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Meet Winter from Dolphin Tale

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been all over the United States quite recently. Something you may also know is that I've been battling some pretty serious anxiety, so I apologize for the silence in the blog realm as I dealt with my mental health. Life on the road is far from glamorous and often comes with a ton of stress and hardships. After taking a writing break, now I feel re-energized and ready to share a ton of fun adventures with you.

So where am I now? I just drove my Wrangler from California all the way to Florida. Once I hit this warm 80 degree winter weather, I knew I had a few things I wanted to see while I soaked in these sun rays. Today's adventure brings me back to my childhood. If you are familiar with the movie Dolphin Tale, you may remember Winter the dolphin. This incredible bottlenosed dolphin is widely known for her strength and inspiring story.

When Winter was two months old, she was found entangled in a crab trap line. She was rescued but her injuries were so severe that her tail fell off. Not many dolphins can survive without their tail, which is why Winter is so special. Although she does have a prosthetic tail she can use when she wants, Winter has learned to swim a new way. Instead of swimming up and down like other dolphins, after losing her tail, Winter swims side-to-side like a shark.

Because of her unique swimming form, the prosthetic tail can be a bit more of a challenge for her than swimming her own way. Prosthetic tail or not, nothing slows down Winter when it comes to having fun. Winter continues to thrive in the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) alongside her fellow rescued dolphins - Nicholas, Hope and PJ. It was so fun watching the staff play with all of the dolphins. They were obsessed with squirt guns and the water coming out of the hose. The dolphins loved doing tricks, as well as getting treats of course.

The CMA is home to many rescued aquatic creatures such as turtles, otters, stingrays, pelicans, and more. Since they are rescues, the Aquarium does not force anything on them. The animals have a right to refuse any treatment, playtime or food. They also have access to private spaces to get away when they want alone time. I love that they let the animals choose what they want to do and when. This I CAN support!

I had so much fun learning about all these amazing animals. I even got to touch a stingray for the first time! Another cool creature you can see at the CMA is a bit of a movie star. If you have seen the Dolphin Tale movie, you may recognize Rufus the Pelican. This cutie was also featured in the Adam Sandler movie, You Don't Mess With the Zohan.

Since it is December in Florida, we don't really have much snow, but I did manage to find Santa scuba diving at the Aquarium! Scuba Santa and his elf host an underwater trivia game, which is a fun way to learn more about these awesome animals. If you visit the CMA this time of year, the staff did a great job decorating "Winter's Wonderland" to get in the Christmas spirit.

If you're looking for a great cause to support and a place to learn more about your favorite sea creatures, check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I definitely recommend this place if you have kids, they will go nuts! Thanks for checking out my blog. Stay tuned for lots more info on the blog in the future.


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