Wed. Oct. 26th, we visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium - a rescue hospital housed in a decommissioned Clearwater waste treatment plant - to visit Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic tail. Unlike Sea World, which charges $80 to watch dolphins perform, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium charges $14.95 ($10.95 if purchased through AAA) to spend an entire day getting up close and personal with Winter and her three friends, Panama (45 ), Nicholas (12 ) and Hope, a year old dolphin who was found attempting to nurse from her deceased mother the very day the movie - "Dolphin Tale" wrapped up. We also saw sea otters, large sea turtles and watched sharks being fed. Both above and under water viewing is available for dolphins and sharks. Injured animals are treated and released unless they are too badly injured or were too young when rescued to have developed the social and survival skills needed to live in the wild.
We opted for a VIP ticket for $34.95 which entitled us to a days' admission plus a backstage tour, a 2 hour eco-cruise and a 10% discount in the gift shop. Lunch can be purchased aboard the colorful boat - Calypso Queen. The facility is completely handicap accessible.
We had a wonderful day and will definitely pay a return visit.