Remember Rufus the pelican from Dolphin Tale? Welcome home!
Two more stars from the Dolphin Tale movie are taking up residence at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. One of the comic highlights of the Clearwater-based movie about Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tale, was a mischievous pelican named Rufus. He was played by a pair of trained African white pelicans named Lucy and Ricky.
Today (Friday) at 10:30 a.m. the aquarium will hold a welcome ceremony to unveil the couple in their new home there, an exhibit called Pelican Beach.
The birds are only 7 years old, but according to Bird Life International, they can live in captivity for more than 30 years. They were trained in California before they came to Clearwater to shoot Dolphin Tale, but this was not their first movie role. They were also used for the 2008 movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan starring Adam Sandler.
Lucy is described as the more friendly of the two and she was used in any scene that required flight and retrieval, said aquarium spokeswoman Krista Rosado. Ricky did most of the walking scenes. She was the one who chased Ashley Judd in the parking lot scene, shown here, and Ricky was the one following the two child stars along the dock.
At the aquarium, the birds will be brought out throughout the day to interact with their trainers and also at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure at the nearby Harborview Center. The welcoming ceremony will be today at 10:30 a.m. at the aquarium, 249 Windward Passage in Clearwater. Admission is $19.95, seniors $17.95, children 2-12 $14.95.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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