Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key: Hours, Address, Dolphin Research Center Reviews: 4.5/5

Dolphin Research Center
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility. Home to a family of dolphins and sea lions, we offer fun-filled narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations every half an hour. Watch and learn all about these amazing animals including dolphin maternity, social groupings, physiology, natural abilities and more. See how we care for them, how we're working with them in cognition and behavioral research and the importance of conserving them and their ocean habitat. DRC also offers a variety of interactive programs including the Dolphin Encounter swim program, Family Dolphin Splash, Ultimate Trainer for a Day, VIP Experience half-day program, Researcher Experience half-day program and Paint with a Dolphin. Most of our dolphins were born here. Others have come to us for reasons -- including those who were injured and rescued as youngsters and deemed non-releasable by the government. We provide them with a safe, healthy, happy home for life.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,778 reviews
Excellent
2,141
Very good
430
Average
122
Poor
46
Terrible
39

370theresas
Bonita Springs, FL60 contributions
A wonderful magical place
Aug 2021
The DRC is a fantastic place. The animals and the people are wonderful. Education at it's best. The dolphins are so happy and so eager to play and learn. A wonderful place for the whole family!
Written 4 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

startwiththeendinmin
Calgary, Canada209 contributions
Fun and insightful but quite expensive
Aug 2021 • Family
Fascinating to engage with the dolphins - cost $210 regular admission $25. Interactive session lasts 45 minutes. Digital photos are $50 so all when there are two people.
Written 11 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jamie L
7 contributions
Dolphin encounter 100%
Aug 2021 • Family
Best experience I have ever had. The trainers have so much love for their dolphins. The dolphins seem very happy and are extremely intelligent. The hands on experience was outstanding. We got to do a dorsal fin pull, held their flippers, rubbed their backs, played a guessing game with the dolphins, give them commands, and kisses. I took my 17yr old and she loved it. I can't wait to come back with my other kids. Totally worth the experience. Highly reccomend this place.
Written 11 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

C H
Oconomowoc, WI25 contributions
Impressed!!!
Aug 2021 • Family
We love Dolphins but have never had the opportunity to ever swim with them. I finally decided to splurge a bit for my wife's birthday. I must say I was impressed at how well run and professional it is there. It might seem like alot of money for the Dolphin Encounter but it's well worth it. To be able to do a dorsel pull with these dolphins was amazing!!! My wife and son had a blast. The trainers are some of the best in the world. Mallory was ours and she rocked!! I might even try and swing the private session next time. If you have the extra money just do it. Your kids will really enjoy it and so will you.
Written 6 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jhernandez929
Jacksonville, FL26 contributions
Do it!!
Aug 2021 • Family
Was questioning if the money is worth it…yes! Swam with the dolphins and the whole family had an amazing day. So impressed
Written 3 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SMS
4 contributions
Fun Day with the Dolphins
Jul 2021
We had a large group mixed with adults and teenagers. Each person who did the Dolphin interaction LOVED it! Mallory was our trainer and she made it so much fun. I would defintely suggest this activity for anyone visiting Marathon area.
Written 31 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Douglas R
Chesapeake, OH102 contributions
Dolphin swim
Jul 2021 • Family
Each staff member that we encountered was very helpful and courteous with all my questions. The kids participated in the dolphin encounter, which is the program that you’re able to swim with the dolphins and they’ll do activities with you in the water. There are different programs that you could choose, if you didn’t want to swim with dolphins, but still interact with them. Make sure to take sun screen and towels. You’ll need both!!
Written 22 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Terri B
1 contribution
They don’t give refunds when they should!
Jul 2021 • Family
Brought my daughter here to paint with the dolphins. I didn’t realize they didn’t use a canvas to have the dolphins to paint on. They use T-shirts. I asked for my money back and they said it’s non refundable. Make sure you ask before you swipe your card. I unfortunately just learned the hard way! The girl was rude about it as well when I asked for a refund and explained my daughter wanted to paint on a canvas not a t-shirt. Should have just drove the extra ten minutes up the road to theater of the sea and spend money where the staff is amazing and she would have got a painting she wanted. Here trying to spend money and help out as many organizations as I can but this one I will never come back to again. While waiting to paint with the dolphins the lady next to me said she thought her daughter was going to be painting on a canvas not a t-shirt. They need to better advise this so everyone they are being ripped off.
Written 8 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

hpylegend
Florida43 contributions
Fun informative program
Jun 2021
Took my 12 year old to swim with the dolphins. Great family activity. Not crazy crowded and trainers were informative and cared for the animals.
Written 24 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AprilAnnLV
Las Vegas, NV90 contributions
Quaint, friendly facility , delayed appointment times
Jun 2021 • Family
The facility itself is fairly small.

*As an overview: splash pad for kids; restrooms; a few large cages of parrots; front lagoon where you can watch most of the going-ons of the dolphin interactions; the back lagoon where you can view the dolphins in their individual pens; and a sea lion pen.

I booked our party a dolphin meet and greet for a specified time. We checked in at the reception desk 10 minutes prior and were told to go to the front lagoon. We did as instructed and waited around for about 10 minutes with no help. I thought maybe we misunderstood and so we walked around to the back lagoon where all the dolphins are. Didn’t regret it, as we stumbled upon all their pens...saw an old guy 28+ years; saw some dolphins doing tricks; saw sea lions performing; had a nice picture at the end of the facility on a vista overlooking the ocean.

However, still no dolphin encounter.

I called over the ropes to a trainer asking where we should go. She said front lagoon and just wait.
Ok, back to front lagoon we went.
Now that I knew for certain that’s where we were supposed to be I approached a trainer and told her we had an appt (that was at the appt time now). She said to hang on for a little bit while they gathered other groups.

Waited a few minutes, everyone was gathered and to the back lagoon we went.

She gave us instructions such as: no personal belongings whatsoever can be near the dolphin including cell phones for pictures. In addition, she gave a 15 minute briefing about the dolphins and what they can perform.

Unfortunately from where we were standing bushes were in our way from seeing the performances. There is a only a small open section available to the whole group they bring in to try and see what the dolphins are doing. Kinda disappointed about that. Secondly, disappointed about the no camera/cell phone rule. We had all our family there so we had to ask strangers from across the pen to take pictures of us. I do understand why the facility does it. But I believe it’s not what most visitors expect.

We had our encounter about 30 minutes after our appt time. The staff and adorable performers were wonderful. Very much worth the experience, it just took a little work to get there.

The staff is extremely friendly, very positive vibes, and the animals are adorable!
Written 11 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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