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Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key

(2,000+ reviews on the web)
Wildlife Area
The saltwater lagoons at Dolphin Research Center are home to a family of bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions, and offer educational and interactive experiences with marine life. The center originally opened in 1958 as Santini’s Porpoise School and became famous after a few of its dolphins starred in the 1963 film Flipper. The site was founded in 1984 as a non-profit research center and continues to promote the understanding of marine mammals. The center has educational presentations every half-hour and opportunities for live animal encounters. Not only can you swim with the dolphins here, but you can also paint with them. Use our Marathon trip builder to visit Dolphin Research Center on your trip to Marathon, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited this for the first time 2.5 yrs ago, and it is still great! The staff is so knowledgeable and willing to share everything they know. The day we were there, they had a communication study go...  more »
  • I find this place my own personal retreat, have come here w the family as well as on my own. Peaceful, not a tourist trap like other marine wildlife places. Purchase a membership up front before you e...  more »
  • I felt like this experience was not only fun, it was an amazing education for me an my six year old daughter. The trainers at DRC absolutely love and respect the Marine Mammals, and they taught us so ...  more »
Google
  • Loved this place! Plenty of "shows" where you can learn about the dolphins and seals as well as see some of the research they do and learn a ton about these amazing creatures. A lot of benches in front of different parts of the cover so you can visit the dolphins who seem very happy and healthy there. I did the swimming with the dolphins experience which was great and it's a non-profit so I don't mind paying so much for it.
  • Beautiful facility very easy to see how passionate the staff are about this program. This is a way of life for the people that work here and it is easy to see it's not just their job it's their Passion. The prices are right in line with such a nice facility, and it is not cheap to take care of these wonderful creatures. These folks aren't in this to get rich, they do this out of love and compassion.
  • We visited on a rainy Wednesday morning and had the place to ourselves. We really enjoyed watching one of the trainers work with three dolphins. When we paid our admission the ladies at the front desk promised that announcements would be made announcing activities. (They don't hand out maps or schedules.Which makes sense since they don't want stray paper in the water.) we, however, neverheard any announcements and after it started to downpour we opted to leave instead of hanging out in the gift hop. I think it would have been too crowded on a nice sunny day for our toddler to stay interested and engaged.
  • I love the dolphin research center so much its a great family oriented place ❤it has wonderful sweet dolphins a splash area for people to rinse off after a program and many more animals to see. It's great to go into the dolphin theater and listen to the educators tell you more about what they do and what it's all about
  • An amazing experience. A must do on your trip.