Swim With Dolphins In Miami (Or Nearby)

Where, What, Who, How Much?

Swiming with Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Centre, Grassy Key

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...

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 20-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 including an educational briefing 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 snorkel or dive alongside the dolphins and learn more about the dolphins' natural behavior and abilities. Guests may observe natural behaviors such as nursing, vocalizations, hunting/fishing, and diverse social interactions within the pod.

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, adults with toddlers

The list below, although not at all comprehensive 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" $220 - $240 $44 - $53 (Includes admission to park $37.99-$47.99) 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 $160 - $180 $44 - $53 (Includes admission to park $37.99-$47.99) 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 Park Admission
$23 - $28
Book
DRC Dolphin Splash 2 hours, 20-25 minutes in water, standing in submerged platform, do NOT go into deep water at all, lots of splashing and games All ages! little kids can be held by adult $119, under 4 free Park Admission
$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
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 12 and up $75 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

31 Corinne Pl Key Largo, FL 33037 Located at MM 99.5 Oceanside
(305) 453-4321
Program Description Min. Age Height Cost Observer Book
Interactive Swim This is a deep-water program, you'll experience the speed, power, and gentle precision of our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins via a variety of trained behaviors after a 30-40 minute briefing. Times 10am, 1pm and 3pm 10+, minimum 7 with adult $210 None Book
Connect To Protect Your private, personalized swim experience is tailored to you and the dolphin as our trainers guide you through a series of interactions designed to build a meaningful connection with the dolphin. Stand on a platform or swim in deep water, your choice. 15 minute briefing, 15 minutes in the water. Times: 9:15 am 13+, minimum 7 with adult $249 None Book
Splash and Wade Stand in waist deep water as the dolphins come to you for body rubs, handshakes or kisses. Briefing 20-30 minutes, Times: 10am, 1pm and 3pm 10+, minimum 3 with adult $165 None Book
Snorkel With Dolphins The goal of this program is to observe and learn more about the dolphins' natural behavior and abilities by swimming and diving along with them. While in the water, mask and fins are required, but the snorkel is optional. Guests may observe natural behaviors such as nursing, vocalizations, hunting/fishing, and diverse social interactions within the pod. Briefing 20-30 minutes, in-water 20 minutes. Times: 2:30 pm 13+, minimum 7 with adult, prior snorkeling experience is recommended, but not required $150 None 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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