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Clearwater Marine Aquarium (3) - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Days Out

If you are staying near Clearwater or visiting for the day – and enjoy or want to learn more about Floridian sea life take a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium which is open daily to visitors. It’s not large or commercialised like the more well known Aquariums but even perhaps better described as a friendly rescue centre for marine life.

You can see sharks and fish underwater, touch stingrays, sea starfish, sea urchins and water snails. At the Aquarium you’ll learn about how the animals are cared for after they are rescued, their rehabilitation, how their stamina is built up and nurtured ready for release back into their natural environment. Animals are trained - but if you are thinking they are trained purely to entertain you you’d be wrong. Learning tricks is very important – these are learnt to help them to exercise, not get bored – give them mental stimulation – stop them becoming frustrated whilst in captivity. It also builds up their stamina after they have arrived injured or under-nourished in preparation for their release. Importantly you will also become aware of their protection and conservation work.

If you want, you can become a trainer for the day! You will shadow a trainer and learn about how food is prepared and weighed. Fish is obviously a basic food for marine life and you’ll hear how oil is so important to otters – the oil is needed to maintain their beautiful coats – not just to keep it pretty but it helps provide insulation in cold waters. Otters can be found in strange places and have been known to find their way into car garages.

Dolphins can be rescued when they get into difficulty after being bitten by sharks. One young dolphin had had its tail bitten by a shark and its mother was no where to be seen. As faith is built up with the trainer the dolphin swims off when asked so the trainer can examine its wounds to see how the healing process is progressing.

Three times a day there is a sea life safari eco-tour at 11am, 1. 30pm and 4pm to enjoy.

An enjoyable time – learning whilst having fun – whilst gaining an appreciation of the animals found in Florida. Even if you on holiday in Orlando the Aquarium is just approximately two hours away.

It is open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sundays 10am – 5pm. The basic entrance price is $11 for adults, $9 for Seniors (60+) and $7. 50 for children (3 – 12 years). Trainee for the day is $200 whilst a Dolphin Encounter is $85.

For more information their website is www. cmaquarium. org – telephone number +1 727 447 0980

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