Friday, February 13, 2009

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

We picked up some visitors from the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, had lunch at Clearwater beach, and went to Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). The animals here have been found injured, are rescued, and then rehabilitated to be released back to their natural habitat. CMA's specialty is with dolphins, sea turtles, and sea otters, to name a few species. Those that can't be released become permanent residents here. What makes this place different from other zoos or aquariums is that each of these animals has a name and a story.

We walked downstairs to look in the windows of the big dolphin tank. This dolphin is one of four permanent residents. His name is Nicholas. The white marks on his back are scars from sunburn. He was stranded as a calf with his mother Noelle on Christmas Eve 2002. His mother did not survive. Nicholas was too young to have learned how to hunt on his own, and has since been a resident here.

Nicholas and a trainer during the dolphin show.

Nicholas looking through the window at Winter. She was very chatty. They say that she is the most vocal dolphin here.

Winter is the most famous resident at CMA. She was found wrapped in a crab trap when she was 3 months old. She lost her tail as a result of her injuries. Winter learned how to swim side to side like sharks do. She has been an inspiration to handicapped people around the world.

A prosthetic tail was developed for her. The new technology developed for the tail has helped improve human prosthetics.

A sea turtle diving. A sign with the name and story for each animal was by their tank.

We enjoyed seeing the animals and seashell displays. Our guests from Ohio had never seen dolphins up close. It's fun introducing people to new experiences.

Admission Fees
Adults $11.00
Children (age 3-12) $7.50
Seniors (age 60+) $9.00

Parking is free.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium also offers boat tours, behind the scenes tours, and dolphin photo ops.

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