Paris, 2021-12-10 12:48:06. Aquarium Creates a Legacy of Dolphin Winter
Clearwater, FLA. The Florida Aquarium has created a legacy for its recently passed celebrity Winter the Dolphin, including virtual reality encounters with the synthetic-tailed star of the Dolphin Tale movies.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced Friday that the legacy of winter will include an ongoing memorial, a funding donation, a special song and a plan to release the ashes of cremated animal cadavers in the Gulf of Mexico.
Winter died on November 11 at the age of 16 due to an inoperable intestinal problem. She was rescued in December 2005 along the east coast of Florida after her tail got caught in the rope of a lobster trap. The tail had to be amputated.
The spirited story of her recovery using an unprecedented prosthetic tail was the subject of the two Dolphin Tale films in 2011 and 2014, making the marine mammal a hero to people with disabilities and chronic diseases around the world.
James Paddy, president of the aquarium, said the virtual reality experience will allow people starting in January to interact with Winter despite her departure. It was built on videos and photos taken for the winter of her entire life.
“We have the technology at our disposal where guests will be able to virtually swim with Winter and experience her character as if she was still alive,” Powell said.
The aquarium, a former water treatment plant that recently completed an $80 million renovation due in large part to its winter fame, will have an ongoing memorial encouraging people to bring cards, notes, and remember the dolphin. The renovation includes 1.5 million gallons (5.6 million liters) of a new dolphin habitat.
Powell said the Winter Fund will use the investment contributions to continue the aquarium’s work, which includes rehabilitating other marine creatures such as turtles and manatees.
There’s also a song for winter called “In Our Hearts You Be” with lyrics by Stephen Page and music by Rudiger. It’s now available on music streaming services, Powell said. A portion of the song’s proceeds go to pelvic operations.
Finally, Powell said the aquarium plans to scatter winter ash into the neighboring Gulf of Mexico next month.
“Winter’s return to her natural home is a poetic end to her 16-year journey and we can’t think of a better way to calm her spirit,” Powell said.
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