New Clearwater Marine Aquarium brings excitement - FOX 13 News

New Clearwater Marine Aquarium brings excitement

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

The fame of Winter the Dolphin brought nearly 800,000 visitors to the Clearwater area last year.

Many of them younger fans.

"With losing a tale she is really unique," said Hailey Miller.

Many of those fans are from out of town like Haily Miller from Pennsylvania.

"I like seeing her when I come down," she said.

The story of Winter and her tail has not only touched the hearts of children, but also their parents.

"We kind of plan our vacations around Clearwater aquarium," said Debbie Odell.

Debbie and Steve Odell's family made the trip from Nebraska.

"It is a learning experience for all of us," she said.

Their daughters Kaelie and Preslie joined other kids and adults in painting their own miniature dolphin in downtown Clearwater at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure.

"It is a good tale," said Preslie.

Her sister agreed.

"It was very cool because you actually see her in person because she was in a movie," said Kaelie.

The buzz around the table is about the a new movie and a new home for Winter and her friends.

Earlier this month after debate voters approved on leasing city hall property to build a 160 million dollar aquarium.

Last week aquarium officials said they plan to lower the price tag to closer to 100 million dollars.

"It is a wonderful time for Clearwater," said Anita Treiser.

Tresier works for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce.

An economic impact study expects more than a million visitors by 2014 thanks to Dolphin Tale.

"We are feeling great about it we love having visitors we know how to roll out the red carpet," Treiser said.

And kids are just as excited as their parents.

"It is cost effective its so inexpensive to come here and the kinds enjoy it and the kids are learning something half the time they don't even know it," said Jessica Pote of Palm Harbor.

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