Clearwater BoatHave you seen the movie Dolphin Tale? It’s a movie inspired by the true story of the dolphin Winter (who also stars in the movie) and it’s based on events that happened at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium! You can visit Winter and all of her friends at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. This marine life rescue center is not just a tourist attraction to see sea animals like San Diego whale watching would be on the other side of the States, it’s an actual working rescue and rehabilitation operation that saves the lives of numerous sea creatures each year.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium ~

Clearwater Aquarium Winter ZoneWe spent quite a while on a rainy day exploring the exhibits at the Aquarium and getting to know the sea creatures that reside there. It’s not just Winter that is the star at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, you can meet many other sea creatures like her best friend Hope who was the star of Dolphin Tale 2 and many more who have been rescued by the good folks at CMA. Sam’s favorite was the paralyzed otter who swam like a champ despite the challenges. While visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium you can even watch medical procedures done to sea creatures through viewing windows in their surgical suites. The staff is awesome, they spend so much time talking to visitors and helping you get to know each individual marine animal and how they came to live at CMA.

Clearwater Aquarium Otter

Clearwater Aquarium Rufus

Clearwater Aquarium Dolphin

Clearwater Aquarium Dolphin TaleAfter spending the morning at CMA we went to lunch at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill on the beach and then headed to the Aquarium’s second location, “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure”. If you are visiting the Aquarium you can take a trolley or boat shuttle between the two locations, but since we took a break for lunch we just drove to the second location. They are just minutes away from each other. “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure” was a really cool hands-on experience for the kids where they could touch sea creatures, have a real life hurricane experience and play carnival games. They also got to see some of the props and sets from the Dolphin Tale movie up close, which was really cool!

Clearwater Aquarium Dolphin Tale Garage

Clearwater Aquarium Dolphin Tale Set 1

Clearwater Aquarium Chairs

Clearwater Aquarium Max

Clearwater Aquarium Henry Fish Face

Clearwater Aquarium SurgeryThe Clearwater Marine Aquarium is unlike any other aquarium we have visited, because their focus is on saving and rehabilitating sea life in their surrounding area. We thought it was really cool that after we visited CMA we saw their employees out and about while we were visiting the beach at John’s Pass. They would come to check on Sea Turtle nests each day and also closely monitored an injured dolphin that lived near Madeira Beach. The folks at the Clearwater Aquarium are so obviously dedicated to and passionate about the work that they do to save sea creatures of all shapes and sizes. They even told us about how they have to use specific light settings for certain species, mainly the corals. Different species of coral need ceratin light types to ensure they grow well, which is why they use lights similar to aquarium lights reviewed on

Clearwater Aquarium Eel

Clearwater Aquarium Bone YardIf you are planning a visit to the Tampa Bay area you really should plan for a day at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and take into consideration that the cost of your tickets is truly going to a great organization that is working tirelessly to rescue marine animals in need. The CMA offers two locations, a glimpse into the Dolphin Tale movies, boat tours, and more. Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for more information about all the great things they do and to plan your visit!

Clearwater Dolphin Max

Clearwater RainFlorida Vacation 2015: For our Summer Vacation this year we spent ten days in Florida, exploring the Tampa Bay and Gulf area with our family. There was an unusual amount of rain while we were there, but fortunately for us there’s plenty of fun to be had indoors. We spent quite a bit of our trip exploring museums, an aquarium, breweries, restaurants and more!

I’ll be sharing our Florida vacation adventures in a series of posts in the hopes that they will inspire you to plan a trip to Florida for your family! Many thanks to my friends at the St. Pete’s & Clearwater Visitor’s Bureau for helping me plan this trip. So many memories were created while we were there!

For more posts about things to do in Florida visit my Florida Travel Archives.

Disclaimer: My family was given tickets to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for review purposes, but the opinions are 100% my own.

Clearwater Henry