Turtle Rescue at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

We welcome visitors to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to learn about the aquarium’s mission to preserve the environment and its marine life, CMA is home to rescued dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, and more. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a working marine rescue center dedicated to inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff and volunteers work each day to rescue marine life and provide the most advanced and effective care to maximize the opportunity to return sick or injured animals to their homes. Recently, one lucky sea turtles, one diamondback terrapin and five cold stunned, juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were fortunate enough to return to the ocean after rehab at CMA, once being cleared by the Fish & Wildlife Commission for release. We would like to share their inspiring stories so you can discover the magic of CMA.




Pearl is an adult, female diamondback terrapin who was found floating on June 16th near a seawall in Palm Harbor with carapace injuries. Pearl was lethargic, underweight, and had minimal use of her rear legs at intake examination. Pearl’s rehabilitation plan consisted of routine debridement to promote healing, bandage changes that included topical healing ointments, and daily cold laser treatments for several months. Cold laser therapy is a low-intensity laser that stimulates damaged cells to regrow and heal using low levels of light. Pearl regained use of her rear legs within a few weeks and gained over 0.5 lb. while in our care with our diet plan. Now that Pearl is healthy and her carapace injuries have healed, she is ready to be released back into a natural brackish habitat.




Bagel is a juvenile green sea turtle who was found floating in the Steinhatchee River in Taylor County on December 31st, 2023. Upon intake, Bagel was in good body condition with just a few fibropapilloma tumors present but showed some buoyancy issues in water. After a course of medications and a healthy diet, Bagel was showing normal behavior in water. Bagel had one small fibropapilloma tumor removed from its eye under local anesthesia. Other tumors were minor so surgery was not required. Bagel has been cleared for release by both our veterinarian and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and is ready to return home!

Cold-Stunned Kemps Rideys 2023



In early December 2023, Clearwater Marine Aquarium received sixteen cold stunned, juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles from New England Aquarium located in Boston, MA. Eleven patients were released in February. The remaining five were still on medications and being treated for pneumonia which is a common disease cold-stunned sea turtles develop. Today we are excited to share that the remaining five Kemp’s Ridley patients have received a clean bill of health and have been cleared for release by our veterinarian and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They are ready to go back home to the east coast of Florida into a warmer part of the Atlantic Ocean!

Did You Hear The News?



A new river otter is joining the CMA family! Named Opie, this juvenile male was brought to CMA following a dog attack that injured his eye. Opie has since been deemed non-releasable as he has been habituated by humans and no longer has the instincts necessary to survive in the wild. Following his quarantine period, Opie will be meeting our resident river otters, Walle and Boomer. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates on when you can see Opie at Otter Oasis! CMA’s Newest Rescued Resident! 

SunSips by the Bay



Escape to an exclusive after-hours event on April 26, where the 21-and-over crowd can unwind by the bay. At Sunsips by the Bay, you’ll sip refreshing cocktails, groove to live music and explore the wonders of the aquarium under the stars. Tickets to this event will sell out fast. Secure yours now!

CMA members get discounts on events like this! Become a member and take advantage of all the CMA member perks. SunSips by the Bay – Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

Summer Camp Registration is open!



Escape the cold and prepare for a summer of fun at CMA summer Marine Science Camps! From snorkeling to kayaking, hands-on activities, time with rescued animals, and more, there’s something for every budding marine scientist to experience this summer! Marine Science Camps are available for all students from kindergarten through high school.

These camps will fill up quickly, pick out your favorites now! Educational Summer Programs – Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

Did You Hear the News?

Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently launched Rising Tides: Safeguarding Marine Life for the Future. Over the next six years, CMA will undergo a dynamic facility revitalization that will bring new animals, new habitats, and new conservation efforts to our facility and beyond! Learn more about this campaign here. Rising Tides – Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

New VR Experience at CMA!

Explore the ocean like never before with our newest virtual reality experience – Drop in the Ocean! Guests can come face-to-face with a whale shark, ride a jellyfish up to the ocean’s surface, and meet an array of marine life. Purchase VR tickets at Ticketing, Guest Services, or VR Counter.

Manatee Rehab Center Opening Spring 2024!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Manatee Rehabilitation Center. This center will allow CMA to accept manatees recovering from the effects of food and habitat loss, red tide exposure, boat strike wounds, cold stress, and more. Conservation of this species is vital as manatees are vulnerable to extinction and serve an important role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems. This new center will offer manatee rehabilitation and care while giving guests the opportunity to learn more about the species and view stable rehabilitated manatees as they prepare to be released back into the wild.

Funding for this project is made possible by the State of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Duke Energy Foundation, John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program, and private donors. Manatee Rehab Expansion Fund – Campaign 

Upcoming Events & Programs

April 20: Rays Day at CMA
April 26: Seaside Seabird Sanctuary at CMA
April 26: SunSips by the Bay
April 27: High School Career Exploration
April 27: Junior Career Quest
April 29: CMA Inaugural Golf Classic
May 7: Pre-K Pod Pals – Hatchling Heroes
May 25: High School Career Exploration
May 25: Junior Career Quest
May 30-July 25: Free Parent Workshop Series