Since the base had excellent ticket prices, ($6.00) we decided to go see Hope & Winter!! I think that one should keep in mind that if you do visit this facility it is NOT an entertainment venue. It's an aquatic animal rescue hospital that was catapulted into fame with the rescue of Winter. This baby dolphin eventually lost her tail and she was fitted with a prosthetic tail. We saw the movie some time back and it's a great family watch. There is now a Dolphin Tale 2. Anyway, having this famous dolphin sort of overshadows the rest of the facility. Not only do they rescue turtles and dolphins they also rehabilitate and return animals to their natural habitat when they can. Others stay in residence if they are unable to survive in the wild.
Rescue, rehab and release are the new mission focus words for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Clearly, a good organization that is trying to find it's way after being thrown into the spotlight. I now want to see the second movie!
Love the sea turtles! The had several green no leatherbacks.
Visiting the aquarium was educational and we enjoyed our time there. It's definitely not a cheap place to visit, gate prices are high, the memorabilia is also pricey and they are definitely trying to make money on your visit. I guess why not but it's a bit overwhelming to see the capitalistic side of it. We also went to the other location that houses much of the movie paraphernalia. The facility is called Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure. I recommend taking the trolley down and riding the ferry back or vice versa, just do them both as they are fun.
After our time with Winter & Hope and all the other cool animals we tootled on over to check out Clearwater Beach. It's definitely an awesomely beautiful beach, lots of gorgeous white sand, nice lapping little waves BUT we were sorely disappointed that it's totally PAY parking. BOO! I think there should always be free parking for the beach! So we motored on up the road back to Tarpon Springs. We enjoyed a late lunch at a little Greek restaurant, got a bakery treat and headed on over to Honeymoon Island to catch the sunset over we strolled through the sponge docks at Tarpon Springs.
Hella's had a HUGE bakery.Tarpon Springs is known for sponges and we saw them in all shapes and sizes and prices. Neat town to take a walk through. There is pay parking or if you look hard enough there are free spots to be found. Since we knew we were eating we parked in the lot where the restaurant we were eating at would pay for our parking. Hella's was decent, Mr Souvlaki's was better! On our way home from Bushnell the other day we took the scenic route and ran across Mr Souvlaki's; it was well worth the stop! If we go again I will be getting the Greek chow Mein. However, the gyro's did not disappoint! MiRV was in heaven with his gyros and French fries.
Beautiful ending to a great day on the Gulf!