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Dolphin Research Center

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 58901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
Phone Number: +1 305-289-1121
Website
Today
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Description:

Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility....

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. During your visit you can watch and learn all about these amazing animals including dolphin maternity, social groupings, physiology, natural abilities and more. You'll 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, Ultimate Trainer for a Day, Trainer Experience half-day program, Researcher Experience half-day program and Paint with a Dolphin. We are actively involved in programs for people with Special Needs, as well as veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project, Military families, and others. Most of our dolphins were born here. Others have come to us for a variety of reasons -- including those who were injured and rescued as youngsters and later deemed non-releasable by the government. We are deeply committed to providing all of them with a safe, healthy, happy home for life. The well-being of the dolphins and sea lions is our top priority. Your visit and participation in programs supports the care of our marine mammal family, the maintenance of their natural sea water home, and the rest of our mission to educate others about these animals and the importance of conservation. Thank you for your interest in Dolphin Research Center!

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
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    Terrible
Small but nice

This was actually a nicer way to interact with dolphins besides Sea World or big zoos. Much smaller groups of visitors and they appeared well cared for.

5 of 5 starsReviewed 4 days ago
Sancia M
via mobile
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1,818 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,590: English reviews
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

This was actually a nicer way to interact with dolphins besides Sea World or big zoos. Much smaller groups of visitors and they appeared well cared for.

Helpful?
Thank Sancia M
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We love being small enough in size to create a more intimate atmosphere for people to experience the dolphins and sea lions while providing the marine mammal family with the best home and care possible. We're glad that you enjoyed your visit and appreciate your kind words. More 

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Privileged experience and one of the best days of my life. Has the feel of someone's back yard. Genuine sincere and not an ounce of theme park tack. prestigious research centre with staff who are knowledgeable , sensitive , who let you into their world. Caring and nothing was too much. A beautiful experience that brought tears to my eyes,... More 

Helpful?
Thank Anastasis_12
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Your words touch our hearts. We are so happy that you enjoyed such a special experience when you visited Dolphin Research Center. Thanks so much for coming and for sharing your words with us and everyone. More 

Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

We have done this adventure in the Bahamas and at the Seaquarium. While those were great, DRS is by far the best experience. You are in the ocean vs a pool. You swim with two Dolphins at a time and the instructors are personable and make it a fun experience for all. Our kids and grandson enjoyed it so much,... More 

Helpful?
Thank Lauren S
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

So happy to know that you and your family enjoyed your visit so much that you plan to visit us again. Don't forget about that we're a nonprofit organization and have a membership program. All memberships include free admission for a year! Thanks so much for coming to DRC and for telling others about us with your review. See you... More 

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

If you have never seen dolphins before or just want the opportunity to see them up close, this is a good place for you. If you are expecting more than just a view of dolphins in a pool/cove, this could be an expensive side trip that disappoints. There are several pools where you can see dolphins swimming, but if you... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Maria M
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We're sorry to hear that you were disappointed in your visit. Would you please consider providing us with more information about what you were expecting that you didn't find here. We want all of our guests to have a great time and to learn more about the dolphins and sea lions, whether they come in under general admission to watch... More 

Wokingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

On planning our holiday to the Keys the one thing my son wanted to do was to swim with dolphins. We chose the Research Centre as the dolphins are treated with respect and not expected to "put on a show". We had the pleasure of meeting Jax and he was an absolute delight.

Helpful?
1 Thank Caramac19
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Jax always had the pleasure of meeting you! Thanks so much for choosing DRC for your visit and swim experience. We are delighted that you had a great time and appreciate you recommending us to others. More 

Tríkala, Trikala, Greece
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

How could this not be amazing!? Even my teenage son who gets excited about nothing really enjoyed swimming with the dolphins (Dolphin Encounter). He had a Go Pro camera and was able to get some amazing dolphin photos! My daughter got to kiss Cayo, the dolphin they swam with. The staff was super friendly, helpful and full of information. So... More 

Helpful?
Thank Juliet B
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Getting to connect with the dolphins at DRC is something that we see people of all ages enjoy -- as do the dolphins themselves. We're happy to know that your son and daughter had a great time and that they learned more about the animals during their visit. No doubt Cayo enjoyed those kisses, too. Thanks so much for choosing... More 

Level Contributor
46 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Many people veer away from places that have animals. But, this is a rescue haven. All their many birds, seals, dolphins have nowhere else to go. Most are free to leave. This is their home

Helpful?
Thank msriverboater
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Dolphin Research Center is proud to provide a permanent home for the animals in our family -- those that were born here as well as those that came to us from rescue situations where they were sick, injured, or otherwise unable to survive on their own in the wild. This is, indeed their home and we strive to make it... More 

Wilmington, North Carolina
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I signed my daughter up for the dolphin swim for her 17th birthday. What a fantastic experience! She was in a group of about 7 other people and worked with 2 dolphins. Everyone on the group got to do 5 interactions with the dolphins, including dorsal pull, splashing, petting, and kissing. The trainers were very good and all the dolphins... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Mike K
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

You're so right that the dolphins are curious about people and happy to interact. It's always their choice whether to take part in the program. We're delighted that you and your daughter had a great time visiting Dolphin Research Center and that she loved the Dolphin Encounter as a birthday gift. Thanks so much for choosing us and for telling... More 

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
74 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I wish I had more words to describe this experience. The Not for profit organization does a phenomenal job to protect Dolphins, sea lions as well as to great an amazing experience. Been there for the second time. Only one issue: because they do such a great job , more and more people come - hope they can withstand the... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank obx9802
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Thank you for your repeat visit to Dolphin Research Center and for your praise. We're delighted that you enjoyed another great experience. Don't worry, even if more people come to visit the dolphins and sea lions, we will not change the heart of what we do and the DRC mission. We also are always very careful to only ask the... More 

Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

My teenagers were able to swim with the dolphins for maybe 15 seconds. The rest of the time was spent on a plank among 8 people getting to do a few other little things. Have never done this so can't compare. Definitely crazy price of $200. The smile on my daughters face? Priceless

Helpful?
Thank Estelle M
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We're sorry that you were disappointed in the Dolphin Encounter program but are happy to know that your daughter had a good time. For the ease and comfort of our guests, we have installed the submerged platforms so that they do not have to tread water for the 20-25 minutes or so that they are interacting with the dolphins. While... More 

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