Tag Archives: Winter the dolphin

Winter the dolphin

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A Day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine AquariumThe Clearwater Marine Aquarium has grown into a beach vacation activity that can last a family the better part of a day. Thanks to the Dolphin Tale movies with stars Winter and Hope, interest in the aquarium has risen dramatically, and the things to do and see at the facility have expanded. Going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is no longer confined to just the main building. You can now take a ferry ride across the harbor, a marine excursion onto the bay, and see an expanded exhibit detailing the filming of the Dolphin Tale movie. All of that is in addition to seeing the dolphin movie stars Winter and Hope, along with the other rescued sea life at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

 

Harborview Center

A great way to see all the sights at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is to start at the Harborview Center. The Harborview Center is located off the beach in downtown Clearwater, at the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Street. Inside you will find displays showing you and your kids about the making of the Dolphin Tale movie. While you walk through the center, you will pass various TVs running scenes from the film. Some of the scenes were actually shot at the Harborview Center, allowing you to compare the physical settings in front of you to the movie scenes. Plenty of fun facts about Winter and the movie are posted for visitors to read.  In the Dolphin Tale film, a hurricane impacts the Clearwater area. You can experience a simulated hurricane in an exhibit which puts you at a mock up of a city street with hurricane winds blowing. A hands-on sea life tank allows the kids (and kids at heart) to touch a variety of sea animals. When your viewing is done, you can grab a souvenir at the gift shop to take home some Winter the dolphin memorabilia.

 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Ferry

Clearwater Beach causewayWhether you start at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or the Harborview Center, getting from one building to the other is not only easy, it’s fun! You can choose between the Jolly Trolley or the Clearwater Marine Aquarium ferry. The Jolly Trolley is an open air trolley that services Clearwater Beach and the coastline northward to Tarpon Springs. You will be treated to a ride over the scenic causeway bridge, which is included in the price of your admission. Also included in your admission is the alternate water crossing on the ferry. Enjoy a ride under the bridge instead, giving you close up views of Clearwater Harbor.

 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Features

Dolphin TaleThe highlight of the tour for fans of Winter the dolphin is a trip to see the celebrity dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The aquarium is located halfway across the causeway to Clearwater Beach, in the Island Estates community. Once you arrive at the aquarium, you can view the houseboat used in the filming of Dolphin Tale, which is docked near the entrance. On your way in, be sure to get a green screen photo of your family that you can purchase later with fun sea life edited in around you. The well-stocked gift shop greets you as you walk through the doors, with lots of cool stuff for the kids and the adults. Near the entrance is a small movie theater and a sting ray tank where you can touch the rays. Sea TurtleOn the same level you will find a pirate themed hallway, a life sized diorama of area sea life, and a large tank with fish and a shark. You can also find a kids’ room with drawing books, a TV, smaller aquarium tanks, and full skeletons of otters, dolphins, and a species of a rare, small whale. Nearby is a tank housing rescued sea turtles, giving visitors fantastic underwater views. After you explore the ground floor, it is time to head upstairs to see the famous dolphins.

Winter and Hope

Winter the DolphinViewing Winter the dolphin from Dolphin Tale I, and her new co-star, Hope, from Dolphin Tale II, is very easy. Their tanks are in the open, allowing for plenty of opportunities to view them. During our visit to the aquarium, Winter and Hope where in separate tanks. The two solved the problem by whistling to one another over the wall between them. A larger tank joins to the private ones, allowing Winter and Hope to interact. While we were there, some of the kids lined up for a chance to stand on a platform in front of Hope’s tank to personally meet her.

