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Key Info

249 Windward Passage

Price & Hours

$26.95 for adults; $21.95 under 12
10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

In a town that revolves around marine life and nature preservation, it only makes sense that there's an aquarium dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating ocean animals. The trained personnel and volunteers at this mission-driven organization work to better the lives of injured and endangered animals before releasing them back into their natural habitats. While visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, travelers can observe the facility's rescued animals (think: sharks, dolphins, stingrays, sea turtles, otters and birds) and learn about their behaviors.

Many previous visitors raved about the aquarium, citing its passionate and informative staff as one of its best attributes. Several also praised the facility's small size, saying the intimate setting makes it easy to have more one-on-one time with marine educators and close-up glimpses of the animals. The shark exhibit is a visitor favorite thanks in part to its thoughtful design. Visitors can look down into the pool where the resident shark, Thelma, lives with various fish. The dolphin exhibit is also popular since it houses the aquarium's most famous resident: Winter the Dolphin, who starred in the film "Dolphin Tale."

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located 1 mile east of Pier 60 off of Windward Passage. A general admission ticket costs $26.95 for adults and $21.95 for children younger than 12. Kids 2 and younger get in for free, while seniors and Florida residents qualify for reduced rates. For special tours and activities – like dolphin boat cruises and animal feedings – additional charges apply. On-site facilities include a gift shop, restrooms and a fee-based parking garage. If you take the Jolley Trolley, you'll find an aquarium stop on the North Beach route. The aquarium is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day. During the summer months, hours may be extended until 8 p.m., so be sure to check the aquarium's official website before your visit.

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#1 Clearwater Beach and Pier 60

Clearwater Beach's shoreline boasts white sand, turquoise water and proximity to downtown's hotels, restaurants and attractions, making it one of the area's most popular beaches to visit. It's backed by the pedestrian-friendly Beach Walk and offers both sand volleyball courts and excellent conditions for a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, Jet Skiing and parasailing.

One of the main attractions at this beach is Pier 60, which draws visitors in with the promise of spectacular sunset views and keeps them coming back with its entertaining events and amenities. Located off of Causeway Boulevard about a mile west of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this pier overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, making it a picture-perfect stop.

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