Staying at Hotel Cabana in Clearwater Beach, you’ll have the sparkling sea as a steady and majestic presence. The sandy beach is just across the street and just off the island, a 5 minute drive away, is Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Fans of the movie, Dolphin Tale, will enjoy an up-close encounter with Winter and nature lover’s will enjoy witnessing the work done by this animal rescue and rehabilitation center.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium at a Glance
Established in 1972, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is internationally known as the home of Winter and Hope, bottlenose dolphins whose rescue and rehabilitation here inspired the 2011 film Dolphin Tale and its sequel. Winter came to the aquarium as a calf after she was found stranded close to Cape Canaveral, snarled in a crab-trap line. That entanglement resulted in the loss of her tail, but she was able to make a dramatic recovery thanks to an innovative prosthetic replacement. Hope arrived almost exactly five years after Winter, and saw her story featured in Dolphin Tale 2.
There are plenty of other fascinating animals to see at the aquarium, including an equally charismatic river-otter duo (Boomer and Walle), Thelma and Louise the nurse sharks, and a fleet of native sea turtles. Moray eels, clownfish, seahorses, great white pelicans, and the sleek and streamlined cownose rays of Stingray Beach are among the other residents.
The Surgical Suite at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Any number of rescue animals of various species may be residing at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at any given time: ideally rehabilitated for release back into the wild, or—if that’s not possible–given permanent haven. A unique feature of the aquarium experience is the opportunity to see medical treatment on injured or ailing creatures in action at the Surgical Suite.
Get a hands-on look at how the Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff tends to the facility’s dolphins, otters, sharks, and other residents with an Animal Care Experience, or explore the rescue, rehabilitation, and release approach in greater depth on a Behind the Scenes Tour. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium also leads eco-boat cruises on Clearwater Bay as well as guided kayak tours.
Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Your Next Hotel Cabana Getaway
Get to know Winter, Boomer, Thelma, and other Florida natives (plus some exotic emissaries from faraway waters) at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, just minutes from your accommodations at Hotel Cabana!