In the film, the aquarium that little dolphin lived in looked a little suspect — real small and stained. Every time I saw the stubby-guy flopping around in that old-toilet-looking pool of his, I kept feeling like I was about to have to explain the concepts of life and death to my small niece, who I was watching it with.
I realize now that I felt that way because the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), where a lot of those shots from the movie were filmed, actually is an old toilet — an old sewer treatment plant.
But it won’t be by October 2015, not if a new design overhaul and the $68 million allotted to build it comes together as nicely as proposed.
Today, the CMA had a press conference to announce the “mission- focused concept” for their new facility design.
What will set this new aquarium apart from similar attractions of its kind, like SeaWorld, will be its genuine emphasis on knowledge, rehabilitation and eventual reintroduction to the wild for all able animals.
Here’s a little taste of what the CMA has in-store for all of us: a 200,000-square-foot aquarium with indoor and outdoor exhibits; a surgical/research area where you can watch the nitty-gritty of the rehabilitation efforts; an "interactive otter" (I can't imagine what that’s going to be like, but I want in), turtle and ray exhibits, a theater, and, of course, a dolphin viewing area, where you can hang with your favorite prosthesis wearing sea mammal, the inspiration for the Dolphin Tale movies, Winter.