Clearwater Marine Aquarium
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I wanted to do something today and I thought of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I've wanted to visit here for some time, so today was the day. It was a great day for the drive across Tampabay to Clearwater. A crystal blue sky and a nice breeze made the drive even better.
The aquarium is located just across the bayside bridge just before you come to Clearwater Beach. General admission is $11.00, Sea Life Safari(2 hour boat ride) $21.35, Dolphin Photo Opportunity $20.00, Dolphin Encounter $85.00, Day with a Dolphin $85.00, and Trainer for a Day $200.00. They also offer combo packages. They also have dolphin shows and a sea turtle shows thru out the day. The first floor is the gift shop and underwater viewing of the dolphins and fish and petting the stingrays. The second floor is the dolphin and sea turtle shows and a view of the river Otters.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium was started in 1972 as a non-profit, working aqauarium dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured and/or sick marine life. The aquarium also conducts ongoing research and education about Florida's fragile marine enviroment. During the summer months, Loggerhead Sea Turtles are laying their eggs on area beaches. The aquarium monitors 26 miles on Pinellas County Beach front, helping to ensure that these threatened animals will survive to nest again.
“Winter” is our most famous dolphin. You may have seen her featured on the NBC Today Show, CNN, BBC, or hundreds of newspapers around the world. Winter was one of the most difficult strandings we have had at CMA. Her story is a bittersweet realization of the dangers these animals face as a result of human activity in the wild.
At only three months of age, Winter found herself wrapped tightly in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon (near Cape Canaveral) and transported to CMA to begin a long rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Winter lost her entire tail as well as two vertebrae a result of the serious injuries that she had sustained.
Although her story is intriguing, it is also very rare, as many dolphins unfortunately die in monofilament and crab trap lines. Despite the odds against survival, Winter's energy and ability to adapt to her new physical form has surpassed the expectations of many experts. Winter has done amazingly well in the short time since her stranding. She has completely healed, adapted to a new swim pattern, and learned to eat fish on her own…about twelve pounds a day! She is growing quickly, and now weighs in at 230 pounds!