Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) was opened in 1972 as a marine biology learning center in Clearwater, Florida, about 40 minutes from both Tampa and St. Petersburg. Over the years, it has grown and expanded into a center for public education and animal care (their motto is "rescue, rehab, release") while retaining its focus on marine research.
CMA is perhaps most famous for one of its residents, a dolphin named Winter who, at three months old, got tangled in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued and brought to CMA for rehabilitation, but her injuries were so serious that her tail had to be amputated, along with two vertebrae. The story has a happy ending, though. Through collaboration with a human prosthetics company, a marine veterinarian and the folks at CMA, Winter now has a prosthetic tail and she’s doing well. The film Dolphin Tale (2011) was based on Winter’s story; she still lives at CMA and can be visited at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure (WDTA), located just a short (free) trolley ride away from CMA.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located at 249 Windward Passage in Clearwater, Florida. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some exhibits are located outside, so in the case of inclement weather, certain exhibits may be temporarily closed throughout the day without notice. Admission is $21.95 for adults ages 13 to 59; $19.95 for seniors 60 years of age or older and $16.95 for children ages 3 to 12. Children 2 and under are free.