Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center

Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center

Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center
Boat Tours • Eco Tours • Dolphin & Whale Watching • Nature & Wildlife Tours
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8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
The Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center began in 1987 as Cape May’s original eco-tour operation. What makes the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center stand out from others is a strong emphasis on science, research, education, and conservation. The operation is family owned and operated. The American Star offers an unparalleled experience aboard a floating marine Research Center where onboard Marine Biologists and Naturalists give an in-depth narration of both the Biology and historical significance of everything occurring right before your eyes. Undergraduate research interns collect data on all of our trips and lead hands-on learning stations. Our passengers become part of the research team on board and through their patronage support our ongoing research and conservation efforts.
Cape May, New Jersey
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(3 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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271 reviews
Very good

Kimberly F
Allentown, PA1 contribution
Aug 2022 • Solo
It’s a beautiful vessel and the staff are so wonderful always willing to help answer questions. The naturalist Melissa and Kathy are great at explaining the dolphins and all the scenery to when it was built and why it still stands there today the dolphins and the whales you might see during your trip. Captain Matt does a great job watching out to see if a whale is possible sighting along with other vessels that care in the water they all work together so you could have a beautiful experience and wanting to return for another trip . I have been going for serveral trip I have seen humpback whales finback whales and the beautiful dolphins and there babies sting rays in the water . Turtles swimming in the water it’s just a beautiful place to go and check out . They have food on the vessels and drinks souvenirs . You won’t regret your trip those beautiful blue waters makes it so peaceful and the beautiful sightseeing . I couldn’t express how much you will enjoy yourself and your family they have a tank up on the top deck that you can see and learn so much more. The staff go beyond there call to make sure you are happy and having a great time and Dale he’s wonderful also the way he jumps into action when they find balloons and anything else that the dolphins or any creature of the ocean could get hurt on by getting it out as Captain Matt slows up the vessel . I could go on and on but I don’t want to spoil the experience you would have it you just came on a vessel ride out in the deep blue ocean you won’t be disappointed I can promise you that. Book your trip today for the next seasons or if your excited they still have vessels ride going on but they will be ending soon .
Written September 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Barkley S
Bordentown, NJ72 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
Our tour boat stopped so the first mate could retrieve a balloon from the ocean which made him our hero! This was an amazing day! Saw tons of dolphins and happen to time it with sting ray migration by the 100’s! No whales that day but we will be back to try again! The crew is friendly and knowledgeable. All covid safety precautions are in place. NJ if you’re looking for a staycationing in these times, I highly recommend starting here and being a tourist at home!
Written July 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John G
Hazlet, NJ18 contributions
Dec 2021
Professionally run. Staff are extremely approachable. The crew is very engaging, and you can just feel their passion. These guys truly love what they do, and it shows in how they react to every single wildlife sighting. Very positive energy and a wealth of knowledge abounded.
Written January 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nassau, NY74 contributions
Aug 2022
My family recently went out hoping to see some whales. We saw numerous dolphins but unfortunately no whales. We were disappointed not to see any whales but we still had a great time. The naturalist on the boat was very informative and the crew were very friendly and professional. I would recommend this trying this boat and maybe you will get lucky and see some whales
Written August 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Leigh K
Chicago, IL68 contributions
Aug 2020
The trip is a relaxing way to enjoy the water. You are not guaranteed to see anything but all of the boats are in contact with each other. If one group finds dolphins or whales, everyone will know about it. We saw at least 6 pods before we were 20 minutes into the trip.

You will get a brief bit of info about the center and all of its work. If you want more, you need to ask or they will let you enjoy the peace and quiet of the trip. You will circle out for an hour and a half and then circle back into the harbor in search for whales spouting.

Make sure you park in their lot and NOT in the lot for the restaurant. The crew will help you out when you ask them about it when you pay. The Groupons are a great saving and they clean the boat in keeping with CDC guidelines.
Written September 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

34 contributions
Sep 2021
No sea / boat safety discussion, education, nor warnings by Captain or Staff. ie. No warnings off rough seas ahead. Ie. No discussion of, nor showing of location of life jackets. My wife and 2 year old daughter were thrown nearly off the ship (top deck) as the boat went into approximately 9 foot swells, again no warnings of rough seas ahead. Total disregard for safety measures for passengers. Should be fined.
Written September 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We would like to address some of your concerns mentioned here as we are not sure that you actually traveled on one of our vessels. Passenger safety is our UTMOST concern at the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center, onboard our vessel the American Star. For over 40 years, we have been in business providing a safe, enjoyable experience for passengers onboard. A 6 minute detailed safety briefing is given by the captain over the boat's P/A system to the entire vessel immediately departing the dock on every trip explaining location and use of life jackets, life boats, and a detailed overview of general safety precautions to be taken while onboard. Your onboard Marine Biologist Naturalist relays parts of safety briefing upon entering open waters and throughout the entire trip. Our walkabout crew members constantly watch over and instruct passengers of safety procedures throughout the entire tour. We are annually inspected by the United States Coast Guard and our crew has to routinely perform drills with Coast Guard to simulate any emergency situation that could occur onboard. Our vessel would never ever travel in 9 foot swells. Our vessel is 100 feet in length and in any seas greater than 4-6 feet, our trips are cancelled. Given your account of your trip I would guarantee you were not aboard our vessel the American Star and we are greatly disappointed that you did not message us directly as we could have easily cleared up this matter. Sincerely, Captain Matt.
Written October 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jersey Shore32 contributions
Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center makes some impressive claims on its web site. They claim their "new" boat is the "smoothest, most stable marine observation vesssel on the entire East Coast." They further claim that once they set sail, "you actually become a part of the 'research team' and that "careful instructions are give in the 'spotting techniques' for particular species by their naturalist. The web site also reminds us that we will never forget the " 'smile' from Tippy" or a " 'wink' from Nubby, which are two of our favorite bottlenose dolphins.

