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Clearwater Marine Aquarium to build memorial garden for Winter the dolphin

The public space will commemorate the famous dolphin, who died a year ago Friday.
A rendering of the Winter Memorial Garden at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, set to be finished by Spring 2023.
A rendering of the Winter Memorial Garden at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, set to be finished by Spring 2023. [ Courtesy of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium ]
Published Nov. 11

Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced Friday that it plans to build a memorial garden for its famous dolphin Winter, who died one year ago to the day.

The Winter Memorial Garden is set to be outside the aquarium’s main entrance, with a fountain centerpiece featuring a statue of the bottlenose dolphin coming out of the water. Winter was rescued in 2005 after being found tangled in a crab trap off the Cape Canaveral coast, and then later learned to swim with a prosthetic tail.

Winter the bottlenose dolphin swims in a tank at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter became widely known for having a prosthetic tail after being found entangled in a crab trap line in Mosquito Lagoon near Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast on Dec. 10, 2005. Winter, who starred in 2011′s “Dolphin Tale” movie, died from twisted intestines at the aquarium in November 2021.
Winter the bottlenose dolphin swims in a tank at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter became widely known for having a prosthetic tail after being found entangled in a crab trap line in Mosquito Lagoon near Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast on Dec. 10, 2005. Winter, who starred in 2011′s “Dolphin Tale” movie, died from twisted intestines at the aquarium in November 2021. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Douglas R. Clifford ]

The dolphin became a role model, especially for kids with disabilities, and helped turned the Clearwater Marine Aquarium into a major tourist attraction for the Tampa Bay area. Her story inspired the two “Dolphin Tale” movies starring Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman.

Winter died on Nov. 11. 2021 from twisted intestines when she was 16 years old, a young age for dolphins, since some of her organs were displaced because of her severed tail.

A bird's-eye view rendering of the garden commemorating Clearwater Marine Aquarium's famous dolphin, Winter.
A bird's-eye view rendering of the garden commemorating Clearwater Marine Aquarium's famous dolphin, Winter. [ Courtesy of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium ]

The public garden remembering her will have “sustainable Florida landscaping” and a “calming pathway” with benches, the aquarium and marine rehabilitation center stated. It’s set to be completed by spring of 2023.

“It was important that we create an inviting space that is accessible to all who may need a quiet moment of reflection,” chief operating officer Lisa Oliver said in a statement.

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