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“Good experience, yet disappointing” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Dolphin Quest

Dolphin Quest
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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 research.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Good experience, yet disappointing”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2014

There are a few things you need to know in order to set your expectations appropriately. My kids did the Dolphin Encounter Deluxe which is listed in the materials as 45 minutes. The program began at 1:45 and my kids were done by 2:20. I'm not sure how that totals up to 45 minutes. They spent a total of 30 minutes with the dolphins so as long as you are prepared for that, you will be set. The second item to be prepared for is the check in time. Check in time is 30 minutes prior to your experience for the Encounter Deluxe. No where does it say that check in time is 30 minutes prior in the confirmation email you receive or on the website where you book. There is a link titled "summary" in the confirmation email -- it is imperative that you click on that link as it contains some valuable information, including the check in time. Overall, a bit pricey for 30 minutes with the dolphins, but the kids thought it was great.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank David D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Dolphin Encounter Deluxe”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

First of all, I would like to set things straight. There is a rated 'terrible' review which criticizes the dolphins environment, and says that their natural habitat is only a barrier away. If the reviewer actually attended the session and listened to the trainers, these dolphins are actually Atlantic Bottlenose, who are coastal dolphins and spend the majority of their life in very shallow waters. Look up Google. These majority of these dolphins are born in captivity, and cannot be introduced to the wild as the chances of survival would be very very slim indeed. So, they are kept for raising funds and to help with research and education. Why not?

Sure it is expensive, but this is one of those experiences which is long remembered after the monies paid is forgotten.

The maximum number of 6 people is OK , but I would recommend doing the 45 minutes package. We had our 6 year old with us, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She did very well, as she is normally quite passive. To make the most of it, your child should be comfortable with going out to deeper waters (with life jacket provided) and putting his/her head underwater (masks provided but no snorkel).

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Dbnlau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
Level Contributor
75 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Good experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2014

This was a good experience if a bit pricey. We chose the Sea Quest option and I would not do that again. It includes snorkeling which you can do on your own in the lagoon without paying for it. The experience with the dolphins is good and the trainers try to make it as entertaining as possible. Keep in mind that you cannot choose the people in your group so if you are traveling with others, you should all go at the same time. We (two adults) were scheduled for the same group as 4 children which affected the experience a bit. Aside from that, we had a good time and enjoyed it. A lot of the money they make comes from the photos they take. If you have someone from your group who is not participating, ask them to take a lot of photos so you don't have to pay for pictures if you want them. Admittedly, the cost of the pictures afterwards is probably the biggest downside to the whole experience.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Catherine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frisco, Texas
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“An Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2014

I've always said dolphins are the golden retrievers of the fish world. Dolphin Quest lets you get up-close-and-personal with these amazing animals. Don't expect to hold on to their dorsal fins and get pulled along like you see in the movies, but you get to touch, play, feed, and interact with multiple dolphins during your time with them, The time does fly, so make sure and enjoy it. If you don't have anyone that can take happy-snappys, get the download of their pictures and videos.....well worth the price! Also, the profits go to taking care of dolphins, not to some undeserving corporate schmuck.

We'll definitely go again!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank HumerousUserName
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Kids Absolutely Loved It But Overpriced”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2014

We did a group with three kids (between 5 and 13) and one adult. The kids nearly lost it having so much fun with dolphins. The trainers made sure everyone got their time with dolphin. The time goes very quickly. It was way overpriced (especially the photos/video) and doubt we would do it again, but a worthwhile indulgence for dolphin lovers.

One additional downside is that you cannot take cameras with you, so you either need someone to skip the experience to take (long distance) photos from outside the enclosure or pony up the big bucks for the photos/video.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank kcsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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