If you or someone in your family loved the “Dolphin Tale” movies, next month might be the perfect time to visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the film was shot and Winter and Hope, the dolphins, live.
The young stars of the movie — Nathan Gamble (Sawyer), Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Hazel) and Austin Highsmith (Pheobe) — are visiting the aquarium again, and fans can meet them. Zuehlsdorff will be at CMA July 19 through 22; Gamble, July 22 through 25; and Highsmith July 25 through 28. So, July 22 will be the only day when visitors can meet both Zuehlsdorff and Gamble, and July 25 pairs Gamble with Highsmith.
The trio of actors has made several appearances at CMA during the last year to promote “Dolphin Tale 2,” which was released in theaters in September 2014. My 10-year-old daughter was fortunate to be able to meet them during one such trip last summer, and she was thrilled with the opportunity to talk with the stars of her all-time favorite movies.
If the meet-and-greets work the same way as ours did, the actors had a limited time to meet fans, so no autographs were permitted. However, you could take photos, and CMA had one of its photographers there, as well. You have the option to purchase those images afterward. The meet-and-greets were included in the price of admission.
Last summer, the three actors joined Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates for a question-and-answer session with that we attended. You can view it here.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is just a 90-minute drive from Orlando. It’s not a planned tourist attraction, so don’t expect elaborate displays, shows and rides. What you will find at the working hospital is amazing in its own right — volunteers and staff working to save animals, and you can visit the creatures and talk with the trainers. Plus, if you’ve seen “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2,” it’s fun to recognize and walk through the places featured in the movie.
Included in your ticket to Clearwater Marine Aquarium is transportation and admission to Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure in downtown Clearwater. This location shows images, re-creations and actual props from the movie. For a complete explanation of what you can do at the two locations, see my previous post.
NOTE: Prices and operating hours were correct at the time of that blog’s publication, but they have since changed. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at seewinter.com at a discount or in person at the box office.