We loved the movie Dolphin Tales, so we decided to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium when we left Disney World. It’s only around a 2 hour drive to Clearwater and we totally felt it was worth the drive. The aquarium is just like the one in the movies (makes sense since most of it was filmed there). The girls were so excited to meet Winter and I have to admit so was my daughter and I.
We arrived around mid-afternoon and it wasn’t crowded at all. The staff are great and happy to share information and show you around. They even have a gift shop where we spent nearly an hour before we left. Of course, we wanted to meet Winter as soon as we got there and I have to say it was one of those moments you know you will never forget. I know the girls will never forget it either. They still talk about it. We were lucky enough to snap a couple of pictures and Winter was not camera shy at all.
One of the staff members showed us how to go down the stairs so we could see Winter under water through a porthole in the side of the tank. We were treated with a close up of Winter, who noticed us, and swam straight up to the glass. There is just nothing to compare with seeing that sweet face close up and you almost felt like she was connecting with you on some level. All four of us just stood there for a moment and even though it was just a moment before Winter swam away, it was a great experience and one I will never forget.
We picked up some cool souvenirs in the gift shop, took some more pictures outside and then headed back out to start our journey back home. I really recommend you make the trip over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet Winter and now they also have the dolphin from the second movie there.