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Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key

Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 1,800+ reviews on the web
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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  • The animals are engaging and amazing. The educational and informational aspects provide a continuous stream of interesting information, with implications not only for sea mammals but also for the huma...  read more »
  • 28 dollar entry and if you believe that a reception station for injured or oppressed dolphins visited it. Notice that this park is very fast, just a money machine. Almost all reputable dolphins have injuries to the mouth by the cormorants on the basin reason. It was rather a sad sight and depressing that so many people can touch the dolphins and extra can swim with them. All charges and a chord work for the bottlenose dolphins. I would not look at this and support with my money. I wanted to also no pictures of the animals. Then rather by chance meet dolphins in freedom. That makes happy!
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  • We were as a family at the Dolphin Centre. We were unsure whether the relatively expensive price justify for a 20 minute contact with the dolphins... and we have then try. It was a good experience to see a dolphin up close and to touch him, we could but not swimming with him, just touch. Would that make me a second, is definitely too expensive.
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  • To put this place into a few words is impossible. My boyfriend and I did the trainer for a day, it was worth every penny. We had an AMAZING trainer Cathy, that was so positive and just helpful in more ways then just learning about the facility and the dolphins, not only her but all the trainers and handlers that we had the pleasure of meeting were INCREDIBLE. They love what they do and for us, that also work with animals for living, it was even better to be able to connect with such an amazing species like the dolphin and sea lions. I would recommend this to ANYONE what an UNFORGETTABLE experience for both of us. And for anyone in these reviews that say they don't take care or love their animals I have no idea what place you went to but it definitely wasn't this one the WHOLE STAFF including interns and volunteers love and take so much care of the dolphins. THANK YOU GUYS we will definitely be back to visit :D PS: Give Louie a kiss from us :)
  • It's amazing to see the close relationship between the trainers and the Dolphins. Felt a bit sorry for the Sea Lions though who didn't get much attention but I am sure that's just because we weren't here for the whole day so didn't get to see the Sea Lions with the staff. The staff are clearly passionate about the welfare of the animals under their supervision and care. It's touching to see such a close bond between human's and Dolphins. It's just a shame that the majority of humanity care not for the beautiful creatures who we share this amazing planet with.
  • It's a tourist attraction. Cool environment and programs and you do get to see dolphins (in captivity) among other creatures. My concerns: Should they be making that much money off of admissions and programs? Absolutely not. Priced way too high for what is there. You can pay for a private charter to see dolphins in the wild for half the cost. Scuba diving and snorkeling will get you more and adventure and you can do your own research and expedition. Another point: don't miss your program reservation. You will not be able to get reimbursed or be able to reschedule. This isn't right and needs to be addressed to management. There should be some leeway. We aren't perfect here folks. They offer foods and beverages and gifts and such. Priced high of course. Whatever trust(s) are in charge is making out like a bandit. Be prepared to pay premium price for this attraction. Thanks for allowing us to see the dolphins and your facility but ease up on the policies and costs.
  • Added a visit to the Dolphin research centre at the last minute to our vacation. Wish we could have spent more time there as it was fascinating, informative, interactive and accessible. Depending on what you were willing to pay you could get as close and personal with the dolphins as you wanted. It's not a large place but we could easily have spent the day there. The dolphins obviously stood out but the sea lions and iguana were also impressive. A highlight of our holiday.
  • Paying to have animala forced to do tricks and pretend rhey like you.
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