Marineland Dolphin Adventure
If you’re fascinated by the many animals that glide through our oceans, this is the place to come. However, this is not your average aquarium. Located at 9600 Oceanshore Blvd. in historic St. Augustine, Florida, Marineland Dolphin Adventure has been operating for over 80 years. Besides the numerous experiences and educational opportunities provided here, Marineland has been used in various Hollywood films. It also has contributed significantly to marine conservation and science.
Marineland was also home to Nellie, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin born at Marineland. She served as a symbol for all marine mammals and lived to a record 61 years, the oldest dolphin in human care in the world. She was famous for her hula hoop trick and was featured in several TV shows filmed at the facility.
Numerous types of fish, sea turtles, sharks, eels, and even octopuses are on display. General Admission provides access to various habitats, including those of dolphins, sea turtles and red-footed tortoises. There are also daily presentations and tours included, including Shark Talk, Dolphin Training, and Turtle Talk. Various programs are also offered for a separate charge.
Tortoise Time – Guests get to learn about, and interact with, red-footed tortoises. Guests get to feed the tortoises and pick them up. Have you ever seen a tortoise paint? You will do so here, and you’ll go home with your very own tortoise painting, included with the event.
Custom Dolphin Paintings – Believe it or not, the dolphins get into the paint as well. You’ll get to pick the size painting you want, choose your dolphin from a select group of artists, and even choose up to three colors from a large list. You can hold the canvas while your dolphin paints. For those who can’t visit in person, these paintings can be commissioned and sent to your home.
Aquarist for a Day – Participants learn about this interesting occupation by assisting with feeding, cleaning aquariums, and being able to get close to eels, rays, octopuses and other animals. Who knows, you may have discovered a new career.
Trainer for a Day – If you’ve always envied dolphin trainers, now is your chance. You get to participate in the trainers’ activities in both shallow and deep water and learn about painting with a dolphin. You may never want to leave.
Dolphin Adventures – If you grew up watching the TV show “Flipper,” this is what you’ve been waiting for. Several different interactive dolphin experiences are available, and not all require that you can swim or even get into the water. You’ll get to play with the dolphins, shake “hands,” and even swim with them by either holding their flippers while they swim upside down or having them push you through the water by your feet. The joy of playing with a dolphin that enjoys human company cannot be replicated.
Eco-Tours – These tours offer unique educational experiences, either by boat or kayak. Learn about the importance of keeping our coastlines and feeder stream pristine, what has been done to preserve them and what more can be done.
Marineland is open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The various tours and experiences include general admission. Most have specific starting times, and some are limited as to the number of participants per group. For more information on the many experiences, starting times, and prices, call 407-563-4701. You are guaranteed to come home with unique memories not available anyplace else.