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Monday, November 07, 2011

Our Visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter from the Movie Dolphin Tale

Last week we were very blessed to have been able to spend our vacation in sunny Florida.  After watching the movie Dolphin Tale, one of the places we knew we wanted to visit was the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA).  For those who have seen the movie Dolphin Tale, this is one place worth going to.  (If you haven't seen the movie yet, I highly recommend you do.  It was one of the best family movies I have seen in a long time.  You can read my review here.)

We were so excited to see Winter in person, and what a sweet, beautiful dolphin she is.  (I love dolphins!)

It was such a treat to see all the areas in which the filming of the movie took place.  Today I will share with you most of what we saw; the rest you'll hopefully have a chance to see for yourself one day.

Remember the door that Sawyer sneaked in on his first visit to CMA?  It's one of the first things you'll pass as you go towards the entrance.

Upon arrival, the first display we saw was the rope and crab trap which Winter, only a couple of months old at the time, had mistakenly took for a toy and got herself tangled up in it.  It was wrapped so tightly around the area above her tail that it cut off her blood flow.  Eventually her tail fell off.

We had the opportunity to hold one of the prosthetic tails she had outgrown.  There was definitely some weight to it.

We arrived just in time to see the first demonstration in which we saw Winter perform several fun tricks for us.  We saw her swim with and without her prosthetic tail.  She was so much fun to watch!

Below is a video in which you can learn more about Winter's story.  You'll also see Winter perform her tricks and see how her prosthetic tail is put on.

Below are some photos of my sons taken in front of the pool which was used during the filming of the movie.  I also included a photo of the sign explaining this scene location in more detail.


The sign below reads, "In this scene, Clay, Sawyer, and Hazel have a sleepover to keep watch on Winter in her first days at CMA.  While lying on their sleeping bags, Sawyer asks Clay if Winter can remember the ocean and her family.  While carving a dolphin in the shape of Winter, Clay tells them a legend of how dolphins came to be.  At the end of the scene, Clay tosses the completed carving to Sawyer."

Below are some views from the Dolphin Deck:

Some more photos:

Above is Winter's peduncle x-ray.

The sign below reads, "In these scenes, a hurricane hits the area and the Clearwater Marine Hospital team hurriedly prepares for its arrival.  The actual hurricane scenes were shot in the area to the West of the building which was formerly a parking lot (as seen in the movie) and this alley, where Clay exits from the door to the left of this sign and examines the wreckage.  The Alcon production crew used high-velocity fans and watering devices to create the scene.  In the scene, the Clearwater Marine Hospital rescue van and a rescue boat were turned on their side, with trees uprooted around them."

This is the van that is used to rescue the animals.
Below are photos of the front and back of the houseboat which was designed and built specifically for the movie as explained in the sign.

There is so much more to see at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  They have a total of four dolphins including Winter, Panama, Hope, and Nicholas.  They each have their own interesting story.  Nicholas performs his own special tricks.  While there, watch their sea otters play and learn more about their other sea animals. If you live in the area, this would make a wonderful field trip.

Before leaving, don't forget to visit their gift shop.  I now own two of my very own Dolphin Tale T-shirts. 

This was one of our favorite places to visit while in Florida.

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  1. This is amazing!! NOw I really, really want to make that trip with our family! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. ASliceofHomeschoolPieNovember 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    So glad you enjoyed reading it!

  3. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this story. Love the video and pictures. Yes I have seen the movie and can't wait to visit Winter. Thanks again!


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