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Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

There are numerous aquariums around Florida, but the one probably closest to the Orlando attraction area (excluding those at Sea World & Epcot) is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is a non-profit making, working aquarium whose purpose is dedicated to education, research, and the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded and injured marine life.

The aquarium was founded over 30 years ago by a group of volunteers and now provides a short or long term home for many animals that have been rescued by the aquarium’s Stranding Response Team; one of the most successful of it’s kind in the US. Although quite a few of the sick or injured animals are later released, some have taken up permanent residency due to the degree of their injuries or disabilities. Some of the animal who permanently reside at the aquarium are several species of sea turtle, river otters and bottlenose dolphins

Probably it’s most notable resident is Winter, a female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Found

stranded and entangled in a crab trap, by fishermen near Cape Canaveral, Winter was transported to the aquarium. Winter was severely wounded with many deep cuts, the worst of which severed the blood flow to her tail and caused it to fall off soon after her arrival. Despite expert opinion giving her little chance of survival, the dedication of volunteer staff, giving her around the clock attention, has enabled her to grow into a completely healthy juvenile dolphin, ready and eager to be shown to a waiting audience. The aquarium is also trying to develop a prosthetic tail for Winter to allow her to swim in a normal dolphin style.

The Aquarium runs a variety of presentations roughly every half hour throughout the day, featuring Mo the Sea Turtle, river otters and dolphins - Indy, Panama and Nicholas. Alternatively you can take part in a two hour Sea Life Safari (at an additional cost of $19) or even (for $200) become a ‘Trainer for a Day’. Here you will assist with food preparation for the resident otters and dolphins plus participate in two training sessions with resident dolphins; assist with otter feeding and a training session, and receive a " Trainer for a Day" t-shirt. However, this program, which actually lasts for 4 hours, is offered to only two participants per day – so prior booking is essential if you wish to take part in this unique experience.

Entry to the aquarium is $9 adult & $6. 50 for children (3 –12) and it is located off the Memorial Causeway (Highway 60) between Clearwater and Clearwater Beach. If you are already parked up at Clearwater Beach then as an alternative to driving you can take the Clearwater Jolley Trolley ($1. 25), which stops at the aquarium.

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