One of “Those” Moments at the Clearwater Aquarium

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I’m a fairly bright individual most of the time, but  not always. And nothing brings out that side like traveling  when I’m confronted by an apparent complete lack of geographical knowledge, historical timelines, or in this case, movie plots.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Entrance

Over the holidays I visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, returning 20 something years after an enthralling kindergarten field trip. The aquarium specializes in marine life rescue and rehabilitation and I had fond memories of Sunset Sam the rescued dolphin and Bailey the giant sea turtle. When I was looking up hours of admission I noticed our timing was lucky – it had been shut for several weeks while scenes for Dolphin Tale 2 had been filmed. And all over the website (www.SeeWinter.com) was references to Winter being the star of Dolphin Tale.

It was a movie I had heard about but never seen, and I casually assumed it was something along the lines of a current day Free Willy. We bypassed the picture taking area and the folks carrying weird plastic tails and headed straight to the exhibits. As we were walking around the dolphin tanks looking down at the inhabitants, we were trying to figure out what one of them was.

Dad guessed a manatee, but I was sure I had seen a dolphin shaped head. Then we realized it was missing a tail, an injury it had sustained in the wild. We moved on to the outdoor tank where I was delighted to see that Bailey was still around, though not up for visitors.

Bailey Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The shark buoy in the next tank was more entertaining.

Shark Buoy Clearwater Marine Aquarium

It wasn’t until we were downstairs and popped into the theater that it dawned on me. Once I saw interviews with marine biologists talking about fitting Winter with a prosthetic tale, I got it. *face palm*

We exited to the gift store where we realized half of the dolphin merchandise we’d passed on the way in were missing tales. They were super soft and cuddly, but as Dad expressed it, kind of made you want to cry.

plush_holiday_winter__no tail clearwater marine aquarium

Fortunately proceeds from all sales go to support the Aquarium’s efforts.


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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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