Rescue, Rehab, Release…Inspire: Winter’s Story of HOPE

Aug 21, 2014 | Stories | 24 comments

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Have you ever had a time in your life where you always second guess yourself at something? Maybe you see an opportunity come up at work and you think,  man, I have the skills for this and I know I can do it, but you psych yourself out to where you don’t apply to the position, or you’re a really good singer and your afraid to audition because you doubt yourself and you think you won’t make it far.  I bring this up because in life if we keep second guessing ourselves at things, we will miss out on some pretty awesome adventures.  I’m glad I didn’t miss out one this opportunity that I’m about to tell you!  Over this past weekend I got to do something that I never thought I would EVER, I mean EVER get to do, and that was spend it with Warner Bros and the cast of Dolphin Tale 2.  I mean seriously, who gets to do that?!?!  ME!!! The adventures from this weekend was so incredible and truly a once in a lifetime experience.  Over the course of the next several weeks, you will be seeing a series of blog posts about my AMAZING, INSPIRING, SWOOOOOOOing weekend!  In today’s post, I want to introduce you to Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA),  Home of Winter, the Dolphin and star of Dolphin Tale  and the upcoming film, Dolphin Tale 2.

Everywhere I travelled, I was running into DOLPHIN Statues…

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 040 My sister and I posing in front of this artistic dolphin…

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 045 I spy…

To start my weekend out right, we got to take a tour of CMA, meet the CEO, David Yates AND meet Winter & Hope.  WHEWWWW… Are you still with me?  That is enough right there to keep you smiling for days.  I know I am.   CEO, David Yates of CMA began to share the story of the aquarium.  It has pretty cool story in itself.  Did you know that it used to be a water treatment plant and has been open since 1972?   Pretty awesome to see how it has transformed today.  When I was walking around it, I could get a sense of smell that old timey history.  Do any of you know what I’m talking about?!?

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 048 Welcome to CMA…

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 060 CEO, David Yates explaining to us about CMA and how Dolphin Tale 2 happened…

Anyways, CMA’s dedication each day is to RESCUE, REHAB, RELEASE…INSPIRE.  WOW!  Now that is a pretty powerful statement.  Every animal that comes through the doors of the aquarium have either been injured or suffering from an illness and cannot survive on their own in the wilderness.  That is where CMA steps in and gives them HOPE!

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 069 CMA’s mission statement…

On December 2005, stranded in Mosquito Lagoon, near Cape Canaveral, Florida, CMA received a call that would forever change their lives.   A bottlenose dolphin that was about 3 months old has washed upon the area.  She was tangled up in a crap trap line that was cutting off circulation to her tail flukes.  After CMA arrived and removed the line, they transported her to new home and despite every effort to expedite the healing process, her tail deteriorated and could not be saved.

Winter-dolphin I introduce to you…WINTER 🙂 (photo credit of CMA)

Can you guess how Winter got her name?!?!

So what happened next?

It’s pretty amazing what a brilliant mind and team can do!  People who show perseverance can do anything.  AND THEY DID!  Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., worked with Dr. Mike Walsh, CMA’s marine mammal veterinarian and created a prosthetic tail with a complete fluke and joint onto a dolphin which had never been done before. UNBELIEVABLE!  This was the first time EVER to be done.  Can you see now, why this is just so inspiring? So Winter now gets a new one every 3-6 months.  Today, Winter has a sock called “Winter’s Gel” that helps with his prosthetics.  Because of Winter and the teams creation, this same concept is being used for our VETERANS!

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 064 Winter’s new and improved fluke…

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 066 Winter’s Gel is being stretched out…can you see it? Fact…It can actually fit over a human…

Are you INSPIRED yet?  Don’t you just fall in LOVE with Winter?  It really gives you a glimpse of HOPE.  Seeing how this Dolphin who wasn’t going to push through, made it against all odds and now is giving people all over the world that missing piece.  A superhero really doesn’t wear a cape, sometimes they have fins!

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 076 Winter’s FOOTPRINT on the floor as you walk to her… SO COOL!

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 056Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 055Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 080

Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 081Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 082Dolphin Tale 2 Press Junket 083 

Winter’s amazing Timeline posted above where is home is…

Just a fun fact for you, when Dolphin Tale first released, that weekend, CMA received over 10,000 emails that hit their server and thousands of emails and letters from parents/children from all over the world sharing how Winter has inspired them.

