Favorites To Do: The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Favorites To Do:  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The Home to Winter the Dolphin


Julie Lancaster-Whann and Gordon Whann

Welcome to our ‘Favorite Links’ page. 
We post here various sight seeing attractions in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg/Indian Shores/Tampa Bay area.  Giving you information and a little insight on what there is to do. 
Winter the dolphin is a favorite of ours to write about.  Here I’m posting my new print that I just bought by Winter. 
I LOVE it!

Winter’s Ocean Blue


                                                                                                                                                                                 Here Winter is painting my picture. 

Next time your in Florida be sure to visit Winter at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. 




Favorites To Do

 We went to see Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, in Clearwater, Florida for probably the 10th. time since we have lived here. This time we went with our Canadian friends who were down here visiting.  Here are some photos of our day.  It was a great trip and a very worthwhile adventure.

Where DOLPHIN TALE the movie was filmed.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sherry, Ryan, Matthew, John and Carson, our friends from Canada.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

This houseboat is a prop from the movie Dolphin Tale.  You can also see
the “crow’s nest” pictured here that was in the movie as well.
To the right and below, sets from the movie.  Sawyer’s garage.P7080267_small                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Matthew, Ryan and Carson hamming it up for the photos.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Clearwater Marine Aquarium trainers working with the dolphins.



  And here is WINTER!! 

She is preparing for her show.


Winter The Dolphin

Meet Winter

The first dolphin to ever have a prosthetic tail.

Winter the Dolphin

This past September 2011, a movie featuring our little Clearwater Marine Aquarium dolphin named Winter, with the prosthetic tail, aired in theaters all over the world.  The first dolphin to ever have a prosthetic tail.  Winter’s true story is a bit different from the movie but none the less just as inspiring.  Winter is an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin, well known for their intelligence.  Winter was originally found on one very cold Florida morning on December 10, 2005 by a fisherman named Jim Savage in Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast of Florida.  The reason she is named Winter is because of that very cold winter day that she was found.

This fisherman saw this little female dolphin caught in a crab trap, tangled up in the ropes and cut her free.  He noticed that she was having trouble and in distress.  Limping around the lagoon and not swimming away.  He knew that she needed help so he contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Jim watched over the dolphin until the rescue team arrived a few hours later.  It took them awhile to catch little Winter but when they finally did they realized that her injuries were quite severe.  They then transported her to The Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the west coast of Florida, and just a few miles up the coast from our rental condo here in Indian Shores. 

They didn’t believe that Winter would survive the trip across Florida, but she did.  When she arrived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium they estimated that Winter was no more than two or three months old.  In the wild dolphins drink their mother’s milk until they are two years old.  The aquarium staff stayed with Winter around the clock to make sure that her blowhole stayed above the water.  It was also quite hard to teach her to feed.  She didn’t understand the concept of a bottle.  It took the staff a week to teach Winter to feed from a bottle.  Unfortunately Winter was still very sick.  The rope of the crab trap was wound so tightly around her tail that it had cut off the blood flow.  Pieces of her tail were starting to fall off.  Eventually, her whole tail fell off. 

Winter did start to swim on her own but she didn’t swim like other dolphins.  She started to swim like fish, from side to side.  Winter had actually taught herself to swim in a way that is not known to dolphins.  But this way of swimming was causing a great strain on her back.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Kevin Carroll and his prosthetic tail he invented for Winter.



When Winter was about a year old NBC’s Today Show did a segment on her.  People starting coming to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter.  She was becoming quite the celebrity.  She especially appealed to a handicapped audience.  A man named Kevin Carroll heard about Winter and contacted the Clearwater Marine Aquarium wanting to help.  He offered to make Winter a prosthetic tail to help her swim.  Unfortunatly dolphins have very sensitive skin so a barrier, a prosthetic skin, would have to be made between the dolphin’s tail and the prosthetic.  When Winter was given her tail the trainers worked very hard to train her to use it.  Winter now wears her tail every day, but only for short periods of time.  The goal is to have her wear it for a few hours every day in order to keep her backbone healthy and her body flexible.  Some days Winter doesn’t want to take it off.  Sometimes Winter will chase the tail in the water while swimming in circles.  Other times she likes to show it off to a fellow dolphin, Panama.  

