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.

“The ONLY Dolphin/Bird Tour to take”

South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This nature center is a voice for dolphins wild and free, we do not keep them in captivity. We do have DAILY BOAT tours to take you out to meet them. Our facility has touch tanks and marine exhibits to help all who visit understand how we can help save our oceans. Our boats still go to meet our dolphins when the large tours do not have enough people to go we go for just four people
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“The ONLY Dolphin/Bird Tour to take”
Reviewed May 23, 2012

I own a house on the island and spend a good deal of time on the island and have frequent visitors. Before I knew better, I took a tour on one of the large tour ships that advertise "eco tour". We were out for 2 hours and I saw 1 dolphin in the distance but they did drag nets and pull out creatures to show the tourists. I found this practice to be cruel, thoughtless and possibly dangerous for the creatures. I then found Scarlett and George and all my visitors have taken the tour and I have yet to have anyone that wasn't thrilled with the trip. I was on her tour two weeks ago with four friends that are licensed wildlife rehabbers. Scarlett took us to nests for Blue Herons and we had dolphins swim up t the boat within reach to put their faces to ours and I swear they were smiling at us. The bay was full of mommas and babies and Scarlett was cautiously boating to insure the well being of the babies while the large tour boat was full steam ahead right over the tops of them. The big boat had to stay close to our boat in order to see dolphins for they surrounded us the entire trip. I was amazed at how much like people these dolphins are for each one is unique with a different color, scars, shapes of tail, fins, etc. When the trip is over you understand how this woman, who spends every day of her life with these fantasic creatures, can identify each one because of their unique qualities. By the end of this tour, you have lost yourself in a fantasy of becoming a dolphin and spending your days in fun and frolic in the beautiful Laguna Madre and coming to greet a dear friend, Scarlett.

Visited May 2012
3 Thank Shirley H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

780 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Level Contributor
126 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Scarlet is truly the dolphin whisperer...you have to experience it for yourself!”
Reviewed May 23, 2012

The 2 individuals who wrote the negative reviews the last two days have no idea to what they refer!! To them...you have never gone with Scarlet on her pontoon to communicate with the dolphins...and granted you will not see a dolphin in the Sea Life Center, as they are not on display in tanks! Make a reservation with Scarlet to go on her dolphin trip and you will find yourself in a different world..the dolphins truly KNOW Scarlet's boat and Scarlet! You have to go to believe it...we were in South Padre Island three winters in a row before we went on Scarlet's boat..."go with her and they will come.." and whole pods of dolphins come right up to her boat, even with their babies...I have videos to prove it. They will leap and splash you - and seem to enjoy entertaining Scarlet's guests. The other "dolphin tour" boats are a waste of money...you may or may not see something from a distance. But go with Scarlet and you'll truly find yourself in a dolphin's world. She is extremely knowledgable and you'll learn a lot on your trip too! And....she DOES have insurance by the way! These negative postings are totally erroneous and an attempt to discredit the best experience and lady on the island!!!
If I were in South Padre right now (I'm in MInnesota) I would even PAY for your trip so you could have the most marvelous experience of your stay in South Padre!!

Visited March 2012
2 Thank dontlikesnow44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed May 22, 2012

My Mom and I went out on Capt. Scarlett's(aka The Dolphinwhisperer)Dolphin Watch/Tour last Friday and I can honestly say that the whole trip was simply AMAZING,FANTASTIC,INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! It was truly an experience that I will never forget..My Mom and I had a BLAST the entire time.We saw quite a number of Dolphins,many came right up to the boat..Capt.Scarlett is very knowledgeable and quite informative of all the dolphins and the surrounding wildlife.It can easily be seen that Capt.Scarlett is very compassionate and cares a great deal about the Dolphins..It is amazing that the Dolphins really do recognize Capt. Scarlett & Rozzi and how well they interact with Capt.Scarlett and Rozzi..Her small boat and the fact that there were only 7 of us(not including Scarlett,Rozzi & Merlin,her cute dog & cat) on the boat made the trip a thousand times more enjoyable then if we had taken one of the larger boat tours..Trust me when I say that my Mom and I highly recommend taking this trip---On a scale of 1-10,Capt. Scarlett's Dolphin tour is a STRONG 10!!!!!!!!!!!!! It definitely deserves 2 thumbs up!!!!!Calling by 8AM on the day that you wish to go on the trip is a very good idea since there are no advance reservations available....Oh sure there are cheaper Dolphin Watches/Tours available on S.Padre Island but the $25.00 cost(each) for Capt.Scarlett's tour is most definitely worth every penny..If I ever get back down to S.Padre Island again,I will most definitely go on Capt. Scarlett's Tour again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Visited May 2012
Thank Dawn H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“No dolphins here”
Reviewed May 21, 2012

We stopped by here on our way out of the island. The people that worked there were very nice, but it was small and seemed more like a pet store than a research and nature center. There are no dolphins to see here. Ironically, my kids favorite part was petting the bunny they have. We enjoyed the sea turtle center better.

Visited May 2012
4 Thank eggjames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
spisealife, Manager at South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center, responded to this review, June 11, 2012
So sorry but no where do we ever say we have dolphins in captivity when our center is devoted to our dolphins of South Padre Island in the wild. We do not believe in captive dolphins. Please read our mission as a non profit organization.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frisco, Colorado
1 review
“Personal, fun, educational!”
Reviewed May 21, 2012

Totally enjoyed our experiences with the dolphins, guided by Scarlett and her pup on the pontoon boat. Clearly--the dolphins trust her, and her respect for nature, and their world is shown by the way the creatures interact so playful with her and her guests.

Visited April 2012
Thank nancy c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center also viewed

South Padre Island, Texas Gulf Coast
South Padre Island, Texas Gulf Coast
South Padre Island, Texas Gulf Coast
South Padre Island, Texas Gulf Coast

Been to South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center? 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