So I leave you with this, I belive that Winter has given HOPE to so many out in the universe, that the universe decided to give Winter HOPE in return.  HOPE you are ready for the new movie!

interior-banner-winter-hope The tale of two friends that will last a LIFETIME.. (photo credit to CMA)

OH, and uh make sure you have a box of tissues with you…

If you want to see what Winter & Hope are up to, you can watch them on webcam 24/7.  Click here…

Congratulations to Alisha at Willowberry Road for winning the free download to Gavin Degraw’s latest single, “You Got Me”!  I hope you enjoy it… 

 I received complimentary admission to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium as a Dolphin Tale 2 Ambassador. The review is written by me on behalf of  Warner Bros & Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The opinions expressed above are all mine.


  1. Sharon (@crazykids6)

    Dolphin tale 2 is going to be great, and I’m inspired. Sheesh…prosthetic tail…I’m blown away

    • noordinaryliz

      Dolphin Tale 2 is beyond great! You will not leave the theatre without a dry eye! The whole Winter story is simply amazing.

  2. lancequadras

    I watched this movie, and was amazed.
    Its really well pictured and the way animals are treated here is damn sweet.
    You write good.

    • noordinaryliz

      Thank you! Winter & Hope share an incredible story that’s for sure!

      • lancequadras

        🙂 Yes they do.

  3. agatapokutycka

    Wow, how cool is the fact that you can spy on them 24h – I love this idea

  4. Xiomeeks

    We have yet to go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I don’t think my girls realize Winter is so close to us. I know they loved the first movie, so I know we’ll have to go see Hope when it comes out and hopefully visit CMA soon.

  5. Xiomara @ Parkesdale

    I don’t think my girls realize Winter is so close to us. We have yet to visit CMA. I know they really enjoyed the movie, so I know we’ll have to go see Hope when it comes out.

    • noordinaryliz

      Girl, what are you waiting for?!?! YOU have got to get your girls to CMA!!! I think you should do it before you take them to see Dolphin Tale 2. It will make the experience that more meaningful! If you go, I would be happy to know what you think?

  6. Alisha Hodges

    That’s neat that you can watch them. I adore dolphins.

    • noordinaryliz

      Yes, you get to watch them 24/7. I have never seen that before. I want one as a pet! So humbling creatures 🙂

  7. Amy

    What a fun experience! I can see why you are so excited! What fun you and your sister must have had!

    • noordinaryliz

      I had a BLAST! Everything seems so much better when you have your sister with you.

  8. Bonnie @WEMAKE7

    Yes I do that all the time. I get excited about a job and think I can do it but talk myself right out of it.

    • noordinaryliz

      I am so bad about second guessing myself! I am getting better with just “going with it” It seems to be in my favor lately!

  9. Kristi Campbell - findingninee

    Such an incredible inspiration!! I can’t wait to see the movie – thanks for sharing and how cool that you were able to go!

    • noordinaryliz

      Yes, It was really inspirational! I left there with such a warm and humbling feeling! You will Love, LOVE the movie!

  10. mommymellie

    What a wonderful experience! Love the message you shared, too.

    • noordinaryliz

      Thank you! It was truly an awesome time!

  11. Joanna Sormunen

    It’s good to hear about a place that cares for animals and does not just use them for profit. The movie will be epic!

    • noordinaryliz

      Clearwater marine Aquarium is such an inspiring and humbling place. To see the impact and care that they put into these animals is simply amazing. I love it! You will also LOVE, LOVE the movie! Get ready to shed a tear or two 🙂

  12. Tiffany Hathorn

    I used to really love dolphins. I wish I could see them up close

    • noordinaryliz

      I love dolphins as well! You REALLY can go see them up close. If you live in the Tampa Bay area, you can go visit Winter & Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. They are the sweetest!

  13. Run DMT

    Great recap of a fantastic weekend! I love the CMA and it was such an honor to be part of this event.


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No Ordinary Liz is unique stories about my past in foster care, my awesome present life and hope for the future. I have lived a not so ordinary life so to speak and feel that I need to share these experiences with each of you. These stories will be funny, sad, inspirational, uncomfortable and motivational. Stop by and take a look around. And don’t forget to purchase my book!

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