Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key

4.5
#2 of 15 in Wildlife in Marathon
The saltwater lagoons at Dolphin Research Center are home to a family of 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. To visit Dolphin Research Center and get the most from your holiday in Marathon, create itinerary details personal to you using our Marathon travel itinerary planner.
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Dolphin Research Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
2,246 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Glad we stopped to enjoy a visit with the dolphins and sea lions. The facility had numerous presentations. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and engaging. Their passion was contagious. I would hig...  more »
  • Great experience, staff very knowledgeable. Was able to watch sea otter and dolphin training with general admission. They do offer experiences like swim with dolphins  more »
  • Very expensive....but we do understand!!! It was the best birthday for our grandchildren... Something they will remember for ever!!!  more »
Google
  • Fantastic place to interact with dolphins in very rare natural lagoons in Gulf of Mexico not cement tanks. In water swims or dock based encounters to suit your comfort or abilities. Wonderful place for kids & adults alike to learn about these magnificent beings. Large population of dolphins from very young to mid forties. Bloodlines direct to THE Original Flipper. Californa Sea Lions also on site are a great added treat. Staff places priority on all the animals & show a genuine connection & affection for them. This non-profit facility is highly worthy of your time & support. It is a "MUST STOP"
  • Great place for the family that is looking to have some fun vacation or a special day trip. They have many beautiful dolphins and sea lions. They hold a different information session/show every hour. We saw 3 shows in about 3 hours. The dolphins do flips and many other tricks. For a fee you can swim with the dolphins. The participants looked like they were having the time of their lives!! The dolphins are treated with respect here and the staff is unbelievably knowledgeable. They gave me an awesome amount of info about dolphins!! If you are visiting Marathon this is must stop. The food truck was pretty good too. They had vegetarian and regular food truck foods.
  • Dolphins are fascinating to watch and interact with any chance one gets and this is a very worthwhile stop to make to do just that. The staff are well trained and caring and truly love their work and it shows. You can easily learn as much or as little as you care to as the trainers and staff are all very willing and encourage questions. The dolphins themselves are truly fortunate to find themselves here - it’s a rehab and retirement home for many species as well as some sea lions. These creatures have hit the lottery here go see for yourself πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
  • What a nice place! We spent an entire day there. The Dolphins are all doing well and it is so great to see that even animals from adventure parks have found a new home there without having new stress! The staff is very friendly and outgoing. It was really a pleasure to spend time with you. Go on! Sorry that you are still suffering from the Hurricane.
  • Excellent place to experience dolphins. The difference between the Dolphin Research Center and other places which have dolphins is the intimate setting in which you get to interact with the dolphins. They love people and swim up and watch you. They will talk with you. It's such a neat and unique experience.
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