Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key

#2 of 37 in Wildlife in Marathon
Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
The saltwater lagoons at Dolphin Research Center are home to a family of dolphins and California sea lions, and offer educational and interactive experiences with marine life. The center originally opened in 1958 as Santini’s Porpoise School and became famous after a few of its dolphins starred in the 1963 film Flipper. The site was founded in 1984 as a non-profit research center and continues to promote the understanding of marine mammals. The center has educational presentations every half-hour and opportunities for live animal encounters. Not only can you swim with the dolphins here, but you can also paint with them. To visit Dolphin Research Center and get the most from your holiday in Marathon, create itinerary details personal to you using our Marathon travel itinerary planner.
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Dolphin Research Center reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
2,730 reviews
  • We visited the Dolphin Research Center to celebrate our daughter's 11th birthday, making her dream of swimming with dolphins come true. We enjoyed watching others interact with the dolphins as well.....  more »
  • I have been to several places in Florida to see Dolphins and the DRC has by far the happiest dolphins. I never realized how vocal they are until our visit here. This is a must stop if you visit...  more »
  • (July 2018) Would give 1,000 stars if possible. So impressed with the natural beauty and humbleness of this facility. A home for dolphins that can't be in the wild- not an exploitation of animals for money. The employees were friendly and truly passionate about all the animals. We brought our son who has a mild form of autism, and they did whatever they could to make sure he was comfortable. A true "bucket-list" experience.
  • Wow, Wow, and more Wow. We are Keys locals and final had some guests in town with young children who wanted to go “swim with the dolphins”. Genuinely wish we had gone sooner and taken our kids, who are now basically adults and not as interested. This is an absolutely authentic research center. They care much more about the Dolphins than making a couple of extra bucks. I gained a ton of respect for the work they’re doing here and how they treat the animals. planning to take as many of our visiting guests there as possible to educate them.
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