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“Awful experience ”

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Ranked #20 of 94 things to do in Clearwater
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Clearwater Marine Aquarium's mission is to restore and preserve our marine environment. We accomplish our mission through leadership in education, research, and the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

We took our 3 grandchildren ,11,8 and 7 because everyone raves about this place.
First you pay to park, then you pay the entrance fee and that buys you entrance in to the aquarium but nothing else. No one at the cashier mentioned this either. You walk about 3 blocks to enter after paying. It is very small inside. If you want to feed the fish or animals, it is extra but not easy to find out details. There are boat rides available for an additional charge but they were all booked.
We did see Winter and Hope but there was no show or demonstration featuring either of them all day. You can touch a stingray and perhaps feed some animals as we heard this announcement but had no details . It is very small inside and you can walk through in about 15 minutes time. I have seen both Dolphin Tale movies and loved them but I honestly cannot figure why anyone would enjoy this Aquarium.

Thank Bes9002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater M, Guest Relations Manager at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2018

We're sorry to see that Clearwater Marine Aquarium wasn't quite what you expected. Our current facility is a converted wastewater treatment plant that we've occupied since the 1970s; as such, we recognize that it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of layout and flow. We are underway with an expansion plan that will result in even larger pools for our resident animals, as well as greatly enhanced amenities for our visitors to enjoy. We do offer a number of additional experiences for our visitors, from boat excursions to behind the scenes tours to animal encounters, but these programs do tend to fill up well in advance (particularly during our spring break or other peak seasons). We apologize that you were unable to enjoy them during your visit!

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"dolphin tale"
in 981 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 386 reviews
"sea turtles"
in 349 reviews
"non profit"
in 139 reviews
"prosthetic tail"
in 135 reviews
"sea world"
in 247 reviews
"movie props"
in 128 reviews
"winter hope"
in 127 reviews
"movie set"
in 121 reviews
"rehab facility"
in 109 reviews
"animal hospital"
in 99 reviews
"injured animals"
in 109 reviews
"boat ride"
in 426 reviews
"nurse sharks"
in 64 reviews
"gift shop"
in 268 reviews
"dolphin show"
in 135 reviews
"general admission"
in 69 reviews
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373 - 377 of 6,756 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2018

We were there 12 years ago and it has gotten a lot more crowded. The line was long to get in was long, so purchase your tickets in advance. It is very informative and nice to see how they help injured wildlife.

Thank LoriBrad2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater M, Guest Relations Manager at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2018

Thank you so much for coming back to visit us again at Clearwater Marine Aquarium! We are delighted to see that you enjoyed your return visit. We are currently underway with an expansion plan that will result in a greatly enhanced facility in the near future - from larger animal pools to better guest visibility to more space for rehabilitation - and we hope you'll come back and visit us again in the future to see all of the new and exciting changes we have planned!

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Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

Please keep in mind this is a marine rescue aquarium, it is not Sea World. You won’t see a bunch of animal tricks and stunts. You will see marine life well cared for by people who believe in helping and caring for them. It’s educational and an intimate and low key. The money you spend goes to a good cause. Go with reasonable expectations and you will enjoy it. The gift shop was really great! We went at the 4-8pm discount rate of $9.99, it was worth seeing.

Thank Trish B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater M, Guest Relations Manager at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2018

Thank you so much for your kind words, Trish! We appreciate your support of our work and mission more than we can say!

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Reviewed April 4, 2018

We visited this past weekend. While the facility was quite busy, the experience was still awesome. The staff could not have been nicer and we even noticed David Yates (Director of CMA - Co-producer of Dolphin Tale Movies) quietly running around being an excellent host. This is a positive place and every staff member makes you feel special for being a part of it. Despite the crowds, everything was generally accessible.

So we were there with our 10 year old, who had the opportunity to do the "Dolphin & Animal Care Assistant" program. She had the time of her life!!! My daughter finished her experience playing with Hope for quite a awhile, she was over the moon. The rest of us spent the 3 hours catching the demonstrations and simply soaking in what the CMA is all about. The Assistant experience is not cheap (it all goes to a good cause!), but was unforgettable for all of us. You don't need to do the VIP sessions to have a wonderful time here, but those are indeed special!

The CMA store sells a T-shirt that says "This Is My Happy Place." This is indeed true for my family and I.

PS - Go for more than 1 hour. The bad reviews here are from people that went in and out. You can't understand the context of the place by doing that. Be patient and take time to watch the animals, especially watching how they interact with staff and each other. Then read the materials on the wall about what the CMA does, then read "Winter's Wall of Hope." It's all moving stuff.

Thank Alex F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater M, Guest Relations Manager at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2018

We are so pleased to see that your family enjoyed your visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Alex - and that your daughter enjoyed the Dolphin and Animal Care Assistant Program! We appreciate your support of our work and mission more than we can say; as you no doubt learned during your visit, without guests like you coming through our doors, we wouldn't be able to continue doing what we do!

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Reviewed April 3, 2018

We are huge fans of Winter and the Dolphin Tale movies so we made a special trip to Clearwater to see them when were in Florida for Disney. It was very worth it. This place is small, don't go expecting Sea World. That is not what they are about. But if your kids love sea animals and love Dolphin Tale, they will love being here. We were very close to Winter and Hope. We stayed here hours, did the behind the scenes tour and saw Nicholas perform. We were beyond happy to give them our money knowing it goes to a good cause of actually rescuing and rehabing wild animals.

Thank TxGrlOutDoors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater M, Guest Relations Manager at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2018

We are so pleased to see that you enjoyed your visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium! Thank you so much for coming to see us, and for supporting our work and mission!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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