Ever since I watched the movie, “A Dolphin’s Tale,” I have entertained the idea of visiting Winter, who was the star of the show.
After her amazing rescue and rehabilitation, she became a permanent resident of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium along with her best friend, PJ, and many other terrific sea animals.
When my bestie and I were planning our girl’s trip, I mentioned this desire and we planned our trip around CMA.
So, I had a beautiful experience watching the dolphin besties communicating with their adorable clicks and whistles as they played spontaneously. T and I watched them for over an hour. It was so amazing, that I did find myself moved to tears at one point.
But, you won’t only see Winter. We also enjoyed sea turtles, sharks and stingrays. You will also learn much information about the animals and the rescue efforts.
I completely recommend visiting this place. But, there are some things you should know before you go. It is not Sea World or a commercial aquarium for entertainment. It is a working research, rescue, and rehab facility. If you are expecting Sea World, then go there. At CMA you will be educated and you will be entertained, but the “shows” are more like educational presentations. When the animals are performing, it is their actual training session.
There are areas that are narrow and can feel congested. Bring your patience.
Study their website and download their app. Follow the directions and recommendations.
Consider the weather forecast in your planning, as some activities are weather dependent. If they cancel, you can reschedule, so plan this experience early in your vacation, in case your weather doesn’t cooperate.
Purchase your tickets online, in advance and arrive early in the day. If not, you will find yourself waiting in line.
There are different add-ons to the general admission that include dolphin boat excursions and live animal encounters.
The cafe is good. I was expecting more of a concession stand, but we were able to get a grilled chicken salad that was actually quite good.
If you are into souvenirs, bring plenty of money. This was one way CMA was like other attractions.
They took adorable souvenir photos that we were unable to resist.
The gift shop is well-stocked with a variety of pricey merchandise.
If you love and care about marine animals, you will love your visit to CMA.