If you are looking for things to do in Clearwater with kids visiting the Clearwater Aquarium should be at the top of your list. Not only is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium the home of Winter and Hope; the famous dolphins from the Dolphin Tale movies but this non-profit organization focused in the rescue, research, rehabilitation and release of marine animals is the ideal place for families to spend a fun day and learn about conservation. Here are our top reasons for visiting CMA:
Kids will soak up knowledge about the ocean and the wonderful creatures that call it home. Learning through experience is the best way to learn and the best way for both kids and adults to retain that information because they can pair it with experiences interacting with the animals, watching them up close and learning about their environment through hands-on activities.
Kids will learn about conservation in a place that not just advocates but exists for the sole purpose of rescuing animals and promoting conservation of the oceans. Because the CMA is a non-profit organization who’s purpose is to rescue and rehabilitate marine animals so that they can be returned to the wild and because they are truly committed to conservation it’s the ideal place for kids to learn first hand about the importance of changing the way we live to ensure that our actions are not having a negative effect on the environment. They will also learn that animals should not be used for people’s entertainment as they are able to observe and interact with the residents at CMA and learn about their individual stories: how they where rescued and why they are at the CMA.
Kids will get inspired and motivated to overcome difficult situations. Winter became famous as the inspiration for the Dolphin Tales movies, but before that she had already become an inspiration for many children and adults with disabilities and life altering illness. Having lost her tail after it got caught in crab trap line Winter not only survived but learned to swim again. My daughter struggles with with school she has autism and has a very hard time with abstract concepts but being able to relate what she is learning at school with experiences she has had in her travels just makes things “click” for her and she can understand and remember them. Her favorite animal is the dolphin and she has done dolphin-assisted therapy which we have written about here and since seeing the movie Dolphin Tales she wants to work with dolphins. Being able to meet Winter has been truly life changing for her as she sees how Winter has thrived overcoming her difficulties and that has really motivated her to try harder and to believe that she can accomplish anything!
Kids will get to meet Winter, Hope and Rusty from the Movie Dolphin Tales and learn about movie making. My daughter is a huge fan of the Dolphin Tales movies and she has been wanting to meet Winter and Hope for the longest time. Seeing her favorite dolphins in person was a truly special moment for her. Not only did they get lots of information and fun stories from behind the scenes but they also saw first hand how reality and movies don’t always go hand in hand and this was a very valuable lesson for both of them.
We all loved learning about Winter and Hope’s real story and how it had been modified to add drama and excitement before being put on the big screen. This was an unexpected learning experience that sparked interesting conversations and both of them found the behind the scenes stories and anecdotes so interesting and exciting.
We visited Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure a separate facility that takes you inside the Dolphin Take the movie with re-built scenes and props from the movie as well as hands on experiences including a touch tank. The entrance to Winter’s Dolphin Take Adventure is included with your paid admission to CMA and there is a complimentary Jolley Trolley or boat shuttle ride between the two facilities which my kids enjoyed as well.
Kids will have unforgettable experiences and create memories to last a lifetime. During our trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we got to spend quality time together as a family learning new things and sharing new experiences. Both of my children got the opportunity to interact with the animals in a personal way.