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Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key

(4.4/5 based on 1,900+ 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • What a totally dedicated staff, friendly, professional with a deep desire to learn and pass on their experiences to the many visitors that frequent this establishment. They have an innate love for the...  more »
  • This non profit research center was great on a number of levels. It was very educational. They have about 30 dolphins who eagerly interact w staff and visitors on a volunteer basis. Nothing is forced ...  more »
  • Our teenage grandsons enjoyed swimming with the Dolphins. They were given a lot of information about raising and training. Cost very expensive, downside if you want to just come in and watch your chil...  more »
Google
  • This place is absolutely amazing in all aspects, the people, dolphins, sea lions, & iguanas! You feel totally at peace when you are here and prepare your face for lots of smiles. My trainer was Christina and she was knowledgeable, fun, and energetic. I would like to thank the staff and Jax, Diva, Atocha, Pandora, Kilo, and most importantly Molly who made me feel extra special! If you come and don't have a great experience then you are meant to be miserable!
  • 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 :)
  • We really enjoyed our visit to the Dolphin Research Center. I think they are doing a great thing for the Dolphins and take great care of them. The staff is amazing, lovely and they really enjoy working with the animals.
  • Learned do much about the dolphin in a very short time. Can not wait to go back to visit again. Jax was my favorite
  • 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.