Have you happened to catch the trailers for Dolphin Tale yet? It opens in theaters today. They have been airing the previews all over the country, but there has been a lot of buzz about the movie in my neck of the woods.
Well, if you were wondering (and hadn’t already seen my previous post about it on my wedding blog)…Winter is real, and so is her story. She lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium…just down the road from us. I remember hearing about her rescue back in 2005. News channels covered the story; the whole area was pulling for that little dolphin. The odds were definitely against her survival, especially at her young age, but she (amazingly) pulled through. And now: she’s a local celebrity and a soon-to-be movie star!
My bridesmaids and I visited Winter last year as part of my bachelorette festivities. Seeing her in person is pretty amazing.
She scoots around in her pool atop her little raft. She is so cute, and very vocal! She was chirping away at us the entire time we were there.
If you were wondering, this is the current version of her tail. It went through multiple stages before getting to this model!
Winter actually doesn’t have the tail on full-time (as you could see in the pictures above, she wasn’t wearing it); she uses it in therapy sessions each day for an allotted amount of time.
Of course, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium does house many other animals (otters, sea turtles, etc); they work to rehabilitate. If the animals can be released, they are…but if their injuries prevent them from surviving in the wild, their home becomes the aquarium. For instance, there are a few sea turtles there whose shells were hit by boat propellers, creating air pockets. Those air pockets prevent them from being able to swim underwater; they can only float at the surface and are unable to dive to get food. Thankfully, the aquarium cares for them and gives them a loving home.
There are three other bottlenose dolphins who call the Clearwater Marine Aquarium home along with Winter: Panama, Hope, and Nicholas. Panama is actually Winter’s surrogate mother. Aww!
Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s website to get more information about the facility, Winter, and the other animals being helped through donations (the aquarium is not for profit). The video on the landing page of the site is actually really great as well: make sure you watch it when you go there! You can even take a peek at Winter live on her webcam…aw!
Do you plan on seeing Dolphin Tale? Have you heard of Winter the dolphin before?