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Animals

General FAQ's

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General FAQ's

What are the hours for Clearwater Marine Aquarium?
Check here for the most recent schedules:
Visitor Information

Can I interact with the animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium?
There are many different animal interactions offered by CMA.  Whether you want to feed our stingrays or get a photo with our dolphins, we try to make your experience with our animals a fun one! These programs fill up quickly, so reserve your spot today! To learn more click here.

Do you have any in-the-water experiences with dolphins?
Yes.  For more information on the Deep Water Swim program, click here.

Do I get to choose which dolphin I interact with?
Just like us, dolphins need some downtime.  To ensure the health and comfort of our animals, we may need to make last-minute changes in their daily schedules. For that reason, we cannot guarantee that your dolphin experience will be with one specific dolphin.

What types of dolphins residents at Clearwater Marine Aquarium?
The three dolphins at CMA are Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.  Their names are Hope, Nicholas and Winter.  To learn more about their individual stories, click here.

Who is Winter’s companion?
Winter lives in an environment with Hope, our newest dolphin resident.

Where can I learn more about Winter?
For more information about Winter and her story, you can click here.  You can also visit Winter every day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium or via her webcam.

Is Winter a boy or a girl?
She is a female dolphin, just like her best friend Hope.

How old was she when she was found?
She was just two months old.  Normally, baby dolphins, called calves, will stay with their mothers for one to three years, but Winter was all alone.

Who found Winter when she was tangled up in the crab trap line?
A fisherman found her, ad cut the line and called a rescue team. She was close to the surface when she was tangled up – otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to breathe.

Who rescued Winter?
Rescue teams from Harbor Branch Institute and Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute worked with Clearwater Marine Aquarium to save Winter and bring her to CMA.  They also rescued CMA’s newest dolphin resident, Hope.

How did Winter get her name?
She was found in the month of December, so was named after the chilly season in which she was rehabilitated.

When is her birthday?
While no one knows her true date of birth, the team at CMA estimated her birthday to be October 10, 2005, as she was only two months old when she was rescued.  When filming the movie in 2010, she was only five, making her the youngest movie star on set!


What is her favorite color?
Blue, just like the ocean and her favorite floating mat!  Believe it or not though, dolphins have a different eye structure than humans and can only really see the color blue – they are essentially color-blind.  Because of that different eye structure, they can see clearly above and below the water.

What is her favorite food?
That one is a tie – she likes capelin and silversides, two different types of fish she is fed at CMA.  She was still drinking milk when she arrived at CMA, so has never had to hunt for fish.

What's is her favorite toy?
She loves floating around on her mat.

Was it difficult for Winter to get her first prosthetic tail?
Her trainers worked really hard to make sure she was comfortable with the tail before they put it on.  The trainers and Winter worked together to exercise and practice moving her tail stump up and down without the tail so that she would be strong enough to wear it.  Then, once the first tail was ready, they allowed her to check it out and get used to the new and strange object before sliding it on.

How have the tails changed over time?
The first tail was a lot smaller than the ones she wears today, because she was a lot smaller then too!  As she grew, they kept making the tails larger, just like you might get new shoes when your feet get bigger.  With each new tail model, they try new things, making it more comfortable and beneficial for her to wear.

Does Winter like wearing her tail?
Wearing the tail is hard work because it makes Winter exercise a part of her body she does not normally use.  It is important for her to do this and it is getting easier with more practice.

How often does she wear the tail?
Winter’s tail is for physical therapy – to keep her spine and muscles healthy by exercising and stretching them.  She only wears the tail for about an hour or less every day.

Why does Winter not wear the tail more?
Dolphin skin is incredibly sensitive.  Bottlenose dolphins shed a layer of skin every two hours.  If Winter wore the tail for too long, it could actually hurt her skin and make the tail uncomfortable.

Can Winter swim without her tail?
Yes, in a side-to-side motion.  She learned how to do this by herself but she does need to wear her tail to keep her muscles and spine healthy.

How does Winter feel about all the attention she receives?
As a calf, she grew up around people so she loves the attention she gets from her fans and from the team at CMA.  If there aren't a lot of people around her pool, she uses her characteristic "tweety-bird" whistle to call them over!

What was it like filming "Dolphin Tale"?
The limelight suited her well.  The big cameras and lights were a change for her, but her trainers worked for a long time before the movie crew arrived to get her used to all that new equipment.  Once filming began, Winter had a great time.

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