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Review of Theater of the Sea

Theater of the Sea
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Theater of the Sea General Admission
Ranked #1 of 63 things to do in Islamorada
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Our mission is to provide a wonderful home for our animals while sharing them with visitors in ways that inspire awareness and sensitivity towards animals, the environment, and conservation issues. At Theater of the Sea watch up close and personal DOLPHIN SHOWS, sea lion shows, parrot shows, and much more! A pioneer in animal interactive programs, at Theater of the Sea you can... SWIM WITH A DOLPHIN... SWIM WITH A SEA LION... Wade, Meet and Paint with a Dolphin... Meet and Paint with a Sea Lion... Swim with the Rays... Swim with the Sharks... And Meet the Sea Turtles! Our 30 minute dolphin swims include BOTH trained behaviors like dorsal tows, kisses, and hugs as well as swimming and snorkeling with dophins. We offer a variety of animal interaction programs for various ages and prices. Programs are available daily and include admission to our dolphin, sea lion, and parrot shows, guided marne life tour, lagoon-side beach, and bottomless boat ride. Theater of the Sea is family owned and operated since 1946 and one of the oldest marine mammal facilities in the world. The lagoons and lush, tropical gardens are home to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, sea turtles, tropical and game fish, sharks, stingrays, alligators, marine invertebrates, and birds.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We had a fabulous day here, they have dolphin, sea lion and other shows and as it is so small it is all very up close and personal, you are never more than a few rows from the front. The best bit is the little lagoon, it's like a tiny man made beach by a pool of water with loads of massive fish in! We bought snorkels and my two boys literally snorkled and swam with these fish for hours. There were also these massive iguana's flopping off the trees and straight into the water and literally swimming across to the other side! It's a small place, hardly any walking and decent little outside cafe. Def worth a visit if you have kids!

1  Thank Candida13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,640 - 2,644 of 3,469 reviews

Reviewed August 14, 2013

What a great little place this was. Beyond the invaluable work they do for the local wildlife, the shows were entertaining and educational. My daughter had a blast and so did the adults in our party.

Thank Dinodad2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Lovely place to go with the family with options to swim with dolphins, rays and sharks, my husband and son chose to swim with the sharks and both enjoyed it immensely. The park is small but has shows throughout the day including parrots and dolphins, there was also a short boat trip and nature walk. At the end of the park there is a little beach where you can hire snorkels etc to check out the underwater life. We spent the whole day there but there is the option of leaving the park possibly for lunch and then re entering later in the day.

Thank JaneFarrington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2013

This was such a nice cozy theme park. alot of fun and very personal. Staff was very friendly and overall a fun place to visit. We have been coming to the keys since the 80's saying we need to stop sometime, we need to stop sometime and now we feel we should stop a few more times !!

Thank Gatorhans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

I have been to Theater of the Sea over 15 times in the past 10 years. My family and I come to the Florida Keys every summer while the kids are out of school, and sometimes even in the winter for vacation as we have a vacation home in Islamorada. Theater of the Sea is always a "must see" for us because of the good prices and my kids have been very lucky being chosen for volunteer portions of shows with the dolphins and sea lions. This summer we visited on 2 separate occasions, and I was very sad to see the dolphin show. There is only one dolphin doing the all of the shows and also doing the boat trips! When we did the boat, he was also doing one of the programs where people can pay extra to get in the water with them and I couldn't help but think about how over worked and busy the dolphin is. I remember in the past seeing at least 2 or more dolphins doing all of this together, and other places I have gone to have spectacular shows with several dolphins partaking. While I will say that the trainer getting in the water with the dolphin for the show is still spectacular, I can't help but feel sorry for the lone animal doing all that work in a days time. It's always sad to see a dolphin alone too, as I've enjoyed seeing them play together and have learned about how social they are with each other from the Dolphin Research Center. We have always preferred Theater of the Sea to the Dolphin Research Center because of the dolphin show, sea lion show, volunteer portions, and the sea turtles, but now I'm not so sure that Theater of the Sea is as good to their animals as dolphin research center and other places we have been to. It seems inhumane to me. I hate to say these things because I have always been so impressed in the past, but it just doesn't sit well with me. The park is also in need of facelift as it really shows its age. Theater of the Sea is the second oldest park in the world, and it looks like it. The walkways and floating path are uneven and my husband tripped and nearly fell twice over these hazards. My daughter also stepped in some kind of animal feces, then we realized there was feces everywhere on the ground there. We were at the beach swimming with the parrot fish (beautiful bright blue fish that surround you there) when we heard a splash next to us. To our horror, we looked up and saw it was a huge iguana up in the trees going to the bathroom! After that, we noticed all kinds of pooh floating around in the water there! It was everywhere! How is that sanitary for children to be swimming around? I am not sure if we will visit again in the future. I would like to think that we can come back some day and be reminded of why we loved it so much in the past.

Thank Karen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
animalcare, Manager at Theater of the Sea, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2013

We appreciate your concerns as we care about the well being of ALL animals.

I only wish you had ASKED one of the animal care staff if Sherman was alone all of the time. If this important question had been asked, we could have told you that he is NOT alone. Sherman has a companion named Toby and they enjoy spending time together throughout the day and participating in our Dolphin Show together. There is access between our various dolphin habitats and perhaps when you were here, Toby had chosen to go into one of the other lagoons.

Additionally we NEVER force an animal to participate in any show or program. Conversely we respect their choice to join us for a session. It is rare for any of the animals to be disinterested in some sort of session with us-shows, programs, training, or play. These are all great ways to open a line of communication into the animal world, challenge the animals to show off their natural capabilities, and promote positive animal and human interaction.

The animals here are our FAMILY and we dedicate our lives to caring for them.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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