Instead of presents for his 5th Birthday, Lucian Davies wanted to ask those attending his birthday and the family’s New Year’s Day party to donate specific items that Winter and her friends need at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Special thanks to all who gave to Lucian, and especially Danielle O’Neil, the Director of Marine Turtle Programs for making this a reality for him! Lucian is very proud of this! He collected 67 sponges, 620 sandwich zip lock bags, 170 Quart sized zip lock bags, 174 Gallon zip lock bags, 4 boxes of Nuk breast milk storage bags (to help feed baby dolphins), 11 Towels, 298 ounces of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, 23 permanent marker pens, 19 9 volt batteries, 112 ounces rubbing alcohol, and 3 gallons 32 ounces of white vinegar. We made the big delivery to Danielle last Thursday!
“Every year, the third week of November is American Education Week. To help celebrate the importance of education and inspire younger generations with themes of environmental awareness and marine conservation, Clearwater Marine Aquarium participated in the Great American Teach-In. The Great American Teach-In is a chance for students to hear about potential careers by having professionals from all different backgrounds and fields give classroom presentations. Throughout the week, marine mammal trainers, sea turtle biologists, and environmental educators visited 13 different Pinellas County schools, speaking to classrooms and auditoriums full of future marine scientists about CMA’s mission. Students were given the opportunity to get up close with real sea turtle shells and skulls, touch one of Winter’s prosthetic tails, and watch videos of our youngest dolphin, Hope, arriving at CMA. They followed the individual stories of our resident animals, learning about their rescues and the plights faced by their marine neighbors. Most importantly, the students learned about the difference they could each make by participating in beach clean-ups, recycling, and taking care of our beautiful coastlines.
Soon, CMA’s school presentations will be available not only to Pinellas County students, but to educational forums all around the world. On December 8th, Clearwater Marine Aquarium will launch our CMA L.I.V.E. (Linking into Virtual Education) program, a distance learning webcast that connects students globally with CMA, our mission, and our lovable resident animals. As always, CMA strives to be a leader in environmental education, inspiring awareness for our marine ecosystems and their inhabitants, both locally and, very soon, across the globe.”
In September, CMA began its expansion project by starting to build its surface parking lot to the east of our main facility on Island Estates. On the west side of the Aquarium, construction has begun for a brand new Education and Administration/Animal care building and a rehabilitation area that will triple our capacity to care for injured marine animals.
While all this is going on in Island Estates, we have also leased from the City of Clearwater the second floor of the Harborview Center, the former convention center in downtown Clearwater. We are converting the 54,000 square feet of space into a second venue that will be built out with props and scenes used in the filming of the Dolphin Tale movie. There will also be some educational elements in this facility explaining our mission and how we do our work as well as a gift shop. It is our intent to open this experience to visitors by November 18th. A shuttle service will be available to take visitors to and from the downtown venue and our main facility on Island Estates.
How has CMA been impacted by Dolphin Tale?
It has been almost three weeks since the movie Dolphin Tale made its debut into movie theaters around the country. In its first week, the movie generated over $19 million in box office sales and finished third behind the Lion King and Moneyball. But because of good word of mouth, in its second weekend, Dolphin Tale leaped over both Lion King and Moneyball and finished first at the box office.
And here at CMA, we are feeling the effects of the movie’s success as it is attracting an unprecedented number of guests for this time of year to our Aquarium. Folks are flocking to our facility to visit Winter, the star of the movie and to see where the movie was mainly filmed. Last Saturday, October 8th, CMA broke an all time record with more than 2,700 visitors!
We’re all excited here at CMA that this movie is telling the story of our mission, the Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release of marine animals, to the world and making Winter a world-famous, inspirational dolphin who is touching millions with her story of survival.
The movie was created so well that it is hard to tell fact from fiction. Many viewers don’t know that Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit organization that, unlike the movie, does not have a big developer that bailed us out of financial ruin. We depend on donations, gate revenues and summer camp programs to take care of our injured animals. If you would like to support our mission, you can donate by clicking here.