Rescued Sea Life

Dolphin Tale pelicanNearby you can find a pair of white pelicans which were used in the filming of Dolphin Tale I and II. Other tanks on the same level contain rescued sea turtles and sea otters. Be sure to grab a schedule at the door or check online to find out when the aquarium staff and volunteers will be giving educational talks. You can learn about the lives of these animals in the wild and about the risks they fell victim to that led them to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Another fun attraction is on the top deck of the aquarium. There you will find Nicholas, a dolphin rescued from a stranding along with his mother. Although his mother did not survive, Nicholas has done very well. He is now well known for his antics, such as doing spontaneous flips or splashing the audience. He is young and playful, earning him a reputation as the most energetic dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

 

Sealife Safari Boat Tour

Sealife SafariOne of the best parts of the adventure at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the Sealife Safari boat tour. Aquarium staff take you on a ride across Clearwater Harbor with some special extras in store. The boat trails a net across the seafloor, pulling up local sea life that are then displayed in tanks throughout the rest of that day before being released. Kids and adults can view native sea life up close, such as sea horses, sea urchins, pin fish, flounder, and more. It is fun to note that when catfish are caught, they are thrown back, because the dolphins of the harbor like to eat them. You stand an excellent chance of seeing local dolphins while out on the bay waters. The boat stops at a popular boating destination called Shell Island. The island is aptly named. It is a shell pile create when the boating channel was dredged in earlier decades. Nowadays boaters can stop off at the island, collecting shells to their hearts’ desire. The Sealife Safari boat allows you to disembark on the tiny island for a short stay before heading back across the water of the harbor. The boat ride offers fantastic views of the turquoise waters of the bay, the shoreline of the City of Clearwater, the beach causeway and bridge, and the barrier island of Sand Key. Sealife Safari is a hit with kids and it is a great way for adults to experience Clearwater Harbor.

 

Perfect Family Outing at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Sea TurtleThe Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a perfect family outing while staying at Clearwater Beach. Aside from the attractions already at the famous Gulf Coast beach, you can spend the better part of the day touring this now-famous facility. It is a favorite for kids who loved the Dolphin Tale movies and has actually spawned an increase in tourism to the area, being named Florida’s number one attraction by a 2013 USA Today readers’ poll. If your vacation destination this year is Clearwater Beach, be sure to put the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on your list.

Dolphin Tale I Trailer

Dolphin Tale II Trailer


Other posts you might enjoy:

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach Earns Two More Top Rankings

The Best Beaches in America

Fort DeSoto

Fort DeSoto State Park

In mid December we posted a blog entitled The Best Beaches in America. In it we described that the Florida Central Gulf Coast had secured a winning place on four different Best Of lists. In two short weeks before the year could end Clearwater Beach won two more top spots. Although 2013 has come to an end, people discovering the wonders of our area will surely continue onward into 2014.

 

Best WiFi Beach in the World

WiFi at Clearwater BeachIn a contest for the best WiFi beach in the world, Clearwater Beach was listed first on Geekabout.com. The reason Geekabout gave was the large number of access sites relative to the size of the beach. This is true. Popular Clearwater Beach is located on a small barrier island on the Florida Gulf Coast. With such a small space, it is not hard to imagine getting good access to the Internet from just about anywhere. Open air bars, bistros, coffee shops, pizza diners, and ice cream shops all have great places to sit and enjoy the use of a hand held device or a lap top. If you take your gadget onto the sand, you can even sit under a sun umbrella or catch a tan while surfing the net or checking your email.

 

Winter the Dolphin Earns Clearwater Marine Aquarium the Top Florida Attraction

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Dolphin Tale 2 film crew at work

Winter the Dolphin has put Clearwater Beach on the map for many people across the globe. Youngsters everywhere know about Clearwater Beach and our favorite marine mammals, the bottlenose dolphin. Dolphin Tale was a hit at the box office, inspiring a sequel that boasts a return of the complete cast of Hollywood elites. With the new dolphin, Hope, costarring in the sequel, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium certainly will continue to draw in new visitors from near and far. The aquarium recently won the number one spot in the USA Today poll of top Florida attractions. With the white sands of Clearwater Beach so near to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the allure of the area as a Florida vacation destination has been bumped up yet another notch.

 

Related Posts:

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7 best days in Clearwater Beach Families

Day 1 Arrive at Clearwater Beach

Arrive in town. Enjoy your ride from the airport across the beautiful causeway!

