I had such a fantastic weekend being a part of the Dolphin Tale 2 Blogger Crew and representing the Tampa Bay Bloggers. As an ambassador for Dolphin Tale 2, which hits theaters on September 12, we had the opportunity to be a part of the this exciting weekend which included a tour of Clearwater Marine Aquarium hosted by David Yates, the CEO of the aquarium, as well as a screening of Dolphin Tale 2, and a roundtable interview with stars of the movie. Because there was so much fun an excitement to this weekend, I will do three posts. This first one will be about our visit to the aquarium.
I have to start out by saying that I have lived in Clearwater for almost 23 years now and I have never been to Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I don’t know why either, because I love dolphins so much. I pass by the aquarium on a weekly basis and I’ve always thought it would be fun to go. And now, I wish I had gone so much sooner.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium has a unique history as it used to be a water treatment facility. The aquarium opened in 1972. The most important function of the aquarium is as a hospital for sick and injured marine life. The rescue of Winter and then Hope brought national attention to the aquarium, putting a spotlight on the important work they do on a daily basis.
When David Yates spoke to us on Saturday, it was very obvious how passionate he is about what he does and he is very sincere about their mission statement, which was written on a board in the meeting room we all gathered in for our Q&A. Rescue, rehabilitation, and release is central to what they do.
He told us about Winter’s arrival and about her rehab and the stages of her prosthetic tail over the years. One of her main trainers, Abby, was there as well to talk to us about her interaction with Winter. Much like David, she is very serious about what she does and the care of Winter and Hope. One thing she said that I thought was wonderful, when talking about Winter’s rehabilitation and working with her, is that it is all on her terms. They do not make them do anything. To me, this is very important for the quality of life of the animals and part of the rehabilitation process.
After the Q&A, we were able to see Winter & Hope with their trainer Abby. Dolphins are such amazing creatures and it was so wonderful to see them interact with each other and with Abby.
I was so excited to have my niece there with me and she enjoyed seeing Winter and Hope, as well as the sea turtles, river otters, sharks and more!
I also love how there are movie props left at the aquarium. The sign for Dr. Clay Haskett on David’s door, the houseboat that Dr. Clay and his daughter Grace lived on, and more. It’s all a reminder that something wonderful took place there.
In my next post, I will review Dolphin Tale 2! In the meantime, please visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium website to learn more about their amazing facility. They even have live webcams! I may have hopped online to watch them a time or two since my visit there on Saturday.
Have you been to Clearwater Marine Aquarium before? If so, what is your favorite part of the aquarium?