Florida is a widely recognized as a water wonderland. As a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, this semi-tropical environment is home to great diversity of aquatic life, including alligators, rays, sharks, coral and dolphins. Several businesses in the St. Petersburg area offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with the dolphins.
St. Petersburg Tours
St. Petersburg Tours (stpetersburgtours.net) offers a variety of excursions in the St. Petersburg area. The four-hour snorkeling adventure involves sightseeing along Egmont Key, where dolphins play. Tours leave at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April through October. The tour boat provides safe, modern snorkeling equipment so you can try your hand at snorkeling among the dolphins. As of September 2011, the adult rate was $55 per person. The child rate was $35 for children ages 4 to 12.
Encounters With Dolphins
Very near St. Petersburg in the Tampa/Clearwater area is Encounter With Dolphins (encounterswithdolphins.webstarts.com). The company's 40-foot boat offers 90-minute tours along the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. For 30 minutes of the trip, the boat docks on a small island where passengers can get out and collect shells or use provided snorkeling gear to explore the dolphin-strewn waters. The boat is inspected every year by the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure safety.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (seewinter.com), just a few miles from St. Petersburg, offers a Wade with Dolphins Program primarily designed for children. The program includes a tour, educational videos, use of a wet suit, 20 minutes of wading time with a dolphin and a t-shirt. As of September 2011, the price of the Wade with Dolphins Program was $249 per person. The minimum age requirement is 5 years old.
Pier Dolphin Cruises
Pier Dolphin Cruises (pierdolphincruises.net) offers a variety of tours in the St. Petersburg area. From 90-minute tours through full-day excursions, you can enjoy dolphin watching, shelling, bird watching and snorkeling among the dolphins. Pier Dolphin Cruises also offers private charter tours. Admission prices as of September 2011 ranged from $14 to $22.
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