Clearwater Aquarium is Florida's top attraction - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater Aquarium is Florida's top attraction

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Hope, star of Dolphin Tale 2 Hope, star of Dolphin Tale 2
WFLA's Shannon Behnken holds Winter the Dolphin's tail WFLA's Shannon Behnken holds Winter the Dolphin's tail
Winter the Dolphin Winter the Dolphin
According to a USA Today reader survey, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the best attraction in Florida.

Before the release of the movie, The Dolphin Tale, the aquarium had about 150,000 visitors a year. By 2012, that number grew to 750,000 people.

Winter the dolphin can take credit for that. The Dolphin Tale is about Winter, who was rescued off Cape Canaveral. She lost her tail and was eventually fitted with a prosthetic tail, something that's never before been done on a dolphin.

Visitors from around the world come to see her, and David Yates, CEO of the aquarium, says they've outgrown their current facility. Aquarium officials hope to move to a new location in downtown Tampa and keep the current facility as an animal hospital.

"We're very unique, as far as our experience goes," Yates said. "We're not like Florida Aquarium. We kind of go behind the scenes of marine life rescue, which is what we're really about. We save marine life and show that to guests when they come here.

Related Content and Slideshow PHOTOS: Movie Filming behind the scenes secrets of Dolphin Tale 2

"The movie, Dolphin Tale, being the success that it was has kind of blown our awareness up. So those combinations make it a very unique experience," Yates said.

Here is the rest of the top 10 list:

2. The Ringling, Sarasota

3. Everglades Holiday Park, Ft. Lauderdale

4. Discovery Cove, Orlando

5. Magic Kingdom, Orlando

6. St. Augustine Historic District

7. Seashells of Sanibel Island

8. Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg

9. Castillo de San Marcos, St. Petersburg

10. Beaches of Daytona Beach

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