CLEARWATER — Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced Nov. 11 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.
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.
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.