With the unveiling of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins Winter, Hope, PJ, Nick, and Hemi to the new Ruth and J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex, PGAV Destinations is thrilled to celebrate the significant progress of the newly-expanded dolphin habitat at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA).
Announced in 2018, the bold vision set forth by CMA endeavored to empower their mission by tripling their dolphins’ habitat space with 1.5 million gallons of water through five connected pools. The new pools offer a wide diversity of habitats, veterinarian care, enrichment opportunities, and a thematic, open concept with beautiful rockwork that encourages relaxation for the animals, staff, and guests. This Fall, CMA will open Phase II which will quintuple and modernize its guest spaces, provide more hospital facilities for its rescued marine life, and provide new compelling, educational experiences for families.
“We are so excited to unveil this beautiful new space after 14 years of planning and discussions,” said CEO Frank Dame. “Each guest that comes through our doors allows us the ability to rescue, rehab, release, and care for our non-releasable resident marine animals.”
Dame continued, “With the additional capacity this beautiful and custom-made habitat affords us, we will be able to care for twice as many rescued animals and give them the best care available.”
Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s world-class rescue and rehabilitation team collaborated with St. Louis-based aquarium and attraction designer PGAV Destinations, notable in the field for extensive work with the South Carolina Aquarium, Dolphin Research Center, St. Louis Aquarium, and currently under-development Mississippi Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, and Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson, Missouri. While PGAV provided conceptual, guest experience, graphic, exhibit, and interior design, the undertaking thrived on a collaboration of expertise, including CMA and local architect Fisher and Associates LLC, who served as the architect of record.
“Working with Clearwater Marine Aquarium team has been incredible. Their passion for animal rescue and rehabilitative care is remarkable and inspiring,” said Emily Howard, vice president and project lead at PGAV Destinations. “The animals in their care have incredible stories to share with millions of guests in the future, to inspire them for a lifetime of ocean conservation and care. We’re very proud of this work, and excited to see the incredible achievements CMA- will be able to pursue through it.”
Beyond their remarkable gold standard in rescue and rehabilitation, CMA may be most known as the home of Winter and Hope, the film stars of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. The films tell the story of a young dolphin rescued from a crab trap, and rehabilitated with the assistance of a revolutionary prosthetic tail at the Clearwater Marine Hospital. Produced by Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, the films starred Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson.