Friday, April 18, 2008

Dolphin Research Center

OK, so they left a nice comment on my very brief description of our visit to the center, so I'll expound!

One of the things we didn't have enough time to do, although would have LOVED to do, is swim with dolphins. This place offers a variety of options that include just getting a picture with a dolphin to actually meeting dolphins out in the wild. The ones we witnessed were "Dolphin Encounters", which I'm sure on warmer days are a bit more enjoyable. That particular day, when we were sort of in a hurry to catch our plane, it was only 62 degrees and incredibly windy. The kids in the water had chattering teeth! I guess that's the downside to having to plan your encounter in advance - you have no idea what the weather will be like!

Anyway, I really wanted to check this place out and someday we'll return with our girls, who love dolphins! This a cute little place, a bit pricey, which is understandable. Having a sister who was a marine biology major and understanding how all these internship experiences work, I know they operate on a tight budget, have to feed their animals and are trying to maintain some level of research. Educating visitors is their way of doing this, so we really didn't mind paying the $20/person entrance fee.

There are some cute areas, but most of the action centers around the dolphin/sea lion areas, where the staff interact with the dolphins and guests, have daily presentations and encounters. All the dolphins seem quite happy, well taken care of and most certainly loved. If it hadn't been so cold, I would have been quite disappointed that we hadn't scheduled our own encounter!!

I'll leave you with some pictures we took there and just say that we recommend a visit there, and if you are interested in a dolphin encounter, definitely plan in advance online. I personally think it's worth your time - and just a unique way to spend part of your vacation. If you think your child won't get in and make it not worth your money, think again. One boy asked at the beginning of the encounter if he had to get into the water! The researcher told him no, he didn't... but by the end, that child was being pulled around the pool by a dolphin, laughing and smiling like he was having the time of his life. You just can't stay away from those gentle, loving dolpins, even if it's 62 degrees!!


Mary Stella said...

It's very sweet of you to recommend our facility. As you said, we love our dolphins and work hard to provide the best care for them. You're right. This takes money and we rely on people visiting and doing the programs, as well as on donations and memberships. Yes, please come back when the water's a little warmer. You'll have a great time!

The DRC Family said...

I goofed and used my personal blogger account, instead of the DRC one -- but the sentiments and appreciation are the same. :-) Thanks again.

deanna said...

I really should have mentioned that I'd totally recommend a facility that educates and researches over a facility that purely provides an "experience" as our dollars are better spent!! I love the interaction between the dolphins and researchers at your facility - I'll recommend it to anyone I know going to the Keys, for sure!