Swim with Dolphins, Brocreative / Shutterstock

The State of Florida is renowned as one of the best places internationally to swim with dolphins. 

Dolphins are intelligent and social creatures. They are easy to train and are always ready to put on a show to their admirers. They love to show off their skills. 

Many people are amazed by their ability, thus why swimming with dolphins has become such a sought-after activity. If you have always wanted to swim with dolphins, you should travel to Florida and visit one of its many marine parks and aquariums. 

To get you started we have prepared a list of 12 places to swim with dolphins in Florida. These places are ideal for both adults and children. You can visit them alone or with family. 

Have a look:

Touching a Dolphin / Facebook

12 Places to Swim with Dolphins in Florida

1. Gulf World Marine Park

Rating: 4.2

Entry tickets (General Admission Ticket): $29 for adults (12+) – $19 for children (5-11) – $24.99 for seniors (55)

Gulf World Marine Park is an aquarium in Florida that offers an interactive and entertaining experience with dolphins. It is home to marine species like sea lions, sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. But its main center of attraction is dolphins. 

The aquarium is one of the grandest places to swim with dolphins in Florida. The dolphins are in a controlled environment. 

Before swimming with dolphins, you will receive training and lessons on how to handle them. This training will make the experience better even for persons who have never engaged in the activity before. 

It is only after this lesson that you will be allowed to swim and have a close-up encounter with these beautiful mammals. Explore the different adventures on offer like the Dolphin Swim Adventure and the Royal Swim with Dolphins. You will have an experience of a lifetime.

You will also get an opportunity to feed them and watch performances by the dolphins and sea lions.

Gulf World Marine Park is at 15412 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL.

  • It opens daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.
A girl feeding a dolphin / Shutterstock

2. Miami Seaquarium

Rating: 3.8

Entry tickets: $49$55 depending on the day of the week.

The Miami Seaquarium is one of the oldest marine parks in the United States. It is an oceanarium that hosts world-class exhibits for penguins, whales, manatees, rays, sea turtles, and more. It is also home to dolphins, which are in the Dolphin Harbor. 

It is one of the best places to interact with dolphins and learn more about them.

A tour begins with a 15 minutes education and safety presentation, following which you can dive in and have your swim.

In case you love adventures, adding Snorkeling in Miami to the list would be timely.

Here you are also allowed to ride the dolphins! Afterward, you can take an intriguing practical lesson on how to train a dolphin and get an opportunity to interact more with them on dry land. 

Dolphin feeding sessions are available too. 

Miami Seaquarium is at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami. 

  • The Miami Seaquarium opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
Discovery Cove Florida © Facebook

3. Discovery Cove

Rating: 4.8

Entry tickets: Check their website for dolphin swimming package prices.

Discovery Cove is the place to visit if you want to have a deeper and personal interaction with dolphins. Apart from swimming with them, you will also get an opportunity to uncover their personalities and connect with them. 

Dolphins, just like humans, have varied personalities. The team at Discovery Cove has lived and interacted with them and learned their individual personalities. Before you take a swim, you will be taught their communication abilities and behavior. This lesson will help you have a better one-on-one interaction with each of them while swimming. 

Additionally, if you would like to be a dolphin trainer for a day, the facility offers an optional program dubbed Trainer for a Day. This experience will accord you a longer opportunity to spend time with the dolphins and their handlers. You will also feed and take photos with them.

A ticket to swim with the dolphins here also includes other ocean activities offered at the resort. 

Discovery Cove is at 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, Florida.

  • Discovery Cove opens daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Guests are advised to arrive between 7 am to 8.30 am.
Youtube©Inside the Magic, Channel

4. Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Rating: 4.7

Entry tickets: From $113.96 per adult depending on the season

This place is where you will probably have the longest swim you will ever have with dolphins in Florida. While most places give you between 30 minutes and 1 hour to spend with these intelligent mammals, at Epcot, Walt Disney Resort, you will get a 3-hour swimming session with dolphins experience. 

Dolphins are very social and friendly. They will most likely welcome you to their home with water splashes as they dive in and out in joy. 

