Dolphin Research Center
Dolphin Research Center
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility. Home to a family of dolphins and sea lions, we offer fun-filled narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations every half an hour. Watch and learn all about these amazing animals including dolphin maternity, social groupings, physiology, natural abilities and more. See how we care for them, how we're working with them in cognition and behavioral research and the importance of conserving them and their ocean habitat. DRC also offers a variety of interactive programs including the Dolphin Encounter swim program, Family Dolphin Splash, Ultimate Trainer for a Day, VIP Experience half-day program, Researcher Experience half-day program and Paint with a Dolphin. Most of our dolphins were born here. Others have come to us for reasons -- including those who were injured and rescued as youngsters and deemed non-releasable by the government. We provide them with a safe, healthy, happy home for life.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Does not meet animal welfare guidelines
Tripadvisor does not provide bookings for this experience because it does not meet our animal welfare guidelines.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
See what travellers are saying
  • David I
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must stop in the Keys
    They do a fantastic job at this place. We did a dolphin encounter for two of out kids thinking it would be underwhelming but instead were treated to an educational and entertaining program, the interaction between the trainers and dolphins is wonderful. Would definitely do it again - I will be doing it next time with the kids.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 27 March 2023
  • J-E_SoDak
    84 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    So worth it!!
    So much fun. We booked the dolphin encounter for the 3 of us. Sooo worth it! Our 6 yo was nervous at first but the trainer and dolphins were great. We got to do a dorsal pull and shake their “hands.” Also danced with them too! The facility is so nice. Worth the stop if you are in the area. Make sure to make a reservation if you want to swim with the dolphins.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 April 2023
  • Climber74382
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely Amazing
    The Dolphin Research Center is absolutely amazing! Their dedication to helping dolphins is unsurpassed. We learned so much during our visit, and the dolphin caretakers clearly love what they do. I did a "play and paint" with a dolphin, and it was an unforgettable experience. Do not miss the opportunity visit this wonderful place.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 April 2023
  • Sandy B
    Trenton, Florida7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful Facility, doing great work!
    This is an amazing experience! This facility was like no other I had been to. These animals are not in tanks, they are actually in the ocean waters. They are separated only by short fencing which if wanted they could jump. There is nothing actually forcing them to stay, however they have been rescued for one reason or another and wouldn't have a good chance of survival in the wild. The education this facility has learned through these animals has allowed them and many others to save and release so many. They force these dolphins to do NOTHING! They are amazing! Love everything they're about!
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 21 April 2023
  • Amos C
    Mount Pleasant, South Carolina710 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An enjoyable afternoon
    My wife and I went to the DRC and Turtle Hospital in the same day. We spent a Monday afternoon at DRC. We enjoyed several different “shows”. The speaker did a good job of explaining the shows and how they train the dolphins. They could have talked a little more about the research aspects. It was worth the time to visit here.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 May 2023
  • Jennifer S
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must do
    Absolutely loved it here. Arrived very early for our planned Dolphin Encounter (2 parents, 2 teens) but there was plenty going on in the various lagoons to watch. The Dolphin Encounter itself was worth every penny for the up close experience. We were able to give cues for jumps and tricks and to do a dorsal pull. It was amazing. The dolphins are well taken care of and participate only if they want to. We were supposed to have two at our dock but only one wanted to play and that was fine. Loved it. My son said that there wasn’t anything at Disney that was as fun as this experience was. Photographers are present, you can purchase the photos on your way out.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 7 June 2023
  • Megan R
    Palm Bay, Florida14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Special❤️
    Our visit was a special experience! We had our 2 dogs tagging along on our trip. The center was accommodating and friendly to us and our dogs. The dolphins and our dogs seemed intrigued by one another. The park had many shaded places to sit and it was not overly crowded. There was so much to see and the staff was accessible to ask questions and talk in general. Even with general admission it’s an up close and personal experience.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 July 2023
  • Bazzajo1
    Bude, United Kingdom11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A great day out
    We just paid the standard entry and expected to stay an hour or two but ended up staying an entire afternoon! Myself and 16 year old Son really enjoyed it, the presentations were interesting, you can watch everyone experience their dolphin encounters and see the dolphins playing. They are very well cared for here. Be sure to bring some water with you, the water foundation was broken the food truck was expensive (over $15 for a bottle of water and 2 ice pops). It was hot and we were parched having drank the bottle we bought early on. A great day out!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 20 July 2023
  • Ashika P
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wow wow wow
    Wow wow wow! This is such an amazing place! We spent ages deciding which one to pick as 3 places in the keys and so glad we picked this one! We spent the whole day here, watching all the training and the presentations were very informative - don’t miss them! My children 8 and 11 years did the dolphins encounter and it was so good!! They were so happy! So worth the money which all goes back to the dolphins.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 10 August 2023
  • Rachael
    Delaware5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Childhood dream finally fulfilled ❤️
    I’ve been wanting to swim with dolphins for over 30 years and the dolphin experience didn’t disappoint. Our trainer Ashley was lovely and we were so lucky to be paired with dolphins Diva and Tina who were just gorgeous. My son was apprehensive at first but was soon loving it and the dorsal pull was a real highlight for him. It was hard to get him out of the water after our experience came to a close. Truly magical.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 August 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,869 reviews
Excellent
2,210
Very good
439
Average
123
Poor
50
Terrible
48