Thanks to Winter prosthetic technology is advancing.  After creating the silicone gel to make Winter’s prosthetic more comfortable, the gel is also being introduced to humans to make their prosthetics more comfortable. 

People from all over the world flock to see Winter.  Winter also seems to have a special feeling toward humans, as most dolphins do.  She has also inspired and helped others with their disabilities.  One little girl refused to wear her hearing aid until she met Winter.  Iraq War veterans are finding solace and inspiration from Winter.  Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins have a lifespan of about 50 years in the wild.  But only 6 years in captivity.  But in Winter’s case she would not survive in the wild. 

For more information on Winter you can visit the aquarium website.

Also you can read ‘Winter’s Tail, How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again.  Told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff. 


Winter’s Tail
How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again


For more information on purchasing Winter gifts just click on the link above.  20% of all proceeds go to help foster children find forever homes.  You can also adopt Winter or the other Clearwater Marine Aquarium animals those proceeds also go to help children. 

See Winter and Panama Live Cam


Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, Florida 



Sea Turtle, or Honu as they are referred to in Hawaii. 

I have a fondness for them.


Turtles that call CMA home

Like so many of the ocean’s animals, sea turtles have been around for millions of years, even before the dinosaurs! Across the globe there are only 7 species of sea turtles, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium is fortunate enough to have 3 of those species be a part of our family. Amongst our turtle residents we have Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), and a Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

The stories of these brave turtles are ones that we strive to bring the most awareness to. The injuries that have brought these turtle friends of ours to stay with us at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, in most cases, could have been avoided. Currently, all seven sea turtle species are either critically endangered or threatened.

(As taken from the CMA website).

Below a lovely view of the waterway from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.


                                                                                                                              Meet Nicholas!

Above and below, Nickolas is performing for us.  He loves all the applause.


Nicholas’s Story

On Christmas Eve, 2002, a mother and her calf stranded and were named “Noelle” and “Nicholas” in honor of their holiday arrival. Noelle was unfortunately very sick and passed away within a few days. Our team then focused all their efforts on the six-month-old infant, Nicholas, who had received third-degree sunburns from his melon to his dorsal fin covering more than thirty percent of his body.

(Photo and text taken from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium website.)

Nicholas has white marks all over the top of this body because of the sunburn that he endured.  The burns however do not dampen his spirit.

One of the cute otters at CMA.



A sea otter snuggling in the blanket.


The Otters that call CMA home

Sure otters are small, cute, and fuzzy. What else do you know about otters? We know they are all those things and much more! Amongst 13 species, you can find otters in almost every corner of the world and across five continents. Unfortunately, many otter species are considered threatened or endangered which why it’s such a great opportunity for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to have two amazing otters which call CMA home.

(As taken from the CMA website).


I love sea shells!  I even have a lot of these that are on exhibit here.  A variety of what can be found in our ocean and beaches.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just beautiful!
















                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Finger Coral

Come out and visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium yourselves.  It is a worthwhile experience for the whole family!


dolphin cookies and Winter_small

Some Dolphin Cookies

I tried to make the middle dolphin kind of look like Earth.

And the dolphin without a tail is our Winter The Dolphin.

Winter with her prosthetic tail_small Winter with a hat_small

These are our Winter the Dolphin Christmas cookies that we made.

Winter Painting_small Winter the Dolphin painting_small_small

We’re also giving the gift of Winter cookies with a Winter print for Christmas to our friends.

painting by Winter_small

Merry Christmas



View our post for ‘Sweet Baking Sea Life Cookies for Christmas:

Sweet Baking Sea Life Cookies for Christmas