the animals are provided long term resident care—which means you can meet them up close and in person! In addition to Winter, Hope, and Nicholas the dolphins, come say hi to Ricky the pelican (who played Rufus in Dolphin Tale), nurse sharks Thelma and Louise, lots of sea turtles, plus otters, rays, clownfish and crabs.
Tours: Go on a guided kayak tour, sail on a sea life boat safari—even have breakfast with birds on the boat tour of Clearwater Bay and St. Joseph Sound (you’ll also see local bird sanctuary islands on the breakfast boat).
- Go to Winter Zone: home to Winter and Hope the dolphins, this area was a filming location for both Dolphin Tale movies.
- Step inside the Dolphin Tale movies when you visit Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure. This exhibit takes you inside the movie, where you can walk through re-constructed movie scenes and see still images of the movie.
- Navigate through Shipwreck Alley, where you can watch Winter and Hope through an underwater viewing tunnel.
- Check out Turtle Bayou, where you can get up close to resident sea turtles Titus, Ula and Cupid.
Immersive Experiences: Be a trainer for the day! Sign up for the Dolphin Encounter so you can work with a CMA trainer, help to feed the animals and learn about training a resident dolphin. You can also feed other CMA residents like Ricky the pelican, or a stingray or puffer fish! Many animal encounter experiences are available, call ahead to learn the details and reserve a spot!
Come for Summer Camp
Want to stay for more than a day? The CMA holds week-long camps for kids (half- or full-day) during the summer (June through mid-August), featuring Winter, Hope and their aquatic friends. The Aquarium staff will lead your budding marine biologist on snorkeling adventures, plus other on- and off-site activities. Programs are available for children Pre-K to 10th grade.
Registration begins in January. Find more details by visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Summer Camp page.
You don’t have to live nearby either to participate in Summer Camp. Families can plan their visit around Summer Camp weeks and even take advantage of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s special Summer camp lodging deals.
Cool Things to Do Nearby
Clearwater Beach: Routinely landing on TripAdvisor's Top Beaches in the U.S. list, taking the top spot in 2019, 2018 and 2016, the aquarium is just around the corner from this brilliant white sand beach.
Pier 60: With one of the largest beach playgrounds on the Gulf of Mexico, if the kids are wired after their CMA visit, they won’t be after playing here. Parents will enjoy Sunset at Pier 60, an event in itself with crafts and entertainment starting at 6pm every night.
Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise: Go for a two-hour cruise with friendly pirates for a swashbuckling good time for the whole family. Take in the views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf waters while the kids enjoy face painting and water gun games.
Mini-golf at Captain Bligh's Landing Mini-Golf: Who doesn’t love a round of pirate-y mini-golf? Go around 18 holes through waterfalls and a giant pirate ship, then head for the game room for a chance to win prizes.