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Swim With Dolphins In Miami (Or Nearby)

Where, How and How Much

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Swim With Dolphins In Miami (Or Nearby)

Where, What, Who, How Much?

If you get to swim with dolphins during your Miami vacation, that is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip! Interacting and playing with these beautiful and smart creatures is truly an incredible experience...

Swiming with Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Centre, Grassy Key

Swimming with dolphins was the highlight of our spring break a few years back. We have such wonderful memories, not only that, it was a great learning experience for the entire family.

If you are staying in Miami, there are quite a few places in the city or a short drive away in the Florida Keys that offer an array of dolphin interactions and programs and there is bound to be something to choose from depending on your interests, ages of the participants, even swimming abilities.

There are even programs for those that don't want to get in the water where you get to play, paint with and greet a dolphin and stay dry.

What Is Involved In A Swim with Dolphins Program?

There are different offerings, ranging from short 30-minute "play" sessions to a full-day of activities training and caring for the dolphins.

A typical "swim" will last about one-and-a-half to two hours and very likely include, among other things, a dolphin kiss, a hand shake, a belly rub, some hand-signals, commands and tricks, and the favorite dorsal pull.

Swiming with Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Centre - a Dorsal Pull

For those that prefer something more natural rather than the structured interactions, places like Dolphins Plus in Key Largo offer swims where you float in the natural lagoon, you are encouraged to swim alongside but not to reach out to the dolphins but rather let them come to you.

Can Anyone Do It?

Yes, just about. Some places have age and/or height requirements for some of the programs, and even then, they will allow babies and toddlers when held by an adult.

Swiming with Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Centre, Grassy Key

The list below, although not at all comprehensive (we're still working on it) gives you an idea of the selection of activities and age and height requirements if any.

How Much Does It Cost?

Of course it will depend on the program of your choice and can range from $60 for a "Play with a Dolphin" program to over $500 for the more comprehensive "Trainer for a Day" kinds of programs.

Besides the cost of the program, also consider the photo fees which are optional but believe me, you will want to get them! Most of the places have their own photographers at the site and they do a marvelous job. There are many packages available, allow an extra $25 or so per participant.

Of course in most cases you are also free to bring your own camera and snap away, or rather, whoever is not in the water can take the pictures.

Also consider the cost of non-participants i.e. observers. At some places like the Dolphin Research Center, observers pay the cost of admission to the park, at the Miami Seaquarium they pay a bit more in addition to the general admission, at Dolphins Plus, there is no extra charge for observers accompanying participants in a dolphin program.

See the below table to get an idea of the range of programs and their costs.

Tips and FAQ's

  • Bring towel, bathing suit, and a snorkeling rash guard, dive skin or synthetic t-shirt to protect you from the sun

  • English is required for most of the programs, some will let non-English speaking persons to participate with another English speaker that can help translate, check your specific program

  • Pregnant women should not participate in some programs for safety reasons

  • Make reservations for the program of your choice, specially during weekend and holidays when the programs tend to fill up quick. If you come without reservations, arrive early and try for one of the "walk in" programs at the Dolphin Research Center. See below.

Swim with Dolphins Programs

Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami FL 33149
(305) 361-5705
Program Description Min. Age Height Cost Observer Book
Dolphin Odyssey 1 1/2 hours, 30 minutes in water, kiss, handshake, rub, training tricks, feeding and dorsal pull Must be 52" $212.89 $45 - $56 (Includes admission to park $34-$45) Book
Dolphin Encounter 1 1/2 hours, 30 minutes in water, the dolphin swims to you, you stand in shallow water, no swimming involved. Kiss, handshake, training tricks. 5 and up $105.89 - $148.69 $45 - $56 (Includes admission to park $34-$45) Book

Visiting the Miami Seaquarium

Traveler Reviews of the Miami Seaquarium including Dolphin Encounter programs

Dolphin Research Center

58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key FL 33050
(305) 289-0002
Program Description Min. Age Height Cost Observer Book
DRC Dolphin Encounter 2 hours, 20-25 minutes in water, standing in submerged platform, kiss, handshake, hand signal, training tricks and dorsal pull 5 and up $199 $23 - $28 Book
DRC Dolphin Dip 2 hours, 20-25 minutes in water, standing in submerged platform, back rub and flipper shake, hand signal, training tricks Everyone, little kids can be held by adult $159, under 5 free $23 - $28 Book
Ultimate Trainer for the Day Full Day: Accompany trainers all day during this intensive interactive adventure, includes photo package, lunch dolphin painted shirt, etc. 10 and up $695 N/A Spots limited to 4 per day. Book
DRC Trainer Experience Half-Day: Join dolphin training staff on the docks to observe and participate in interactive sessions. Observe a sea lion session with a trainer. 5 and older, under 10 with adult $475 N/A Spots limited to 4 per day. Book
Play With A Dolphin Half-Hour: Play with a dolphin from the dock, no swimming but lots of splashing involved! 5 and up, under 8 with adult $60 plus admission $23 - $28 $23 - $28 Walk In Only
Dolphin Explorer Half-Hour: Learn about dolphin research at DRC, then move onto the dock to play learning games with the dolphins 5 and up, under 8 with adult $75 plus admission $23 - $28 $23 - $28 Walk In Only
Paint With A Dolphin Half-Hour observing session plus 10 minutes interaction as a dolphin paints a t-shirt as you hold it over the water 3 and up, under 8 with adult $65 plus admission $23 - $28 $23 - $28 Walk In Only
Dolphin Explorer Half-Hour observing session plus 10 minutes interaction time: shake flippers and let a dolphin glide under your hand for a back rub 1 and up, under 8 with adult $25 plus admission $23 - $28 $23 - $28 Walk In Only

Our Dolphin Encounter at the Dolphin Research Center

TripAdvisor Readers rate DRC highly, here's what they have to say

Dolphins Plus Oceanside

31 Corinne Pl Key Largo, FL 33037 Located at MM 99.5 Oceanside
(866) 860-7946

Dolphins Plus Bayside

101900 Overseas Hwy. Key Largo, FL 33037 Located at MM 102 Bayside
(877) 365-2683
Program Description Min. Age Height Cost Observer Book
Structured Dolphin Swim 2 hours, briefing and swim, guests are asked to enter a natural, ocean-water lagoon (10-15 feet deep) and tread water while wearing a flotation vest to interact with dolphin, handshakes, belly rubs, kisses, dorsal tows, training and hand signals. Swimmers 7-9 must be with adult in water, swimmers 10-17 with observing adult $210 None Book
Natural Dolphin Swim 30-40 minute briefing plus 30 minutes in water with snorkel gear in a natural encounter. Swimmers are asked not to reach out and touch the dolphins but are encouraged to simulate dolphin body language by swimming alongside them and diving underwater with them. Swimmers 8-12 with adult in water, swimmers 13-17 with observing adult $165 None Book
Shallow Water Dolphin Encounter Waist deep dolphin interaction, the dolphins will come to you for body rubs, handshakes or kisses. 3 and up, must be 4" tall or with participating adult to hold them in the water $165 None Book
Trainer for a Day A full day of dolphin interactions with a behind the scenes look into marine mammal care and training, includes the Structured, Shallow Water, and Sea-Lion Swims 7 and up $695 $100 Book

The TripAdvisor community rates DolphinsPlus highly, here's what they have to say.

NEXT: Check out our Dolphin Swim at the Dolphin Research Center, photos and video

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