If you take a look at my bucket list, on the tippy top is meeting a dolphin (don’t laugh). This past month, this dream of mine came true! If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, be sure to make a stop at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is the home of the stars of the Dolphin Tale movie. Although it is going through some major remodeling at the moment, the aquarium still looks the way it does in the movie, minus the main aquarium space in the movie that was constructed at a nearby warehouse.
The love that all of the trainers have for these animals is truly amazing. They truly care for each and every one of their dolphins, sea turtles, otters, stingrays, pelicans, etc. Although most of the animals in the aquarium are unable to be released back into the wild, they make their tanks fun and exciting so that the animals are comfortable and entertained. The animals that they are able to rehabilitate and release back into the wild are protected from the public eye so that when they are released, they still have a healthy fear of humans. The animals who are unable to leave have various conditions that would not allow them live safely in the wild.
For example, Winter the dolphin lost her tale and requires special attention. Hope was orphaned as a calf, so she did not learn the basics of living and providing for herself. Nicholas was also orphaned when his mother passed away. He suffered with major sunburn and still has the scars to show today. Walle the river otter was taken out of the wild and raised as a pet, however he became harder to take care of when he got older, so the aquarium took him in. There is also a blind sea turtle among the residents. This is only to name a few of these magnificent creatures.
I had been to Tampa about five times in the past year. Most of those times were for surgeries. This totally sounds cheesy, but those dolphins were an inspiration to me! If they could get through life’s hardships and make it through okay, so could I! So as you can see, meeting a dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium was a big deal. The dolphin that I got to meet was Nicholas and he was a cutie! I also got to feed him some small fish, which was so much fun!
This aquarium does so many great things. I highly recommend you visiting if you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area.