Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Visit To Clearwater Marine Aquarium

 Clearwater Marine Aquarium here we come! This picture was taken before the girls knew where we were going. Dave and I couldn't wait for them to see where this part of our adventure was taking us. The girls were just thrilled to be in a new place in search of new adventures. Little did they know that a dream that they've have for quite some time was about to come true! 
I don't think they really believed we were at Winter's home at this point. Ever since they first saw Dolphin Tale they have wanted to meet Winter. For those who haven't seen this movie yet we highly recommend it. It is truly a family favorite (between the dolphins, a character who's homeschooled and Physical Therapy all in one movie how could it not be?)!
 Winter's best friend Hope was in the tank when we arrived. 
It was only by seeing her tail that we knew it was her. 

Watching Hope. 
 Finally, we made our way to the tank where Winter was. While Hope was having a private session Winter was swimming around and communicating with Hope periodically. Normally, they are both together, but every now and again they each have some time without the other. 
 It was right about here that I got choked up (for the first time). It was hard to get a picture of the girls watching her (there were so many people) but trust me when I tell you that watching them watch Winter was one of the most amazing experiences of my time as their mama. They have long dreamed of seeing her in person. To make this dream come true for them was simply incredible, and a moment that we shall never forget. 
 Waiting for the sting rays. 

 We were so excited to be able to attend a behind the scenes tour while we were there. We got to learn about the wonderful work that Clearwater Marine Aquarium does in regard to rescue, rehabilitation and release (their ultimate goal). We learned many facts about the animals that call CMA home and the ones who are simply there getting the care they need before heading back into the sea.
Grace got to try her hand at removing a hook from a sea turtle. 
 Peeking in one of the operating rooms. 
 Do you see Hope in the distance?
 Winter and her Physical Therapists. 
 Watching Winter. I am sure that we could have stayed twice as long as we did! The only thing that I wish we could have done differently would be to have had the chance to truly meet Winter (as in get in the water with her). Dave and I contemplated paying for a picture of all of us with Winter, but it was clearly stated that only one person could touch her. While we do have two of the most patient and understanding children walking the Earth we felt that that would be even too much for the sister who didn't get to touch her to bare and so we opted for the behind the scenes tour instead. A personal audience with her would truly have been the cherry on top of the sundae of this day, though! Could you imagine?! 

What an amazing first adventure in Florida! It was incredible to be able to be there and to see the animals that we loved and the space where the movie was filmed. CMA is a small space but the work they do makes a big difference and we are happy to have been able to support their work while we were down there! xo 

Don't forget to check back for a second post today- a little glimpse into what we were up to today!


  1. Amazing Shel! Looks like a wonderful day, and making your girls dreams come true must have been amazing! xo

    1. Thanks, Kim! It was an amazing day! I am so glad that's how we kicked off our adventures in Florida! xo

  2. How fantastic! My little daughter Alice was excited by these photos!

    1. If she loved these photos I bet she'd be over the moon to see Winter and Hope in person! xo

  3. When I was there age I got to go swimming with dolphins. It was amazing. It was the middle of winter and terribly cold and I thought I would drown because the water was so cold and I was having trouble breathing. But a dolphin came right up to me and didn't leave my side and pulled me back to the dock. One incredible moment for me.

    1. That sounds truly incredible! What an amazing experience and one that I have always dreamed of having! xo