After 3 hours of dolphin interaction, you will finish with a photo-op and a souvenir to keep as a reminder of the lovely experience. 

Apart from swimming with dolphins, you will get firsthand training on how to handle dolphins. You will also engage in a research and training session with marine mammal experts. It is all offered in their program called EPCOT Seas Adventure Dolphins in Depth.

If you would like to swim with other sea creatures, embark on the Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour or the Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest. It is an intriguing marine journey where you will swim with about 6,000 sea mammals without getting wet!

Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort is located at 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Hang with Penguins in SeaWrold Orlando©VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock

5. SeaWorld Orlando

Rating: 4.5

Entry tickets: Check their website for ticket price

SeaWorld Orlando is a marine zoological theme park in Florida. It is one of the ten most visited amusement parks in the country. One of its attractions is Dolphin Cove, one of the grandest interactive dolphin parks in the world. 

Dolphin Cove consists of an aquarium where visitors can watch dolphins swim, play, and jump above the water. 

The facility also offers a 15-minute session that includes a photo session with the dolphins as you touch them, a lesson on how to care for and handle dolphins, and a 3-5 minutes one-on-one interaction with dolphins. 

It does not involve actual swimming, but you will be together with the dolphins in the water as you touch them. You do not need to have a swimming experience as the water will be maximum chest-deep, as long as you are above 48 inches in height.

SeaWorld Orlando is at 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, Florida.

  • It opens Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm.
Dolphin Research Center on maps. Florida©SevenMaps / Shutterstock

6. Dolphin Research Center

Rating: 4.6

Entry tickets: $28 for adults (13+) – $23 for children (4-12

It is a non-profit research and education facility in Marathon. It is home to sea lions and dolphins. Dolphin Research Center aims at educating visitors all about dolphins, including how to interact with these marine mammals. 

It is one of the best places to swim with dolphins in Florida. You will not only swim but also gain knowledge of marine wildlife. You can visit the facility with the sole purpose of either learning about the dolphins or swimming. 

For guests visiting the facility to swim with the dolphins, you need to buy a ticket for the Dolphin Encounter program. In this program, you can swim, shake hands, and kiss dolphins! 

The Family Dolphin Splash program is the ultimate family fun plan. The whole family will stand in the shallow water and have a dolphin splash water all over them. A photographer is always on standby to capture these moments for all programs. 

One of the most exciting opportunities here is the painting program. To experience this, design a T-shirt, and have a dolphin decorate it for you with water paint! What’s more? You can take the T-shirt home with you as a souvenir!

The Dolphin Research Center is at 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL.

  • It opens daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm.
©By Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock

7. Theater of the Sea

Rating: 4.6

Entry tickets: $44.95 for adults (11+) – $22.95 for children (3-10) (prices are exclusive of tax)

Theater of the Sea is a marine park renowned for its programs that give guests a chance to swim with sea lions, nurse sharks, stingrays, and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

The facility is at the Village of Islamorada in a lush green park with tropical gardens. 

Here you will interact with dolphins through a series of exciting activities like swimming, snorkeling in a lagoon, and riding a bottomless boat. 

You will swim with dolphins in a 6-feet deep lagoon, kiss and pet dolphins, and paint with dolphins! Children are permitted to swim with dolphins in the lagoon as long as they are confident and strong enough to handle the water.

Theater of the Sea offers the Dorsal Tow program in which visitors hang on to the dolphin’s fin and ride around the lagoon. This ride requires upper body strength.

Theater of the Sea is at 84721 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL.

  • The park opens daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
Smile and Thelma / Facebook

8. Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Rating: 4.2

Entry tickets: $35.95 for adults (13+) – $26.95 for children (3-12) – $33.95 for seniors (60+)

There is a famous 2011 movie called ‘Dolphin Tale’. The movie features renowned actor Morgan Freeman. It also features two bottlenose dolphins going by the names Hope and Winter. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter and Hope, whom you will see and probably feed when you visit the facility. 

The aquarium is home to injured and rescued marine mammals. It has a policy of ‘rescue, rehab, release’. When marine mammals come here, they are treated and cared for until they are ready to face the world again. But it has seven dolphins who are permanent residents, including Hope and Winter.