Impressive claims indeed. Well, upon plunking down $35 per person for this attraction, we climb onto a vessel that is clearly not "new." We sat in the back of the vessel, near the restrooms, where the occupants of the woman's room exited one by one, complaining there were no paper towels or toilet paper in the bathroom. I did not use the men's room, but a quick look inside revealed the floor was wet with...something. The snack bar had soda, hot dogs and some candy bars. Of course, their was a plastic tip jar on the counter with a single dollar bill in it. Apparently, after paying $4 for two 12 oz. cans of soda, the attendant was expecting a tip. R-i-i-g-g-h-h-t-t.

Shortly after 1pm we departed for the ocean. The smell of exhaust from the diesel engine was overwhelming near the back of the boat. We never received instructions of any kind on "spotting techniques." We just rode for about two hours before it was apparent we were headed back. The was never any commentary from the crew or the naturalist on where we were going or what we doing. With about 20 minutes left before we were scheduled to arrive at the dock (at 4pm; it was a three-hour tour), the "naturalist" spotted a few dolphins. The boat came to a stop and started circling. In the meanwhile, we were told some illumating things about dolphins: they're mammals, they breath through their blowholes, and they use sonar to navigate the depths of the ocean: all stuff I learned in the fourth grade. The dolphins were briefly seen swimming near the boat. Sadly, we received no 'smile' from Tippy nor a 'wink' from Nubby.

After sitting around for 20 minutes, we continued on our way back to the dock. Upon docking, the Captain acknowledeged that this was a 'rough excursion' since we didn't see any whales and because it was raining pretty hard when we were finally able to see some dolphins. He went on to explain that in their effforts to spot marine mammals, they traveled in three different directions before heading back to the dock. He concluded that we should treat our naturalist the way we would a waiter or waitress. In other words, he was suggesting our naturalist should receive a gratuity for her service. Unfortunately, the loudspeakers from which the naturalist could be heard were located outside the main compartment where most of us were located due to the rain. Accordingly, most of the passengers were unable to hear her narration.
Written September 22, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Haddonfield, NJ219 contributions
Jun 2015 • Family
I purchased 7 vouchers from Groupon for a dolphin watching experience. I had NO IDEA what I was in for! I called to book a month and a half ahead of time, also called to confirm 2 weeks prior. I was driving an hour and a half to get there and my sister was coming from Southern MD with her children as well. Our reservations were for 7 on the 6:30pm trip. We arrived just before 6, filled with excitement for our trip! There was no one in the booth when we arrived so we all stood around and waited, as we were several other carloads also showed up and waited. One person observed that on their whiteboard the 6:30 trip had SOLD OUT written on it. I smiled and said, "well, I guess its a good thing we had reservations!" They agreed that they too were glad they called ahead! At 6:20 when the old sea hag arrived for her shift, I smiled and said "HI! We have reservations for the 6:30 tour. Party of 7" She said "we don't take reservations, and as you can see that right there says SOLD OUT!" I said "um, I called over a month ago to make reservations, I spoke to a very nice young lady and she booked us on this boat trip, I'm not confused, I have it all written down right here." I showed her my vouchers, pointing to the phone number I called and the date I called, even the time I called in the morning. She said the boat was out on a charter with a high school class for the night, also pointed to the dock saying "do you see a boat over there?!" I pointed out that I paid for, made reservations, confirmed and drove all that way for this trip, how could they run a business like this? Then told her I thought it was a load of BS, she then said, "you talk like that in front of your children? We're done here, now leave!" Seriously. Never have I been treated so poorly by any business, ever. I spent a lot of time, money and planning to get there on time and that's how I was treated. She never suggested when we might come back, never said she was sorry, nothing, just treated me like an idiot and dismissed me.
There are a lot of different companies in the area that offer the same service, I highly suggest you go elsewhere.
Written July 1, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

New York City, NY15 contributions
Sep 2012 • Family
We should have done our homework so we understood that very few whales swim offshore in Cape May during the summer months. At the same time, this company misleads customers in their advertising on two fronts. One is around the possibility of spotting whales. The second is the suggestion that tour narrators are marine biologists. Our tour guide pointed out as much about hotels on the shoreline as she did about sea life. After two plus hours on this boat ride we saw a total of two dolphins. At this point four adults were flat out sick as dogs and one child was crying uncontrollably. The p.a. system is way too loud, the boat was crowded and this was an enormous disappointment.
Written September 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nick I
Columbus, OH6 contributions
Jul 2018 • Family
This is a great trip and should be had by all. However, you never see whales, nor did I have any expectations of seeing them. You do see a ton of dolphins seagulls and other aquatic birds, and even though it was raining the entire time, it was a complete blast. This is a great thing to do on a rainy day, which is what we did. You only see whales in the late fall and even then...maybe you see whales. You see them in the late fall because that's their migrating season, which is the only time they show up off the NJ coast. However the crew was friendly and explained whales and even had a show and tell! They were happy to answer any questions you had and you saw all of Cape May Coast. It was a wonderful 3 hours spent on a day where there was no possibility of catching any rays on a beach.
Written August 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go