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Dolphin Research Center, Marathon

4.5
#2 of 42 in Wildlife in Marathon
Nature / Park · Wildlife Area
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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
2,801 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The staff are incredibly helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable! So smart about all the creatures I'm the park. Had.a great time. 
    The staff are incredibly helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable! So smart about all the creatures I'm the park. Had.a great time.  more »
  • Small but very educational. Love all the things for children to do. Staff excellent with all visitors. Shows designed around training...saw dolphins allow voluntary medical exams. Dolphins say... 
    Small but very educational. Love all the things for children to do. Staff excellent with all visitors. Shows designed around training...saw dolphins allow voluntary medical exams. Dolphins say...  more »
Google
  • This was an amazing experience. My 2 daughters and husband did the full swim with dolphin experience and loved every second of it. The dolphins appear to be very well cared for. They spent a lot of time education everyone which was fantastic. The pictures they took were amazing. I did the play with a dolphin experience and it was fantastic. I loved every moment and was even gifted a little rock by one of the dolphins. Highly recommend!!
  • This place is really nice. It is about an hour and 15 minutes up there highway from key west. The drive up there is beautiful. When you get to the dolphin research center, it is small and unassuming looking but after entering through the ticket booth, you walk out back and there are front and back lagoons. The back lagoons are along a dock walkway and has several large natural ocean water enclosures for dolphins. The staff explained that several of these dolphins are rescues and after their rescue were either too young or too badly damaged to release back into the wild. Other dolphins have been born there. It’s a very natural center and all of the dolphins seem well cared for. There are several encounters that are offered for meeting and interacting with the dolphins from just petting them to having a dolphin paint a t shirt for you to splashing and swimming with the dolphins. These encounters should be purchased ahead of time because they may not be available day of. They have several seals also in another natural ocean enclosure. They have a few large bird cages with macaws. The signs showed that several of the macaws can talk although we only heard one of them actually talk.

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