As part of an exciting Dolphin Tale 2 weekend, my family and I visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the dolphin and star of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's CEO, David Yates, explained the CMA's mission to rescue, rehabilitate and, when possible, release injured animals back to their environment. David told us about the amazing story of a baby dolphin's rescue which coincidentally happened during the evening wrap party for Dolphin Tale. Many of the cast and crew were there to witness baby Hope being carried to the pool where CMA staff was waiting to care for her. Harry Connick, Jr. recalls, "Everybody was oohing and aahing because she was just so adorable, never thinking that what we were watching would, in time, prompt a completely new storyline that would bring us back together."
My boys loved seeing Winter and Hope playing together but they weren't the only rescued animals at the CMA. They also had sea turtles, otters, rays and pelicans. All of these animals have been rescued and rehabilitated but can't be released back into the wild.
In Dolphin Tale 2, Sawyer, played by Nathan Gamble, and Hazel, played by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, have grown up. No longer young kids, they gained more independence and responsibilities and are faced with making some tough decisions. Harry Connick, Jr. is back as Dr. Clay Haskett and Hazel's father. He also adjusts to having a teenage daughter who wants to make her own decisions as part of the CMA team in Dolphin Tale 2.
Both Dolphin Tale movies show perseverance against impossible odds. I was amazed at how much Winter, a dolphin without a tale, has touched so many lives of those living with disabilities. Bethany Hamilton had a role in Dolphin Tale 2. My boys knew right away that she was the surfer who survived a shark attack because we'd seen Soul Surfer and Bethany's incredible story of survival. It's heartwarming that Winter and Hope are a huge inspiration to so many!
Dolphin Tale 2 is in theaters on September 12! Find out more about Dolphin Tale 2 on Facebook or Twitter. Visit Winter and Hope at the CMA in Clearwater, FL.
Disclaimer: My family and I were granted entry to the CMA and a showing of Dolphin Tale 2 as part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers. All opinions are my own.