Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fun With Dolphins! Our Marineland Visit

Marineland

Yesterday, we visited Marineland Dolphin Adventure, in St. Augustine Florida. Marineland has a very long history. It opened in 1938 as a facility for Hollywood film makers and continues today as an educational facility—for both scientists and for the public. An ongoing purpose is to preserve and protect marine life.  Marineland is not a “show” facility, but offers both viewing and hands-on experiences for guests. If you want to actually interact with dolphins, this is the place to be!

Emily and had just had general admission tickets, which allowed us to observe the dolphins and some of the hands-on experiences that others had. It is always a thrill just to see dolphins in the distance in the ocean, so we really enjoyed being able to get so close to the dolphins, watching them swim in tanks and interact with trainers and visitors.  Hopefully on a future trip, we will be able to try out one of the “encounters” and actually interact with the dolphins.P1030939

We enjoyed learning all kinds of interesting information about dolphins from the signage around the tanks. One fact that we found very interesting: although dolphins in the wild generally have a lifespan of 20-30 years, one of the dolphins in Marineland was born in 1954, making her 60 years old!

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Guests are able to participate in a variety of dolphin encounters, depending on comfort level and budget. The “Touch and Feed” encounter ($29) allows the participant to spend 5 minutes touching and feeding dolphins.

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“Dolphin Designs” ($99) is a 15 minute experience in which a dolphin will paint a picture on a canvas that the participant holds. As we entered the facility, we saw several people carrying their “dolphin paintings.” They looked like fun souvenirs!

In “The Immersion Program ($209+), the participant is able to interact with dolphins in both shallow and deep water.

Visitors who sign up for “Trainer for a Day” ($450) are able to spend 5 hours experiencing the life of a dolphin trainer, both in and out of the water.

We were able to observe a group taking part in the “Discover Dolphins” experience ($169).  The participants were having fun feeding, touching, and giving commands to the dolphins swimming around them. What a great experience!

General admission ($9.95 for adults ages 13 and up, $5.95 for children, $8.95 for seniors-60+) allows visitors to observe the dolphins and dolphin encounters through glass windows.

We were provided with complimentary general admission tickets in order to write this post. All opinions are my own.

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