I just finished watching Dolphin Tale with my kids, and I have to say, this is an adorable and very inspiring story. The picture to the left shows the main character, Sawyer, hugging Winter. Winter is the star of the show and the inspiration for the book and movie. I love this photo.
Quick Synopsis of Dolphin Tale
Based on a true story, Winter is an injured bottlenose dolphin that lands on a beach in Clearwater, Florida in 2005. A 12 year old boy, Sawyer, finds her on the beach wrapped in rope. Her mouth was shut closed by the rope.
The squad from Clearwater Marine Aquarium gets word of the injured dolphin and comes to the rescue quickly.
After some time in rehabilitation, it becomes clear that Winter’s tail is so infected that in order to save her life, they need to remove her tail. Sawyer then sets out to find a way that Winter can swim again and recruits the help of a prosthetic specialist (Morgan Freeman), to design a new tail for Winter. After several attempts, they find the perfect fitting tail that Winter utilizes correctly. The first few tails that Freeman creates, Winter moves her tail from side to side instead of up and down. This type of side to side movement puts Winter in danger due to the stress on her spinal cord. Dolphins need to move their tails up and down when the swim, not side to side.
I found this movie to be very moving and incredibly inspirational for kids. Sawyer was clearly enthralled with Winter and wanted to do anything he could to save her life. The dedication and love displayed through this little boy was wonderful to watch. It is a great illustration of how if a child has just one cause or passion they truly believe in, their ability to grow both emotionally and intellectually shoots through the roof.
What was Different between the movie Dolphin Tale and the Actual Events?
I always find it interesting to compare the events in a movie based on a true story with the actual events of
the true story. Dolphin Tale did a good job of sticking to the story with a few minor differences.
1. Dolphin Tale shows Winter being discovered by a fisherman and a boy at Clearwater Beach in Florida. In Real Life, Winter was found at Mosquito Lagoon by a fisherman. Apparently a boy was not involved in the rescue (would have been neat though). 🙂
2. Dolphin Tale explains that Winter’s tail needs to be amputated due to an infection. In Real Life, Winter’s tail naturally fell off due to a loss of blood supply to the tail. This loss of blood supply was caused by the rope around the tail.
3. Dolphin Tale shows Morgan Freeman, a VA Doctor developing a suitable tail for Winter over a period of a few weeks. In Real Life, this process took over a year and was developed by Kevin Carroll and his team at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics. This is typical for a movie to change a timeline. I think this movie handled this difference very well. After all, we only have two hours to cram this whole story in and keep it riveting.
4. Dolphin Tale shows Winter washing up on shore during the summer. In Real Life, Winter was found at the Lagoon on December 10. The Summer idea fit perfectly with the inclusion of Sawyer and using his summer break to grow by leaps and bounds in his maturity and happiness level.
5. Dolphin Tale depicts Clearwater Marine Aquarium as financially distressed. They hold a “Save Winter”
day to raise funds for the aquarium and keep it from being bought by a businessman who wants to convert the property into expensive condos. In Real Life, Clearwater Aquarium was not experiencing any financial troubles. This one makes me happy as I grew very fond of the Aquarium’s efforts to rehabilitate injured marine life.
I wanted to run out to my local marine life hospital and donate my time and money. I just love marine life, especially those precious bottlenose dolphins. 🙂 I also wanted to throw my kids in the car and go check out Clearwater Marine Aquarium. We have not had the time to visit the Aquarium quite yet, but we will!
Marine Life Aquariums and How they Teach and Inspire
Marine Life Aquariums have always been fascinating to me. I am a swimmer, and I love watching the dolphins and other marine life swim so effortlessly through the water. As a kid, I would dream about working with dolphins at a big aquarium and teaching others about marine life. However, the biology, chemistry and other science classes were not my cup of tea. 🙂 I suppose I can donate my time at an aquarium and learn and teach at the same time. It is on my to do list.
One of my all time favorite aquariums is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The sea otters are just the beginning of the large variety of marine life they share with us here. I love the setting of the aquarium – breathtaking scenery, to say the least.
My kids thoroughly enjoy our visits to this unbelievable visit with marine life. The aquarium makes sure to educate its visitors on maintaining a healthy environment for our marine animal friends by keeping the water clean.
Our favorite exhibits are the sea otters (boy, I wish I could swim on my back like they do) and penguins.
In conclusion, I highly recommend watching Dolphin Tale and visiting an aquarium with your kids soon. SO much fun for everyone!