Clearwater Marine Aquarium

As some of you may know I am currently in Clearwater Beach in Florida to attend a press preview of Dolphin Tale 2. It has been a fantastic experience so far and today I watched the film and then headed across to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the set of both Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2.

I don’t want to give away too much but Dolphin Tale 2 will be in cinemas in the UK at the beginning of October and it catches up with the true story of Winter the dolphin who lost her tale and learned to swim without it. For those of you who have yet to watch the first film I would definitely recommend it as it is a heart warming film showing animals and humans overcoming adversity. The story of Winter is a true one although it was adapted for the film. 
Dolphin Tale 2 finds Winter sad after the lose of her companion an older female dolphin, Panama. Hope a baby dolphin just a few months old is then rescued and together they become firm friends. Having watched the film and then met both Dolphins it is wonderful to see their characteristics shine through and yes Hope really does love being squirted in the face with a water pistol!

I had the opportunity to talk to Dolphin Trainer Abby Stone about how the pairing of Winter and Hope has gone and it was interesting to hear how they are very much like sisters with Hope still being very young in attitude (after all she is still only 3) and Winter teaching her how to be a more mature dolphin. This also works in the reverse and they have witnessed Winter playing more since Hope came on the scene.

Having watched the dolphins for quite a lot today I am under no illusions that they feel emotions just like we do and you can see the love between Winter and Hope as well as Hopes young playful traits whilst Winter was happy to watch everything that was going on with the film crews on site today.

Dolphin Tale 2 focuses on the other good work that the Clearwater marine Aquarium performs and the film also followed the stories of Mandy and Mavis the turtle both of whom were rescued, rehabilitated and released, the three words that make up Clearwater Marine Aquariums motto and values.
Unfortunately not all the animals are able to be released and Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to some of them. Currently the aquarium has another juvenile female dolphin in quarantine who is thought to be too young for release. They don’t yet know what will happen to her and it is not their decision to make. The national marine fisheries will make a decision on where the dolphin will be housed if she is deemed unable to be released but there is still a chance that she may join Winter and Hope in the future.

Taking to David Yates, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, earlier today I really got a feel for how much Dolphin Tale the movie has impacted on the aquarium with the increase in visitors allowing the center to expand and help with environmental education, additional research and with spreading the inspirational story of Winter and the other animals they rescue.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is currently undergoing an expansion where the resident animals such as Winter and Hope will be rehomed in a new facility purpose built for them and future residents as well as allowing the current facilities to return to its original purpose of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release.

Tomorrow I will have an opportunity to interview some of the stars from the two movies and I look forward to telling you all about it!