Clearwater Marine Aquarium to Break Ground on $12 Million Dollar Expansion

Clearwater, FL – June 9, 2011 – The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), the location of the upcoming film ‘Dolphin Tale’, will be breaking ground on Friday, June 10, on a $12 million dollar expansion, providing more space for the multitude of sea life in their care. The new facility is set to become a major attraction in the Gulf Coast city of Clearwater, an outstanding beach destination catering to national and international visitors alike.

The expansion comes at a very opportune time, before the debut of the upcoming 3D family blockbuster, ‘Dolphin Tale’, scheduled for release on September 23, 2011. Based on true events, the movie is a family film about “Winter,” a young dolphin who loses her tail in a crab trap. Winter was found and rehabilitated by staff at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter the dolphin plays herself in the movie and can be visited on a daily basis at the facility in Clearwater.

The CMA is a non-profit marine rehabilitation center, housing dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. The current facility, which was donated by the city of Clearwater in 1978, is an abandoned water treatment plant which was converted to suit the needs of the Clearwater Marine Science Center, as it was known then.

The CMA strives to educate and inspire the world’s population to maintain and preserve the waters and marine life for future generations. Their vision is to build a world-class facility that will enable them to care for thousands of marine animals and provide environmental education to millions. The growth will provide CMA the opportunity to host thousands of visitors.

New features will include:

  • Doubling the sea turtle rehabilitation capacity
  • New 1.4 million gallon Dolphin Pool Complex with stadium seating
  • Enhanced surgical facilities
  • Educational exhibits and signage
  • Expanded viewing areas and lobby
  • Education enhancements with additional classroom space
  • Multi-level parking garage and lot

The groundbreaking ceremony will include Honorary Capital Campaign Chair, Herb Brown, Campaign Supporter and Mayor of the City of Clearwater, Frank Hibbard and Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s CEO, David Yates.

About Clearwater Marine Aquarium:
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a Florida non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to marine life rescue, rehabilitation and release, and environmental education. CMA is home to dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. Winter the dolphin’s story of survival and inspiration has touched millions of people around the world. A movie, Dolphin Tale, about her life story is currently being produced by Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment and stars Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., and Ashley Judd. Her documentary, “Winter: The Dolphin thatCould” is available at The film takes viewers on an extraordinary journey through her rescue, fight to stay alive and extensive rehabilitation. Scholastic published Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again in October 2009.

About Clearwater
Clearwater is an ideal destination for travelers of all ages and interests, occupying prime real estate along Florida’s stunning Gulf Coast. As a top, year round location for both leisure and business, Clearwater boasts an endless supply of sun, warm weather, great dining and shopping, along with extensive outdoor activities both on land and at sea. Clearwater Beach is consistently ranked among America’s most beautiful and the city is also home to a wide variety of sporting and music events, including Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training and the annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday.