Happy Monday everybody! I just had one of the best weekends EVER! No, seriously. Best. Ever.
I may have mentioned at least once or twice or 900 times that I’m one of the official Blog Ambassador’s for the move Dolphin Tale 2 and as you might imagine that includes a few little perks. Oh, who the hell am I kidding, it includes some really big flippin perks and that brings us to this weekend.
On Saturday the Dolphin Tale 2 Blog Ambassadors gathered at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater where we were shuttled over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the official home of Winter the Dolphin. We were led on a tour with the Aquarium’s CEO and Director, David Yates.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium opened in 1972 in what was formerly a water treatment facility under the name CMSC, Clearwater Marine Science Center. In 1981 the center officially opened the first exhibit room. I first visited in the mid 80’s after the rescue of the center’s first atlantic bottlenose dolphin and its first resident, “Sunset Sam.” The aquarium was still relatively small back then but it was around that time I first fell in love with it.
Sometime in the 90’s the name was changed to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and I visited many more times often bringing family and friends with me. The aquarium grew quite a lot over the years but it wasn’t until the rescue of its most famous resident that the Clearwater Marine Aquarium garnered International attention.
“Winter”, as she has become known, is an atlantic bottlenose dolphin. She was rescued by Clearwater Marine Aquarium after she was entangled in the ropes of a crab trap near Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately her wounds were very serious and despite the efforts of the caring staff of CMA, her tail deteriorated and could not be saved. Thus began the journey to create a prosthetic tail.
I had been to the aquarium to see Winter many times and I was familiar with her story. I had also seen Dolphin Tale which was the first movie based on her life so I was pretty excited to go behind the scenes and learn more about the aquarium.
We gathered in a classroom where we were introduced to the CEO and Director, David Yates and Abby, one of the trainers at the aquarium. After showing us the current prosthetic that Winter uses and telling us about her training they told us about how the second movie came to fruition and what the story is about. We also learned about the mission of CMA which is to Rescue, Rehab and Release.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is also home to some sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, a few pelicans and some river otters as well as dolphins. One of the most exciting parts of the tour was hearing about Winter’s new friend Hope and how she came to CMA.
I brought along my little friend Jayde and she got to hold Winter’s prosthetic. Here she is with the CEO and Director, David Yates.
Once we finished up in the classroom we headed down to watch Abby work with Winter and Hope. It’s amazing how these two interact. They are such beautiful creatures and I could have easily watched them all day long.
The tour ended around 5:30 and we headed to the shuttle which was to take us to the theatre so that we could preview the movie, Dolphin Tale 2 which is premiering September 12th.
So, be sure to come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about the movie and I may or may not have actually met some of the stars, (Harry Connick Jr, is hilarious). I promise you don’t want to miss it. In the meantime, if you’d like to see Winter in action, you can visit her webcam here.
Have you heard about Winter before?
Have you ever been to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium?