Since the big move, we’re beginning to fall into our newfound family rhythm… sort of. But in between the moments exploring our new place and settling into a new flow as we meld with the tempo of this new home and new city, we’ve been experiencing what this coastal living, salty-aired place is all about.
Just a week after we walked through the threshold of our new place, the hit movie Dolphin Tale, which ruled the box office last week, opened in theaters. What we didn’t know before moving is that a local aquarium we had talked about taking the kids to was actually the set, origination of the storyline and home to the star of the cute new movie. So one morning, before heading to the theater, we excitedly ventured off to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet Winter, the sweet little dolphin who lost her tail, and some of the other adorable rescue animals the aquarium houses.
The actual rescue of Winter happened in late 2005, and her story is real… though with slightly less drama than the movie.
See the peduncle the trainer is touching where the tail should be? After being caught in a crab trap line and losing her tail fin as a result, this tough little cookie learned to swim without it.
But Winter is most definitely a mix of feisty and sweet, just like in the movie… and her prosthetic tail and super soft, stretchy sock are all real. She doesn’t wear it all the time, as she’s learned to swim perfectly fine without it, but she does get a couple hours of physical therapy with it each day so that her muscles continue to develop properly.
See these two little fishies? They’re my favorite. I took them home with me.
The houseboat built for the motion picture is still on the property as well, looking just as lived in as ever.
The great thing about the place is that it really is an animal rescue and shelter, so all of the mammals there are being treated so they can be released back out into the wild… although there are a few that are “lifers” for one reason or another.
Meet Nicholas. The frisky boy dolphin who came in when he and his mother were found stranded with bad sunburns. Unfortunately, his mama didn’t make it and since he didn’t learn to survive on his own, he’s one of the “lifers.” But I don’t think he minds… ’cause he just likes to splash. A lot. Brayden loved watching him until that big tail fin soaked us all… then I had to hide my camera and bounce away my little guy’s tears with a swaying lap.
All of the dolphin tanks can be viewed from above as well as from below through the glass.
We left with a big place in our heart for Winter, and the rest of her little marine friends, a membership so we can hop down the street to visit anytime we want and a few new friends of our own after learning more about them. Namely, Oscar the Otter and Brayden’s favorite… the school of fish in the Nurse Shark tank.
If you happen upon the Clearwater, Florida area anytime soon, definitely check out the CMA.
Christina Lusk says
Dolphin Tale was our first family trip to the theater together. Now, we can’t wait to experience this next month! Looking forward to being together again with much missed friends as well. xoxo
This is so cool that you got to actually see the real Winter. I took my son to see the movie a couple weeks ago and love it. I wish that we lived close enough to go to the CMA. 🙂
Melanie @ Whimsical Creations says
What an amazing place to visit!!
Looks like you guys are settling nicely. 🙂
Love the photos of the kids framed in the tank “window” ~ and I’m reminded of the “Free Willy” movies we loved when my kids were little and out trip to the Oregon Aquarium where he lived. For my kids it was better then meeting a movie star!!
That really is neat, I know my animal lover daughter would love going there.
What an amazing story, you know it touched all of our hearts. Can’t wait to meet her face-to-face. 😉
How cool! I bet Aliyah just thought that was the greatest thing meeting a “movie star” 🙂 And perfect timing to visit!