Daytrip to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin

Has anyone made a daytrip from Orlando to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium? My 11 year old daughter is a fan of the Dolphin Tale movies. We are headed to Orlando the second week of February and will have 2 days at Universal and then will move to Disney World, where my husband has a conference. We are planning to have one non-park day and then two days at Disney.

Since the weather may not be warm enough for lots of swimming, I am considering the possibility of driving to Clearwater for the day. If anyone has been, I’d appreciate any advice you may have.

We did in Nov 2011. We drove to Clearwater early morning (took about 1.5 hrs), and relaxed on St. Pete’s beach. (Kids did more playing in the sand than swimming.) Then drove north to the aquarium, which was a bit smaller than we expected, but still enjoyed. Ate at a restaurant on beach, and headed back to WDW after supper. It was a fantastic day and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!