'Dolphin Tale 2' filming wraps up in Clearwater

By Virginia Johnson, Entertainment Host/Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

Wednesday marked the final day of filming for the movie sequel Dolphin Tale 2.

Movie crews brought in a special chopper to capture aerial views of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Memorial Causeway, and nearby beaches.

While today was reserved for local beauty shots, the last day of shooting for the crew ended last night on a set built in a warehouse in Largo.

"These crew members and cast members have become part of our family," said David Yates with the aquarium. "We've known these guys for two movies now. It's a very bittersweet moment as it's winding down."

Crews have been everywhere from Clearwater beaches, to the Bay News 9 studios, which meant more business for some establishments.

"I think it's been wonderful," said Island Way Cafe owner Mark Anthony. "I was able to do a lot of their catering for the set and for the crews, so that kind of balanced out as far as losing the tourists."

The aquarium built a $4 million expansion with some of the money made from the movie.

"The beauty is, we hope to have Dolphin Tale 3 back so if that happens then they'll all come back again," said Yates.

Motorists traveling between Clearwater and Clearwater Beach today were a little inconvenienced by delays at the causeway. The most significant impacts occurred after 2 p.m, Clearwater police said.

Traffic on beach roads and on Court Street - the thoroughfares leading to Memorial Causeway - were also affected.

Dolphin Tale 2 is a sequel to the 2011 hit that was based on the true story of a boy's efforts to save an injured dolphin. It stars Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff.