We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Great Aquarium!!”

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Delight in watching dolphins leap and sea lions play during our spectacular shows! Or participate and interact directly with these and other remarkable marine animals including stingrays, sharks, and otters in our new interactive programming (additional fee applies). Enjoy educational exhibits and beautiful ocean views. Open daily at 9am.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Small but great! Good shows and exhibits! There was a dolphin and sea lion show. The view into the dolphin tank at entrance is awesome!

2  Thank MoniG3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (1,105)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

896 - 900 of 1,106 reviews

Reviewed August 25, 2013

This is an intimate experience for a morning or afternoon that you are bound to enjoy, whether you're 60 or 6. So get it out of your heads right now: this is not an all encompassing aquarium venue like the National Aquarium in Baltimore or a slick corporate show, a la Sea World. Rather, it's a smallish but very busy marine park filled with marine mammals as well as fish, birds, etc. The habitats are built to invite close up looks, and the shows are styled so you can watch from different vantage points. Most of the park is shaded to some extent to alleviate sun stroke or downpours.

One of the nice things about Gulfarium is that it was originally built in the 50s. So it retains a little bit of that Florida "kitsch" that has long died out, especially in more urban areas. Some people in other posts were put off by this, possibly because they prefer their venues more cookie cutter and uniform, i.e "chain like", such as: Wal-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Olive Garden, Staples, etc. We, however, thought that this was part of it's charm.

But the best part are the trainers and interns. There are loads of them. They make themselves accessible and love to talk about the different creatures. By the way, they all have names and the trainers will happily tell you about each one and their individual personalities. Really! They also have individual "encounter" sessions which were reasonably priced and which appeared to be a big hit among the people who took advantage. But the interaction between the staff and the kids, as well as the adults, seemed to be the highlight.

The location is on the beach, there is a fishing pier close by, as well as bars and restaurants. If the kids are taking too long, you can always get a drink. But you won't want to. I loved it, my wife loved it, and so did my daughter, Christa.

1  Thank MhaPa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

My family really loved this place. The price was reasonable and the staff was very personable (and VERY FAR FROM rude, which I see some recent reviewers saying). After a show, my 10 and 11 year old sons asked some questions to the trainers and they were very nice and answered all their questions in a way that they understood. The shows were quite entertaining, though I thought the announcer talked a little too fast and the audio was a little on the poor side (it may have been where we were standing). While I can understand saying the same thing over and over again can be mundane, they should know that those listening are hearing it for the first time. That is probably my only gripe of this place. We went up to the announcer to ask him some questions after the show and he was super nice and really took to time to answer our questions in grave detail. You could tell that these people foster your interest in marine life and aren't just looking for you to give them a good word. I really appreciated that.

I thought the rest of the Gulfarium was quite interesting. There was an indoor aquarium with many species of fish, seahorses, you name it. Outside, but still covered by a roof, you had penguins, seals, sharks, turtles, alligators, stingrays, birds, and a "touch it" tank where you could pick up and handle starfish, horseshoe crabs, and some others. I know there a couple that I'm not mentioning too.

We had missed the last opportunity to do a "discover," where you got to get up close with a dolphin, for example, and touch it as well as command it. So the Gulfarium said if we wanted to reserve on a different day, they would wave the entrance fee. I really thought that was spectacular, and good business sense for them since we couldn't resist reserving a spot for the "Discover Dolphin" tour. We signed our two boys up and while they say "5 minutes with a dolphin" they didn't seem to hold it to the minute as it seemed longer. The trainer that was with our boys was super nice and really patient and descriptive. My boys got to feed the dolphin, touch it, hold the tail fins, and command it.

Our 10 year old son was so taken by this place that he actually cried when we left!! The next morning, I found him on his computer researching dolphins and he now says he wants to become a trainer!!!

1  Thank Derrick J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Went on 20th Aug. Found all the staff here to be very rude for some reason! very curt when you asked them a question. We tried to get my son in the Otter program in the morning for that after noon and got 3 diff stories. one was its closed, its finished and its full!! yet when I called earlier in the week it was ..sure no problem...he was very dissapointed. They were not to concerned either at him being upset just shrugged their shoulders!!!!! We also tried to get into see the tropical birds but the staff, put my 5yr old son out and locked the doors for training!! for 2 hours!! so we didnt get to see them at all.. I mean honestly couldnt they have done that after the park closed??? Overall we just felt this whole place has gone downhill compared to previous visits and the quality is really slipping. They seem to be dropping shows in lieu of keeper talks now which is a total cop out for the money they charge. We will not be back.

Thank Kamille
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013

Unless you are planning on paying extra for the hands on animal experiences then the Gulfarium is not worth a trip to in my opinion.

1  Thank Amber L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park also viewed

Fort Walton Beach, Florida Panhandle
Fort Walton Beach, Florida Panhandle
 
Fort Walton Beach, Florida Panhandle
Fort Walton Beach, Florida Panhandle
 

Been to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing