Planning a trip and want to include swimming with dolphins in Jacksonville FL? You will want to bookmark this article. I try to provide the best information possible as I am asked about it.
While there is no swimming with dolphins Jacksonville Fl, or a dolphin tour directly in Jacksonville or Jacksonville Beach, there is nearby in St. Augustine.
Previously, when people ask me where the best places are to swim with dolphins, it was hard for me to reply. The reason is that there are so many places that offer this type of dolphin encounter, but they are very inhumane and the dolphins not taken care of properly.
The same goes for swimming with the manatees. These are wild animals. It is not normal for them to give you a “kiss” or allow you to hold onto them while they swim.
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Wild dolphins are just that, wild animals. They are meant to live their lives in their natural habitat, not in a shallow water tank in a building and brought out only for entertainment of humans.
I personally choose not to ever swim with dolphins in any type of captive environment. This is simply how I feel about how animals are treated in captivity when used to human entertainment.
I do want to give you the most up to day information so you can choose to participate in an environment safe for you and the dolphins. There are several marine parks, including some in Florida, to put the needs of these beautiful marine mammals at the front of the line.
There are also several great places to visit in the Florida Keys, including Key Largo, where your family including young children can enjoy this experience of a lifetime.
Keep in mind, many entry tickets do not include swimming or engaging with the dolphins or other animals. They may cost $100 and above depending on where you go.
Also, the best time of day to swim with dolphins is in the morning when they are more active. There are a few things to keep in mind before you book your excursion:
- Do not jump into the water or literally on top of a dolphin.
- Bring only your swimsuit.
- Do not put body lotion or perfumes on before entering the water, as this can cause skin issues to the dolphins.
- Be aware and respectful at all times of the dolphin.
- Listen and follow the instructions of the trainer at all times.
Below are the best places for swimming With Dolphins Jacksonville FL and throughout the state of Florida.
Swimming with dolphins Jacksonville Fl Where To Go
Whether it is in the water with dolphins in a controlled environment or as part of a rehab program or educational experience, these are the best options I have found for where you can interact with the dolphins safely inside and outside the water.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Starting with Marineland Dolphin Adventure, also on Dolphin Swim Adventure and a few other sites, Marineland of Florida is the world’s first oceanarium.
The dolphin adventure offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to interact and swim with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and make a few new dolphin friends.
This historic spot provides an educational glimpse into marine life while fostering unforgettable connections with these incredible creatures. In addition to interacting with dolphins, there are other marine animals you can engage with.
If your child or anyone in your party has special needs, Marineland makes arrangements so you can also enjoy this unique opportunity. Let them know in advance and they will take care of arrangements.
The Royal Swim is the most popular and includes deep water foot push and a dorsal tow as well as a hand target, handshake, cheek kiss, and other various activities. It offers a wonderful opportunity and is the perfect place to dive into the world of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Set amidst the picturesque backdrop of St. Augustine’s coastal beauty, this adventure promises an intimate rendezvous with these majestic marine creatures.
You can engage in an array of interactive experiences, from swimming and frolicking alongside the dolphins, to a fast ride holding onto the dorsal fin of the dolphin to engaging in playful interactions that showcase how smart dolphins really are.
According to the information on their site, under the guidance of skilled trainers, visitors not only create cherished memories but also gain deeper insights into dolphin behavior and the importance of marine conservation.
It’s an unforgettable journey that allows guests to forge connections with these incredible beings and gain a profound appreciation for the wonders of the sea.
Dolphin World is also located near St. Augustine and is a short drive from Jacksonville as well as Daytona Beach. If you check out their website, you will see they have several locations in Florida as well as Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico.
I’m going to be honest, I do not know enough about this company to make a referral and suggest you do your research before booking.
Beyond Northeast Florida: Swimming with Dolphins Across the State
While Northeast Florida has a few exceptional dolphin experiences, Florida’s coastal charm extends far beyond. From the sparkling waters of Miami to the Gulf Coast’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium, several locations across the state offer the chance to swim with dolphins, each with its unique coastal allure.
Discovery Cove: Dolphins
Just a short journey away, Discovery Cove in Orlando, promises an idyllic retreat. Here, guests can swim with dolphins in a natural lagoon, experiencing the thrill of interacting with these intelligent mammals while enjoying an all-inclusive day in a tropical paradise.
Sea World Orlando
Discovery Cove located in SeaWorld Orlando is another option and fantastic place to swim with the dolphins. Again, though, Sea World has also had bad press regarding how their animals are being taken care of. I recommend you do your research first.
Dolphin Research Center: Where Education Meets Play
Further down in the Florida Keys lies the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon. This haven for sea life not only offers dolphin swims but also emphasizes research and education, allowing visitors to engage with these remarkable animals while supporting important conservation efforts.
Gulf World Marine Park
Gulf World Marine Park is located in Panama City Beach and offers several different programs to swim with dolphins. They do recommend you purchase your tickets online as right now they are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
General admission gets you in the door but does not include swimming or interacting with the dolphins. I have stayed near this attraction many times and often thought it does not look open, but it is. Check the website for updated attractions.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is located in Fort Walton Beach on the Gulf of Mexico is dedicated to the protection and conservation of not only dolphins, but all marine animals. I recommend reading the information on their site, especially when it comes to interacting with the dolphins.
You can interact with the dolphins and other animals but will not be in the water in them. Personally, I think this is the best option overall.
Not really sure of the Miami Seaquarium, but I am putting them on the list with the note to check before booking. My understanding is there is a deep water dolphin interaction attraction, but unfortunately, there has been a lot of negative press about the business.
As far as I can determine, they are still open but again, please check prior to visiting. There are very serious concerns regarding this facility. I do not recommend it.
Island Dolphin Care
Located in Key Largo, Island Dolphin Care is a great place to experience and interact with dolphins. All proceeds from ticket sales go back to supporting the Island Dolphin Care mission. Educational Tour is included.
Theater of the Sea
Also located in the Florida Keys on Islamorada, Theater Of The Sea, offer several interactive dolphin programs from swimming with the dolphins to engaging with sharks and crocodiles. Many of the animals located here have been rescued or rehabbed and cannot be released back into the wild.
The dolphin swim program options range from deep water swim to shallow water swim to simply meeting the dolphins. Fun fact, this location has been opened since 1946 and is family owned.
Delving into Marine Wonders: Sea Turtles and More
Beyond dolphins, Florida’s coastline teems with marine wonders. Sea turtles, an integral part of the state’s ecosystem, can be encountered and admired at places like the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach and The Turtle Hospital in Marathon.
Meet the Masters: Dolphin Trainers and Their World
Curious about being a dolphin trainer? These remarkable individuals at various facilities across Florida dedicate themselves to caring for and understanding dolphins.
Their expertise, insights, and passion enrich the experiences of visitors seeking to connect with these intelligent marine beings. It’s the safest way for you to engage not only with dolphins but other animals in their care.
Discovering the beauty of Florida’s coastal gems and fostering a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the sea, but please do your homework first. This will help you have an incredible experience, safe for you AND the dolphins, and lasting memories that you will remember long beyond the shores of the Sunshine State.
The information below will help you plan the perfect Jacksonville Beach Getaway:
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise