Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

After Solomon's Castle, we went over to Clearwater, FL to visit Winter and Hope from the movie Dolphin Tale.  While sitting in the movie theater a few months ago watching Dolphin Tale 2 Maddi whispered, "Mom is this a real movie?  Can we really see them if we go to Florida?"  "Shhhh! Sure baby." I replied really not paying attention to what she was saying, but the infatuation continued.  We learned about Winter in school, read books about dolphins, and then we were lucky enough to actually meet these sweet little dolphins at their home at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  The fact that they call it an aquarium is quite a stretch.  It's pretty obvious that they use their funds to help save the animals and not to maintain the facility, but Maddi didn't notice the peeling paint or the dripping ceilings.  She was focused on those dolphins.  We got to watch Winter while she swam with her favorite trainer, and we saw Hope in her little area waiting her turn.  We also saw several sea turtles and otters that were being rehabilitated.  We road the trolley across town to a newer addition they called a museum of the Dolphin Tale movie.  This building was much nicer and better maintained.  The kids got to feed blowfish there and then explore prop sets and also see some of the science that went into developing Winter's tail.  They had several of the prototypes that they developed along the way to finding a tail that would work for Winter.  My favorite part was the wall of rehabilitated animals.  It had pictures of the animals they had saved being released back into the wild with their names and release date.  It was pretty impressive to see all of the good work that they do.

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