Places to See Dolphins in Florida
Whether it’s in one of the state's waterways or aquariums, these places to see dolphins in Florida is an experience you’ll never forget.
Here’s a look at some local destinations where you can get up close and personal with dolphins in Florida:
Gulf World Marine Park
At Gulf World Marine Park, the park’s Bottlenose Dolphin show features music and acrobatics from the dolphins and trainers. Unless you want to get wet, beware ofthe first 10 rows – that’s the splash zone. For an additional fee, after each show families can have their pictures taken with the dolphins and sea lion. And if you’re looking for a truly memorable experience – ask about their swimming with the dolphins program.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
At the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, visitors can see places featured in the movies "Dolphin Tale" and sequel "Dolphin Tale 2," both filmed at the aquarium. Located along the waterways of Clearwater, the aquarium is one of the state’s most-visited attractions. You’ll find the star of the aquarium, Winter the Dolphin, in the Winter Zone upstairs. Along with her trainer, she does educational shows throughout the day but you can also find her swimming around the Zone.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Just south of St. Augustine and not far from Palm Coast you’ll find Marineland Dolphin Adventure, a great place to see dolphins in Florida. The park’s Touch and Feed program allows families to do both with Florida dolphins. It’s an up-close experience that happens daily and welcomes visitors ages 3 and up. The Immersion features 30 minutes of pool time with the dolphins and an educational session. You’ll have the chance to swim with the creatures and learn commands that trainers use to interact with them.
At the Miami Seaquarium, hop in the water with these lovable mammals and get to know them in an up-close and personal setting. The Dolphin Odyssey program lets visitors experience the behaviors of the dolphins with kisses, feeding techniques and training methods used by staff members. The Odyssey program is in deep waters, while the shallow-water Dolphin Encounter features a classroom setting where guests can learn about the dolphins before entering the water. From there, Encounter guests stand in shallow water and the dolphins swim to them. It’s a fun, learning experience for the entire family. Don’t miss seeing the Flipper Dolphin Show, too. Items from the original TV show are on exhibit at the entrance of Flipper's stadium.
Imagine the thrill of touching a dolphin: feeling its rubbery skin, gazing into its intelligent eyes or even sharing a kiss with it. Imagine speeding through the water being pulled by one. You don’t have to imagine. You can enjoy this mind-boggling adventure at Discovery Cove in Orlando, a private, all-inclusive, full-day resort. A limited number of people are admitted per day to play on the beach, snorkel in the fish-filled waterways and experience a 30-minute swim with dolphins. The resort also offers underwater walking tours, up-close encounters with lionfish and sharks, and one-on-one interaction with diverse animals including schools of fish and gentle rays.
Dolphins leap in the boat’s wake, spontaneous, graceful and powerful. They toss fish to each other. Sometimes, they seem to be laughing. They even respond to the encouraging claps and cheers of their admiring audiences. You can experience these clever animals in all of their wild, natural glory aboard the Southern Star, an 80-foot, double-decker, glass-bottom boat. The expedition explores Destin Harbor and the shimmering waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Holiday Water Sports
Your 90-minute dolphin adventure tour via WaveRunner with Holiday Water Sports of Fort Myers Beach takes off with a rip-roaring, water-spraying ride through the Gulf of Mexico, led by a knowledgeable guide. The pace will slow and you’ll putter into Estero Bay to explore its pristine islands. Before heading home, you’ll turn off your engines and bob quietly aboard your WaveRunner, taking in the antics of dozens of dolphins in their natural environment – often, only a few feet away.
Dolphin Research Center
Team up with a dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon to create your own masterpiece. You choose the colors; the dolphins paint! You’ll kneel on the dock and stretch a T-shirt over the water while the dolphin dabs, smears and brushes. The shirt is yours forever, to wear or display. The DRC also offers a full range of interactive dolphin experiences, from being a trainer for a day to swimming with the dolphins. Some of their dolphins are descendants of the 1963 "Flipper" movie cast.