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Review of Dolphin Quest

Dolphin Quest
Ranked #1 of 31 things to do in Waikoloa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dolphin Quest Hawaii, located at the spectacular Hilton Waikoloa Village, brings people and dolphins closer than ever in fun, interactive dolphin encounter programs for all ages. This unique experience is on-of-a-kind on Hawaii's Big Island and is great for kids, adults or the entire family! Reservations can be made a year in advance. Dolphin Quest's Learning Center Lagoon, opened in 1988, was the first of its kind and inspired a new generation of large, natural habitats for marine mammals. A portion of the proceeds from your Dolphin Quest encounter program supports vital marine education, conservation and scientific study. TripAdvisor Certificate Excellence winner for the last 6 years (2012 to 2017)!
Pasco, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2013

My 2 girls did the Dolphin Trainer for a day. Expensive but worth every penny for the pictures and the memories. and the Trainers a extremely educated and just wonderful

Visited December 2013
Thank Coren P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Gold Coast
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Amazing, but a conflict of conscience”
Reviewed December 23, 2013

This will be short n sharp, and I write this understanding that we all have different positions on animal welfare etc etc.

First up, these animals are amazing, and I could not take the smile off my face while I was in the lagoon with these beautiful creatures. And it was a totally different experience than when swimming/snorkling with wild specimens.

I rate this as Very Good purely for selfish reasons and because it was fantastic just touching, feeding, and swimming with them.

But - I agree with some of the reviews below.... I wonder about the pool size, and the separation etc etc. But the handlers did say they rotate the groups with human interaction to one possibly 2 45minutes sessions a day. I am more concerned that they are not part of a larger breeding or conservation effort, and that the last time they opened up the gene pool was 4 years prior.

As far as the service aspect. The check in, availability of someone at front desk to help you guide your way to and through the "process", was pretty lack lustre. And the guy at the desk was very uninterested.

The handlers though.. were very friendly and informative, and were softly assertive in guiding people into the correct handling and interaction with the dolphins.

Visited December 2013
3 Thank buffstah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience”
Reviewed December 20, 2013

A controlled atmosphere. Each person's interaction with the Dolphins was personal and on their own terms and comfort level.
A wonderful experience for any age.

Visited December 2013
Thank cruiseaholicCt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Expensive but worth it!”
Reviewed December 20, 2013

It was amazing to swim with the dolphins. The trainers were really friendly and knowledgeable and clearly cared about the animals. We got a lot of time "meeting" three dolphins, including a baby. Be prepared to pay money for the photos after the experience - you're going to want the photos of you and the dolphins, but it will cost a lot.

We did the 45-minute experience, which still felt short, but it was definitely worth picking it over the 30 minute experience.

The only thing that would keep me from doing this again is the cost, but if you have never done something like this before, I'd recommend it.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank amalance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redwood City, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Good, but expensive”
Reviewed December 9, 2013

My wife has been talking about touching/playing with dolphins for while, so when we saw the Hilton offered this experience I figured we should try it.

It was fun - the staff are very friendly/helpful and the dolphins are extremely playful. In the 45-minute Encounter Deluxe, we interacted with the three dolphins they had in the pool to see the differences, posed with the dolphins for pictures, and then watched (including underwater) while they performed various jumps and spins.

The activity was more entertainment then education - the trainer certainly knew a lot about dolphins and answered a lot of questions, but the regular agenda felt like it focused more on taking photos and watching the dolphins do tricks then learning about them. I suppose that's what most people want out of the trip.

That being said, it's very expensive. The base cost for the encounter isn't cheap to start with, but then they offer tons of up-sell options (DVDs, photos, etc.). No, you cannot bring your own camera in the water "for the safety of the dolphins", but they'd be happy to sell you 6x8 prints that their photographer took. The smart people in our group had friends/relatives taking photos with a telephoto lens from outside the pool area.

You don't "swim" with the dolphins - you stand in the water while they swim past you. Ultimately, I think we could have gotten the same level of interaction, just out of the water, with dolphins at SeaWorld, for a fraction of the cost.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank ChrisLki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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