August 18, 2017

7 Ways to Get Up Close and Personal with Dolphins

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If you caught Dolphin Tale either in theatres or when it was released on DVD and Blu-ray last month, no doubt you’re in love and want to hop in the water with the next dolphin you see. Fortunately, there are a bunch of dolphin encounter programs to let you get up close and personal with these lovable mammals. Take a look at these seven programs worth checking out:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Clearwater, FL): Get up close with one of the resident dolphins through three different types of dolphin activities. You can wade with dolphins, engage in a dolphin encounter (go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium and work side-by-side with dolphin trainers) or be a dolphin trainer for the day.

Dolphin Cove (Key Largo, FL): Children as young as four can enjoy the Shallow Water Dolphin Encounter, which gives participants the opportunity to get up close with dolphins while standing in waist deep water in a natural lagoon. You and your kids will even learn to give the dolphins signals to make them sing and dance with you.

Dolphin Expeditions (Bahamas): Head south to the Caribbean for the chance to swim, dance and free-dive with the wild dolphins. If you’re looking for serious dolphin time, this week-long expedition is for you and your family, with opportunities to live aboard or live ashore during the week.

Dolphin Research Center (Marathon, FL): You’ll find a boatload of dolphin programs here in the Florida Keys, including daily programs, like Researcher for a Day, where you can spend the day as part of the dolphin research team, and Dolphin Explorer, where you can play learning games with the dolphins and help out with research activities.

Miami Seaquarium (Miami, FL): Head to Dolphin Harbor at the Miami Seaqurium for two different dolphin interaction programs. Try out the Dolphin Odyssey for an educational classroom presentation, followed by the opportunity to don a wetsuit and get up close with dolphins. Or, wade into the water with a dolphin and learn what it’s like to train a dolphin as part of the Dolphin Encounter program.

Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley, MN): You don’t need to be in the warm waters of South Florida or the Caribbean to get up close and personal with dolphins. At the Minnesota Zoo, you will learn about their dolphins, take a behind-the-scenes tour and join a dolphin trainer pool side for a close dolphin encounter.

National Aquarium (Baltimore, MD): Be side-by-side with trainers in a private, weekly 2.5 hour training and play session with the dolphins. You’ll then get an all-access pass and priority seating in Our Ocean Planet: The Dolphin Show (playtime follows the show).

Of course, if you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii, you’ll find plenty more dolphin encounter adventures, so I highly recommend checking into these programs if you’re heading to either of these vacation spots. If you do, let me know what you thought about your dolphin encounter.

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