If you really want a memorable experience during your vacation, why not swim with dolphins? These fun dolphin encounters are available at a number of aquariums around the world, especially if you're heading somewhere warm like Florida or Hawaii. Swimming with the dolphins isn't just fun for children; it's a great way for adults to connect with their inner child and interact with these fun, intelligent animals. Here are some locations in the United States where you can have the experience of a lifetime.
1. Miami Seaquarium
The Miami Seaquarium was established back in 1955 and today it's one of Miami's most popular tourist destinations. Their Dolphin Odyssey is just one of their many interactive exhibits and includes a fifteen minute presentation followed by half-an-hour in the water swimming with the dolphins. Not only with you swim with these brilliant creatures, you can touch them, feed them and learn how to train them.
2. Sea Life Park Hawaii
Vacationing in Hawaii? Plan a stop at Sea Life Park, where you can enjoy their Dolphin Swim Adventure. Along with their dolphin show, in which their dolphins jump, spin and flip, the adventure helps you learn about the daily life of a dolphin and get up close and personal by even enjoying a belly ride with a dolphin. They're also running a promotion to receive a free annual pass when you buy a Dolphin Swim Adventure if you're a local.
3. Seaworld San Diego
If you're going to be in Southern California, SeaWorld is one of the best places to swim with dolphins in the state. The park allows you to swim with both bottlenose dolphins and the white beluga whales although you won't actually swim but stand in the water with them. The entire program is just over an hour long with classroom education followed by twenty minutes in the water. If you're bringing kids along, they must be at least 10 years old and four feet tall.
4. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
The only other place in California that lets you actually swim with the dolphins is Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, which was previously known as Six Flags Marine World. You can swim here with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins but any children will need to be at least 4'4" tall. Like most places, you'll need to attend a classroom education program to learn about safety and then get equipped with a wetsuit before you hop in the tank.
5. Discovery Cove in Orlando
If you're outside of Miami and can't reach the Miami Seaquarium, another option in Florida is Discovery Cove. This 30 acre park is filled with coral reefs and beautiful marine life and you'll spend some time learning about dolphins and safety before enjoying a 30 minute interaction in the lagoon. Discovery Cove also has a neat Trainer for a Day program with personal instruction and more access to the dolphins.