Cozi Comes Back to Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The actress who starred as Hazel Haskett in Dolphin Tale was in town filming a documentary about Winter the dolphin for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently.

Cozi Zuehlsdorff dreams to be a storyteller.

The 12-year-old actress, who played Hazel Haskett in the movie "Dolphin Tale," selects her roles carefully and embraces the idea that she can be a role model through the parts she plays.

“I think that’s my calling,” Zuehlsdorff said.

Zuehlsdorff narrates and acts in an updated documentary about Winter the dolphin. She was in town recently to shoot it and meet with fans.

Zuehlsdorff said Winter was exactly how she expected her to be when they first met during filming of "Dolphin Tale." The popsicle scene is her favorite part, she said while standing in front of images from that part of the movie as she met with fans at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure.

“Winter means so much to me,” Zuehlsdorff said. “I just love being connected to her.”

Winter’s Connection

Zuehlsdorff is narrating and acting in the 80-minute documentary that tells Winter’s story since rehabilitation, which was documented in a similar video a few years ago.

Some of the footage of the first documentary is used in the latest iteration, which will be released in time for the holiday shopping season. It will be for sale online and at the aquarium for about $20, said David Yates, president of the aquarium.

Yates said the first documentary introduced Winter to the world through the story of her rehabilitation. This version is more about her effect on a global scale since the release of the movie.

“The real story is her impact on people,” Yates said, especially those with life-challenging issues.

Part of the filming will take Zuehlsdorff to Mosquito Lagoon where Winter was rescued. Other parts feature the stories of some of the individuals Winter has .

Larochelle has Aspergers Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that causes him to have a seemingly isolating, emotionally vacant and acute focus on things that interest him. He is one of Winter’s Friends, and has swam with her on numerous occasions. The real life Sawyer, Yates said.

Fans Get Cozi

A line of more than 100 parents and their children snaked through Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure waiting for a chance to meet Zuehlsdorff.

Ashley Garlick was at the head of the line.

Garlick walks with a prosthetic, her "tail like Winter," she said.

She lost her left leg as a 9-month-old after standing up at a coffee table and falling. She injured her fibia and tibia. Complications with artificial replacements ended up causing doctors to amputate.

“She’s more mobile now than she’s ever been,” her mother Jennifer said.

Garlick, 7, swam with dolphins in Orlando as part of her Make A Wish. Her parents were also able to swing a day trip to Clearwater to see Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

They didn’t know they would also get to meet another star from the movie.

Ashley, who wants to be an actress or part of the Fresh Beat Band, let Cozi know her dreams and which part of "Dolphin Tale" was her favorite. 

The girls hugged, took photos together and struck a pose.

*updated 9:45 a.m. July 24, 2012


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