This past weekend, I was in Tampa visiting my 93 year
old young grandpa and realized I was only 2 miles away from Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the home of Winter, the star of Dolphin Tale. I spent a couple hours Sunday morning visiting Winter and was lucky enough to be there at just the right time to see her entire physical therapy routine. I hope you enjoy the looking at the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!
Winter playing with her hula hoop in one of the side tanks.
Winter heading into the staging tank for a little warm up.
Warm up lap swim before therapy starts.
Winter’s trainer, Heather, getting the prosthetic tail ready.
Heather lubricating the inner sleeve
(that sleeve was the secret that made it all work, if you remember the movie).
…and lubricating the prosthetic outer sleeve.
Heather stretching Winter’s tail to loosen up the muscles before swimming with the tail.
A little bonding moment…
…and a kiss…
…and a little more stretching with a smile for the crowd.
Winter swimming up to the platform in the main tank to get ready…
…and up to the edge…
Heather showing the prosthesis to the crowd…
…and strapping everything on Winter…
…and she’s all set…
…and she’s off!!!
Winter coming back around from one of her laps using the natural
up and down motion with the prosthesis.
Winter playing with another trainer.
Diving and underwater swimming is also part of her therapy.
Hand signals work above the water and underwater, alike.
I think she likes me… pretty sure she’s winking at me.
Winter swimming right next to the underwater viewing window
for a great close up of the prosthesis.
Another view of the entire prosthesis in action.
All done with therapy… getting her tail removed…
Winter diving and popping up to say hello to her visitors.
A beautiful day, perfect timing for the visit, and an adorable dolphin named Winter. I encourage everyone to watch the movie and to visit Winter whenever you are in Tampa!