Clearwater aquarium has $68 million price tag

Clearwater, Florida -- Clearwater marine aquarium has released its final plans for a huge new facility in downtown Clearwater.

The facility will basically be a marine hospital where visitors can come in and see aquarium workers do day in and day out. They can also meet success stories like Winter and Hope the two dolphins that have overcome the odds and put this place on the map.

Eight years ago the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and these animals were about to lose their home.

"It was ready to close down. When I started I found out how bad it was -- about 3 months away from closing," said CEO David Yates.

Then one rescue gave this place new life.

"I saw Winter's story and realized we need to tell our story to people - put a face on it. Look what's happened," said Yates.

The dolphin had been caught in fishing line, it's tale was lost. She's been rehabbed with a prosthetic one.

"That's why I'd rather come here than anywhere else - they help them," said one visitor.

And Winter has helped CMA. Admission jumped from 78,000 to 750,000 since helping Winter. But Yates says CMA needs to expand. Voters have agreed to let the aquarium build it on city land, but the aquarium needs to have all of the money lined up by August 2016, or they lose that chance.

They need $68 million to build the aquarium and they are is hoping that most of the money will come from the admission of the millions of people that visit the aquarium. They are also relying on donations, loans, state and local funding.

Dolphin Tale 2 staring Hope comes out in September.

See also:

Popular shark Katharine marks 1-year anniversary

Man busted with 299 sea turtle eggs

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