My kids are obsessed with the Dolphin Tales Movies so when we were near Tampa we had to go visit Winter and Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It's located at Clearwater Florida, just west of Tampa.
Visiting Winter and Hope at Clearwater Marine Aquarium – Clearwater, Florida
We visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 2 years ago and coming in time is a night a day difference. They are in the middle of major renovations. They now have a massive parking garage and a new ticket area with movie props.
Once you have your tickets follow Winter into the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
When you enter there is a covered area where you can get your photo take in front of a green screen and grab some snacks and drinks and sit down for a quick lunch.
You enter into the gift shop and then you have 4 ways you can go. You can pick from Stingray Bay, the animal hospital, the underwater viewing of the shark area and Winter and Hope, and then the upstairs and upper viewing areas.
The kids wanted to start at the animal hospital. This is what CMA is built around and why Winter and Hope came here!
The first room in the hospital is a glass room where you can watch what they are doing. While we were there they were prepping this turtle to get ready to be released the next day!
You can see it in the video at the bottom of this post.
You head down the rest of the hallway they have walls of windows. You can watch the food being prepped and see the board of who is in the hospital then.
You can see the sick bays with the different animals. They didn't have many there when we were there (which is a good thing!) They did have a few turtles and a tank of tiny baby seahorses.
Next, we went over to see the stingrays. I love the side windows on the tanks because even my youngest can see them. They have a stage where they do talks and trivia games.
They also allow you to pet the stingrays and even feed them.
Then after washing our hands (several times), we headed into seeing the sharks! This is the underwater viewing area straight ahead when you enter the aquarium.
Around the corner is a hallway called the Sea Cavern.
This is where they a touch tank with hermit crabs, sea urchins, and spider crabs. There is a tank with pufferfish, and one with an eel. There is also a massive wall of windows looking into the shark tank with the sharks and fish swimming by. Video on that in the video at the bottom of the post.
Continuing down the hall you come to the underwater viewing area for Winter, Hope, and PJ. Now in the video below, I share PJs story and you can watch the 3 of them play together.
Then you can head upstairs to see the sharks, and the dolphins and other animals. First is the upper view of the shark tank and next door to that is Winter Zone.
But first behind there is Dr. Clay Haskets office, the one from the movie. They said they haven't touched it since the movie.
This is also where we did our meet and greet with 2 of the actresses from the movies. They do many meets and greets throughout the year with different actors and actresses from the movies.
Ok now for the main attraction. Winter, Hope, and PJ! Yes, there is a 3rd Dolphin! You can learn her story on this video here.
There is always someone there to answer questions, and to give you information on what is going on in the tank. This is also where the deck is to have your photo taken or feed them if you buy this extra package.
From there you have 3 more animals to see!
The pelicans like the one who played Rufus!
Then there are the Otters. These guys are so lazy all they did was lay there!
Next door is the massive turtles they have rescued. See more on both the otters and the turtles in the video at the bottom of the post.
They have a whole outdoor Dolphin area for their only male Dolphin Nicolas.
You can also get a sneak peek into more of their animals Hospital too.
They have all sorts of fun extras that you can add on to your daily ticket too! Check their website but we did two of them.
The first was a photo opportunity and feeding Hope! They took a TON of photos and we got to pet and feed Hope!
The second add on was their Sea Life Safari boar ride. They also have a dolphin safari that out specifically looking for dolphins.
You can get all the details on the Sea Life Safari Boat ride in this video. But in short, there is a marine biologist on board and they are doing a harbor sample to see the status of the harbor and sea life and you get to join and watch!
Here is what we caught during our boat ride.
They also stop the boat at one of the island in the harbor and let you get off and walk around and stick your feet in the water.
Have you been to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to visit Winter and Hope? Let us know how it went in the comments below!
Don't forget to grab your Tampa Bay CityPASS for discounted tickets!