It is not a dolphin swimming facility, but it allows visitors to interact with dolphins by the poolside. You will watch them in training and as they play. 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is at 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, Florida.

  • It opens daily from 10 am to 6 pm.
On this #TortoiseTuesday, our red-footed friends are making sure that you’re getting into the spirit! / Facebook

9. Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Rating: 4.2

Entry tickets: $21.99 for adults (12+) – $14.99 for children (5-11) – $20.99 for seniors (60+)

Often referred to as the ‘world’s first oceanarium’, Marineland Dolphin Adventure is the perfect place to swim with dolphins for families with children. There is something for children of all ages. 

The facility offers both education and entertainment. There’s a series of eight programs that accommodate children as young as three years.

For these little ones who might not be conversant with swimming, there is an art program available. In this program, they will choose colors that dolphins will use to paint on a canvas for them. 

Adults and other children who can swim have three dolphin swimming programs from which to choose. In the Royal Swim, a dolphin will push you above the water from your feet’ soles. It also includes a dorsal tow, handshake, kiss, and caresses. 

The Dolphin Encounter is for everyone, including those who can’t swim. You will have a one-on-one encounter with dolphins. 

The Swim Adventure involves a belly ride with the dolphins!

The Marineland Dolphin Adventure is part of the Georgia Aquarium. It is at 9600 N Ocean Shore Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL.

  • It opens daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm.
Mom and daughter with dolphin at Dolphin Connection ©Facebook

10. Dolphin Connection

Rating: 4.5

Entry tickets: Check their website for the ticket price.

Dolphin Connection is another facility that is suitable for children of all ages. It ensures that children, including infants, get to interact with dolphins. 

There are three interactive programs available.

If you want to interact with dolphins but don’t want to go into the water, the facility offers an opportunity for you to meet dolphins on land through the Dockside Dolphin program. 

The Trainer for a Day program allows you to spend three hours with a dolphin handler to learn how these marine mammals are cared for. This program is available for older children and adults only. 

The Dolphin Discovery program, the most popular of the three, gives you a chance to splash, kiss, hug, and play in the lagoon with the dolphins. 

Dolphin Connection is at 61 Hawks Cay Boulevard, Duck Key, FL.

  • It opens daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Teaches the dolphin how to respond to the human acts©Facebook

11. Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder

Rating: 4.6

Entry tickets: Check the website for the ticket price.

Dolphin Plus Marine Mammal Responder is a marine rescue, education, and research facility. It is the only one of its kind in Florida. 

It is also one of the places where you can swim with dolphins in Florida. The facility allows children from as young as seven years to swim with dolphins and sea lions.

Visitors can choose to swim in the structured dolphin lagoon or the natural lagoon. Their natural lagoon program is the only one of its type in the United States. The natural lagoon program is a swim with dolphins as they have their ‘down time’ in their natural habitat. 

Dolphin Plus also offers a Private Connect program where visitors in groups of between 3 to 6 people enjoy a private interaction with the dolphins. They are allowed to have the whole facility to themselves. The minimum age for this program is seven years, with an adult company.

Dolphin Plus Marine Mammal Responder is at 31 Corrine PI, Key Largo, FL.

  • The park opens daily from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.
Kids in Aquatica Orlando ©Facebook

12. Aquatica Orlando

Rating: 4.4

Entry tickets: $89 for adults (10+) – $59.95 for children (3-9

If you would like a place to swim with dolphins in Florida but not actually get into the water with them, Aquatica Orlando is the ideal destination for you. 

Its Dolphin Plunge program, its most popular attraction, allows you to have this experience. It involves a tunnel-like twin slide that corkscrews its way in the middle of an aquarium that contains dolphins and other sea mammals. 

As you make your way down the slide, dolphins will be racing alongside you in the aquarium. Though it does not involve actual swimming, it is as thrilling as actual swimming. It is an experience of a lifetime.

Aquatica Orlando is at 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL.

  • It opens daily from 10.30 am to 5 pm.

Written by OBP

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