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“Memories to last a lifetime... Mission Accomplished!”

The Dolphin Explorer
Ranked #4 of 85 Tours in Marco Island
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A National Geographic approved tour, we see dolphins on every trip up-close and personal. Join the crew of the Dolphin Explorer cruising the waters of Marco Island in search of dolphins as part of the only dolphin research study in Southwest Florida. On our trip, you will visit rookeries, estuaries and a barrier island that you can explore and shell. Two trips daily, seven days a week. A fabulous family adventure.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Memories to last a lifetime... Mission Accomplished!”
Reviewed February 26, 2013

We booked this tour after being recommended by a friend! This tour was the highlight of our trip from the adults to my 7 year old! We saw dolphins throughout the tour and had an opportunity to identify which dolphins we found based on their fin markings, followed by an insland stop for shelling! The guides were very patient, enthusiastic and informative. I highly recommend this tour for all ages!

Visited February 2013
Thank AngieL11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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615 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Best thing we did on Marco!”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

We took this tour the morning of Feb 11/13. We had visited Rose Marina earlier and picked up a pamphlet from Bob so we made our reservations over the phone. Trip day we arrived 30 minutes early and check in/ ticket purchase went quickly, there were 23 passengers on our trip. Bob had us gather together 10 prior to leaving to give us the rundown of our adventure which was clear and informative(several kids on board) and delivered with several good natured jokes. He led us down to the boat which had a partial roof for some shade. There were two tour guides who were biologists and loaded with info about dolphins and lots of other wildlife common to the area. Upon starting the trip may of us started coughing ( we had been coughing often at the beaches that week) and the guide explained that there is a single celled algae called Red Tide which attacks fish, but not humans, and is in the air sometimes. The guide explained what we would be doing and gave great info on the local dolphins and their lifestyle and habits. I saw the first dolphin tail and they took us over to the sighting. Turned out to be a group of 5 young dolphins playing. Binders containing photos of the local dolphins had been handed out with descriptions of how they are identified and tracked. The biologists spent more than adequate time with the kids explaining and teaching. He also took photos of one dolphin and distributed a photo to every group so we could identify it. All told we had 4 sightings. Apparently manatee are not around this time of the year but we saw some great birds. We were given several more photos at the end of the trip. We stopped at Keewaytin Island for 30 minutes to do some shelling...simply beautiful! We so enjoyed this trip and would take it again and the kids loved it! If you have kids sit at the back..the dolphins chase the boat as it accelerates..very exciting!

Visited February 2013
Thank Donna W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookfield, IL
Level Contributor
54 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Would give is 100 stars if I could”
Reviewed February 13, 2013

What a life changing tour! I excpected to see dolphins and maybe learn something about them but the information that Chris gave on the tour was so intriguing--things I had never heard before about their social lives and their bodies--Amazing stuff. Then not only did we see dolphins but BABY dolphins!! Two of them. The boat driver man found a group of dolphins and drove by them and then gunned it! The dolphins trailed behind the boat for at least FIVE MINUTES jumping into the wake. They looked like they were having so much fun! It was about $60 for the tickets, knowing what I know now I would have paid more and I will go again if I am ever near them.
We stopped at a secluded island to go shelling for an hour. It was the absolute BEST shelling I have ever expierenced. They had drinks on board and printed out pictures of the dolphins we saw right there on the boat!! Chris even took a picture of my family on the beach for me. SO NICE!!! The pre-teen girls on the boat were given worksheets to complete as dophin observers and when the trip was over Chris got their counts and he sounded so official I think the girls really got into it because of him then he gave them BADGES!! I wanted a badge, haha! :)

just do it. you won't regret it.
Best 3 hours of the whole vacation, they

Visited February 2013
Thank bericky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton Ontario
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“What a trip...!!!!!”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

We were lucky enough to meet a family on the beach who recommended this tour. We booked the following day and had a lovely time. It is always hit and miss on seeing any dolphins. Well we saw a dozen...We saw mother/baby/and 3 year old dolphins. We saw young adults and adult dolphins. In this tour you dont feed or chase the dolphins you look at them and identify each one using the tours master index book. The young adult dolphins actually chased our boats wake. What fun it was!! We went on the early excursion (9am).

Visited January 2013
Thank Perrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“An Exhilerating Exciting Adventure”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

My husband and I are from the Arizona desert. So reading about the National Geographic connection, we decided to take the trip. It is not to be missed! We saw 9 dolphin at five sitings. We were able to get relatively close. We saw nesting osprey, cormorants, and various other birds. We were taken to an island to shell for 45 minutes. The beach was pristine, and our group of 24 were the only ones there. We had our photo taken and were given a copy. We were also given photos of an osprey we saw, one of the dolphins,and a fin of one. That was a bonus. But the most exciting part was when we wer coming back, two dolphin got in the boats wake and rode along coming up and close to the boat. It was totally awesome and an experience that I will never forget. I only wish that I had brought my family when they were here last month. I plan on going back when more family comes to visit. A special thanks to James, who was knowledgeable and informative. Captain Bob did a great job, and Bob who sold us our tickets was pleasant and helpful. Every aspect was professional and positive.

Visited January 2013
Thank lanarose823
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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