In recent years, CMA has gained global recognition as the home to Winter, the dolphin found trapped in a crab net who ultimately lost the back part of her tail and received the first ever prosthetic fluke and joint tail to be put on a dolphin.
Winter’s story and others like it are the heart and soul of CMA’s mission. Not only is it a great place to visit and view all manner of adorable and noble sea creatures, it is a “rescue, rehab and release” facility.
Exhibits for visitors run the gamut from dolphins and sea turtles to otters, stingrays and sharks. But at its core, CMA is a hospital for sick and injured marine life. They take sad stories and turn them into inspirational tales of survival.
Almost daily, young people and adults who have experienced life-changing injury and illness visit Winter and draw inspiration from her sweetness and strength.
(TISSUE ALERT: I couldn’t get through this video dry-eyed).
The Aquarium hosts educational programs (including offerings for homeschool students), as well as scientific research. CMA programs help make young people (and all people) more aware of preservation and conservation of our environment. For example, did you know there’s a free app for your Smartphone called Seafood Watch that lets you know what seafood is most sustainable and best to eat?
The Aquarium also monitors 26 miles of coast line to study sea turtle nesting, and has successfully released more than 60,000 sea turtle hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico since 2005.
Here are some of the cool things to see when you visit CMA:
For something that’s fun, educational and inspirational for the whole family, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is just down the street from Bamboo Beach Club and will be time well spent.
What’s your favorite ocean dweller? Tell us about your best Florida aquarium experiences.
Photo courtesy of City of Clearwater.