CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — The Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced its plan Friday to honor Winter the Dolphin’s legacy on the 16th anniversary of her rescue.
Winter, the star of “Dolphin Tale” and Tampa Bay icon, sadly passed away following her battle with intestinal issues on Nov. 11. Test results taken the day before her death showed that despite “aggressive” treatment from aquarium staff, abnormalities in her intestines intensified.
“For those of us who loved Winter, I’m proud to announce that Winter will live on in the physical world as well as the digital world so her signature tweet, demeanor, and personality can never be forgotten,” President Dr. James “Buddy” Powell said.
Starting in January 2022, guests will be able to virtually swim with Winter in an immersive 360-degree video and countless 2-D images captured throughout her life.
“We have the technology available to us where guests will be able to virtually swim with Winter and experience her personality as if she were still alive,” Powell said.
A song titled “In Our Hearts You’ll Be.” by Red Marker 28 was also created in memory of Winter. CMA says the song is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify. A percentage of the song’s revenue is said to go toward supporting Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s mission.
As a final tribute, CMA says it plans to scatter the ashes of Winter into the Gulf of Mexico this January.
“Returning Winter to her natural home is a poetic ending to her incredible 16-year journey and we couldn’t think of a better way to lay her spirit to rest,” Powell said.
Days after Winter’s passing, CMA set up an Ever Loved website that features a timeline of Winter’s life events, such as when she first wore her prosthetic tail to meeting her friends Hope and PJ for the first time. The site also includes memories and condolence messages posted by fans of Winter and a spot to contribute a gift to the aquarium.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has asked for those touched by the beloved dolphin to share their stories via the Remembering Winter website.