Swimming With Dolphins in St. Augustine, Florida

by Eleanor McKenzie Google
At Marineland, there is a choice of dolphin encounters.

At Marineland, there is a choice of dolphin encounters.

Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Marineland Dolphin Adventure in St. Augustine, Florida, offers a range of dolphin encounters to suit all age groups. Marineland (marineland.net) started as a studio in the 1930s to provide Hollywood directors with a location to shoot underwater footage, and some of the Tarzan series was filmed there. Now it is a dolphin research center as well as a fun experience where you can swim with dolphins or interact with them in other creative ways.

The Quest

Called "The Quest," this Marineland program offers an intimate swim with dolphins as it is limited to four people at a time, divided into two groups of two. Participants are accompanied by dolphin trainers and start off in the shallow waters of Marineland's private beach. Guests are then taken into deeper water where the real swimming begins and participants have an opportunity to experience the dolphins in a way usually restricted to the trainers. Each participant also receives a dolphin painting at the end of the program. The Quest is suitable for ages 13 and older. It lasts 75 minutes, of which 45 minutes are spent with the dolphins.

The Immersion

"The Immersion" is an hour-long program that is suitable for adults and children older than 5, although children younger than 10 must be accompanied by a participant 16 or older. This program is available daily and, according to Marineland, is the center's most popular swimming with dolphins program. The activity begins with a 30-minute educational presentation about dolphins that prepares visitors for the experience. Participants then put on masks and life vests and join the dolphins in shallow water and then deeper water.

Trainer For A Day

"The Trainer for a Day" is five-hour-long program that is suitable for visitors ages 13 and older and is one of the most expensive the center offers.The program takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and if participants want to book multiple days, a discount is available. During the day participants take part in all the jobs a trainer does during a day, such as preparing food and feeding the dolphins, observing and tracking dolphin behavior and, of course, visitors get to swim with the dolphins, as well.

Nonswimming Activities

If you don't want to swim with dolphins but still want a dolphin activity, Marineland has a couple of suitable programs. Budding artists will enjoy the "Dolphin Design" program where you get to choose three colors for your dolphin and a canvas to paint on. Participants hold the canvas over the water while the dolphin paints on it, so swimwear is required. Afterward participants get a chance to interact with the dolphin artist. The activity is suitable for anyone older than 5, and the experience lasts about 15 minutes. Marineland's "Touch and Feed" program offers a brief encounter with bottlenose dolphins to those ages 3 and older.

About the Author

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.

Photo Credits

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