It's not often that you get a chance to meet the star of a blockbuster movie - and that's especially true when the actor has a fin, flippers and an extraordinary prosthetic tail. Luckily, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) has made it possible for Winter the dolphin to thrive, and also for us to learn about her remarkable journey. Even better, she's just one of many fascinating marine animals you can see on your visit.
Stars of the Dolphin Tale Movies
CMA's resident celeb, Winter, starred alongside Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman in the September 2011 movie, Dolphin Tale. Filmed at CMA, and based on Winter's true story of survival, the inspirational film won fans around the world. It also spawned a sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, that hit theaters in the fall of 2014 and introduced Hope, Winter's new dolphin companion. You can see both Hope and Winter swim at CMA and attend a theater showing of the documentary Winter, the Dolphin That Can to learn how Winter lost her tail to a crab trap, then healed and adapted as a result of the efforts of the aquarium's veterinarians, trainers and a pioneering prosthetics company.
Watch this moving video about a boy who has a lot in common with Winter.
A New Dolphin Comes to CMA
Winter and Hope aren't the only dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In fact, the marine attraction is home to Nicholas, and also recently welcomed another (soon-to-be named) male dolphin, who will be his companion. The new dolphin was stranded in the Florida Keys in 2019 and can't be released due to hearing loss. CMA is very excited to be able to offer him a permanent home!
A Major Expansion and More to Explore at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The aquarium is undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion, with three times the current space for rescued marine animals. The highlight of the expansion will be a brand-new dolphin habitat, set to open in summer of 2020.
While visiting Winter and her friends, also be sure to see the aquarium's family of otters, pelicans, endangered sea turtles and other marine life. Also save time for one of CMA's fun and educational boat tours, offered several times a day.