Kailee S
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
We had the most amazing day at the DRC! We surprised our kids with a Family Splash. We were among the first to arrive in the morning, and we were surprised that it wasn't extremely busy. We were able to have the experience of a lifetime with Talon!
Written 27 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vacation64219787078
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
What great animals ! Fun to watch just swimming around or when they put on a show. Spoke with a volunteer there that talked with me for about 10 minutes giving me information about all the Dolpins.
Written 25 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MTPGoHoos
Alexandria, VA34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
A truly wonderful place. Our child really enjoyed the researcher for a day experience. He learned a lot about dolphin behavior and health and even helped collect data, including when a pod of wild dolphins swam up to the lagoon. Abby was a wonderful mentor. An unforgettable experience!
Written 12 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

coteb39
Nashua, NH92 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Highlight of our trip to the Keys. The facility is undergoing renovations, so it was a little disappointing. But we petted and shook hands with a dolphin so it was worth it. They have about 27 dolphins, and they are in various stages of training. The demonstrations were a lot of fun to watch. You can tell the staff really like their jobs.
Written 24 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike B
5 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Could be a good place. No sea lions. They were redoing but did not give notice. If you go after 2p m. Chance for two dolphin shows only. We figured it would be two hours to go around. With no sea lion show was long time between dolphin 2 -3:45 shows. Disappointing.
Written 22 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bryan H
4 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Disappointed. Property was poorly maintained. Bird and sea lion exhibits were empty. Trainer talks were interesting but all in all this experience was greatly lacking. Save your money.
Written 12 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sawbone001
Miami, FL4 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Very disappointed with the time allocated. The site implies that the interaction with the dolphins is 25-30 minutes. That's 4 minutes to your 10 year old and 35 minutes watching the 75 y/o women swim with them . Not what is presented on line . Did not feel I got the $200 dollars worth for 4-5 minutes he got with the dolphins. Good money maker for the "research" however.
Written 9 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria S
Malmö, Sweden5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Even though the park isn’t, that big, we easily spend half a day watching the dolphins, listening to the different talks and observing these amazing animals. Sometimes we could really see how the dolphins observed us just as much as we looked at them. It is fantastic with this non-profit facility, and views and shows were no less impressive than big parks. Knowing that the dolphins participate voluntarily and are held in natural sea water warms my heart ❤️
Written 28 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jonathan S
Spartanburg, SC32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Really memorable experience. Worth the money. We booked the “splash” excursion. Even though the water was cold, it was an experience we won’t forget.
Written 12 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jay
Marblehead, MA53 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
My wife and I brought our children (10,8) to the Dolphin Research Center last weekend for the first time and signed her and the kids up for the Dolphin Experience. When we arrived on site, we were greeted by helpful and friendly staff. After checking in we wandered the grounds and watched two demonstrations while observing dolphins up close who appeared to be doing the same with us.

When it was time to report to our designated area, we were met by training staff and a photographer who would be taking photos for purchase. When it was time to start, the trainer had my family sit on the dock and "introduced" them to Summer and Pandora. When initial instruction was complete, they got into the water and spent an hour playing and engaging with the two wonderful creatures. The climax to the whole experience was the "dorsal pull" where they were able to hold the dorsal fins of both dolphins as them took them for a ride around the lagoon. The look on my kid's faces as they participated in this was well worth the cost.

The only unfortunate part of the day, and it was significant, was that my wife appeared to be forgotten when it was her turn to do the "dorsal pull". She was the only one out of 7 that did not get the opportunity. Once it was clear that she would not get the opportunity, the session was over. Despite this, the experience is one the kids will always remember and hope to return again soon to give my wife the full experience. The staff was wonderful and the dolphins were awesome!
Written 7 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,542
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Dolphin Research Center (Grassy Key) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Dolphin Research Center