Check in with Florida Beach Rentals.

Introduce yourselves to Clearwater Beach with a stroll on the sand

Find your way off the sand at Jimmy’s Fish House. The Bang Bang Shrimp is a Florida Beach Rentals staff favorite!

Enjoy sunset from the restaurant or stroll back onto the sand to dip your toes in the surf.

Relax at your beautiful rental to charge up for a great beach vacation at Clearwater Beach. Sneak in a nightcap on the patio after the kids are asleep!

 

Day 2 Sightseeing at Clearwater Beach

Breakfast at the Clear Sky Beachside Café. Great breakfast specials!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Sea Life Safari for the kids. Home of Winter the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale. Hint-watch the movie before you go!

Optional road trip to area theme parks like Busch Gardens, Legoland, Lowry Zoo or Dinosaur World. Kids go crazy for these!

Live music and dinner at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar. Right at one of the most popular and active areas of the beach!

Sunset at the beach. Take beach chairs, towels, or just stroll along. A football for the kids is a smart move!

After the sun goes down, why not head out for some local putt putt golf at Congo River, Smugglers Cove, or Captain Bligh’s Landing. The local courses have great themes!

 

Day 3 Dolphin Sightings

Breakfast out at the Beach Shanty restaurant. Great reviews online!

Make the most of the beach with a morning in the sun and surf. Some of the best beach weather is in the morning!

Grab lunch at the original Frenchy’s Café. A great little diner just off of Mandalay Ave!

Grab a dolphin sighting tour with Little Toot, The Tropics, or Sea Screamer. Take your camera!

Dinner at the lively Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. Indoor and outdoor dining right off the sand!

Catch Pier 60 nightly sunset festival for live music, live shows, artists, souvenirs, and much more.

 

Day 4 on Mandalay Avenue

Try coffee for you and pastries for the kids from Starbucks in the Sand Pearl Hotel. Right next door to Florida Beach Rentals!

Stroll and shop on Mandalay Ave. Take the kids to Four Monkeys Candy Connection- if you dare!

Lunch at Gondolier Pizza.

Afternoon under a beach umbrella with beach or water craft rentals for the kids. Splurge with a jet ski or be surprised at how much fun the kids can have with a 5 dollar inflatable raft!

A finer dining experience at Island Way Grill. Enjoy the pleasant interior or beautiful outdoor deck overlooking Clearwater Harbor. Check out the kids menu and early bird special!

Sunset watch or sit down at the beach. Hint-area hotels rent chairs and umbrellas!

 

Day 5 Day Trip

Breakfast snacks on the beach. A sandy stroll is a great way to start the day!

Optional day trip to Tarpon Springs sponge docks and shops, including the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and playroom. Kids love this!

Grab a famous Tarpon Springs Greek lunch, followed by mouthwatering desert. Watch your kids’ eyes when they see these deserts!

Take a sunset cruise on Clearwater Harbor with pirate Captain Memo or on board the Calypso Queen. These are must-do cruises for Clearwater Beach vacations!

Grab a unique seaside dinner at the Bait House. On the pier, not far from cruise rentals!

 

Day 6 Vacation Paradise

You’ve been here five days. Day number six belongs to you. It’s time to check into all those places you’ve spotted along the way.

Coffee at that local breakfast diner you spied the other day.

Rent bicycles or something else to tour the beach.

Lunch at that beach diner you’ve had your eye on.

Rent your favorite watercraft at the beach.

Dinner at that restaurant you passed up earlier in the week.

One last sunset at Pier 60 where you buy that souvenir you wish you’d picked up the first time. Catch the Pier 60 outdoor movies which play Friday and Saturday nights!

Grab a final evening stroll along Mandalay Avenue’s gift shops. You can’t go home without that T-shirt that says you were here!

 

Day 7 Farewell

Farewell sunrise walk.

Check out with Florida Beach Rentals.