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Dolphin Research Center

Features Animals
58901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
+1 305-289-1121
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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. During your visit you can watch and learn all about these amazing animals including dolphin maternity, social groupings, physiology, natural abilities and more. You'll 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, Ultimate Trainer for a Day, Trainer Experience half-day program, Researcher Experience half-day program and Paint with a Dolphin. We are actively involved in programs for people with Special Needs, as well as veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project, Military families, and others. Most of our dolphins were born here. Others have come to us for a variety of reasons -- including those who were injured and rescued as youngsters and later deemed non-releasable by the government. We are deeply committed to providing all of them with a safe, healthy, happy home for life. The well-being of the dolphins and sea lions is our top priority. Your visit and participation in programs supports the care of our marine mammal family, the maintenance of their natural sea water home, and the rest of our mission to educate others about these animals and the importance of conservation. Thank you for your interest in Dolphin Research Center!
  • Excellent78%
  • Very good16%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“sea world” (78 reviews)
Closed Now
Hours
Hours Today: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
58901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
CONTACT
Website
+1 305-289-1121
Write a ReviewReviews (2,354)
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"dolphin encounter"
in 296 reviews
"swim with the dolphins"
in 161 reviews
"sea world"
in 78 reviews
"general admission"
in 82 reviews
"non profit"
in 77 reviews
"hand signals"
in 23 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 35 reviews
"bucket list"
in 44 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 40 reviews
"money goes"
in 27 reviews
"key west"
in 62 reviews
"marine life"
in 22 reviews
"turtle hospital"
in 22 reviews
"sea lions"
in 161 reviews
"fish"
in 25 reviews
"love dolphins"
in 40 reviews
"dolphin research"
in 30 reviews
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521 - 530 of 2,059 reviews

Reviewed July 22, 2016

Many of us have seen the shows demonstrating the abilities of animals and the skills of the trainers who have spent countless hours with the animals. At the Dolphin Research Center you actually learn the process and learn to respect the bond between the animals...More

Thank James S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 25, 2016

We always like hearing from guests that they learned more about the dolphins and sea lions, our relationship with them, and how we work with them every day. Thank you for letting us know that you found your time with us both educational and entertaining!...More

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Reviewed July 21, 2016 via mobile

We went yesterday (July 20th), and paid only general admission. We did not do any encounter or VIP activity. The entrance fee is 28.00, which seems a little high for just walking around and looking at a small area of dolphin pens. However, seeing the...More

Thank Michael K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 25, 2016

We're so glad that you didn't let your initial thought that you'd just walk around put you off of coming into DRC with the general admission. (By the way, you can save money on admission if you purchase it online at our website in advance...More

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Reviewed July 20, 2016 via mobile

This is a fantastic experience for adults and kids alike. The trainers were wonderful. One of my grandkids was a little anxious and they were very sensitive and ensured they she got to try everything the others did. The Dolphins had enormous personality and seemed...More

Thank Debbie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 25, 2016

So glad to hear that everyone in your family enjoyed the experience of being with our dolphins, including the youngster who was a little nervous. We want everyone to have a good time while they learn more about the animals. Our trainers are terrific about...More

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Reviewed July 20, 2016 via mobile

Totally worth the money! My daughter wanted to swim with a dolphin for her birthday. 200.00??!!..but ok, it's what she wanted. I expected the typical 10 min, take a picture in and out thing. So not the case! They helped train the Dolphin in a...More

Thank Rebekah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2016

Wow, we really appreciate that you invested your time and money in a Dolphin Encounter for your daughter's birthday and are delighted that you all had a terrific time. We really want every guest to have the best experience interacting with and getting to know...More

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Reviewed July 19, 2016 via mobile

For my daughters birthdays they were both given a "dolphin dip" which they both LOVED! The trainer they were with was Noel, and they got to work with Pax. What an amazing experience this was! They learned so much and got to get hands on...More

Thank andiz79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2016

You are so very welcome. It's our pleasure! Thanks so much for including us in your daughters' birthday celebrations. We know that Noelle and Pax had fun too. It matters to us that they not only had a great time, but that they learned more...More

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Reviewed July 19, 2016 via mobile

This was our favorite attraction in the Keys. It's quite expensive, but worth it. You can spend several hours there participating in many activities. The best part is the money goes to research and taking care of the Dolphins. My kids loved it.More

Thank JannaBM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2016

We know that vacation budgets are always a consideration and we really appreciate when you and others include a visit to DRC in your plans. Your visit supports our nonprofit mission of teaching, learning and caring about marine mammals and the environment as well as...More

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Reviewed July 19, 2016

My sister went here for her birthday and did a dolphin encounter. The animals were sweet and the trainers were really nice. We have been to a lot of places with dolphins and none of them were the same. At other places the dolphins are...More

Thank starstable11111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2016

Thanks so much to you and your sister for celebrating her birthday with the DRC family! We're happy to have been part of her special day and are very happy that you enjoyed yourselves. We appreciate your visit and your positive review.

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Reviewed July 19, 2016 via mobile

Wow! This place is amazing! We (me, my husband, and 8 year old son) swam with Luna and Delta. Majority of the interaction requires standing on a lowered platform with the exception of the infamous dorsal pull. The look on my sons face as he...More

Thank Angela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2016

Our hearts are full that you and your family had such a great experience. We're so glad that you, your husband and son experienced a connection with Delta and Luna. We believe that when people have a chance to connect with these amazing animals it...More

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Reviewed July 17, 2016

We rented a house two driveways down. We could see and hear the dolphins from our dock and deck. I painted a t-shirt with the dolphins. It was a special time. They have well over 20 dolphins. Some born there others are transfers from Sea...More

Thank Alice F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 18, 2016

Isn't it fun to be relaxing in your rental home and be able to look over and see the dolphins? Enjoy your painted T-shirt. It's a great momento! DRC currently has 27 dolphins and four California sea lions. Most of the family were born here...More

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Reviewed July 17, 2016

Our family had some time on our last day before we had to drive from Marathon to Key West for our flight out. We decided to "throw in" a visit to the DRC. And boy, are we glad we did. It was instantly everyone's #1...More

Thank S C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this reviewResponded July 18, 2016

Well, the good news is that now that you've experienced us once, you can plan ahead for another visit during your next Florida Keys vacation! We're so happy that you and your family came in and that you had a great time. Thanks so much...More

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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
NOregrets-Traveler
December 6, 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from DolphinResearchCtr | Property representative |
Thanks for your interest in Dolphin Research Center. Depending on what you'd like to do, you can simply come in under general admission and watch the dolphins and sea lions in a variety of different narrated behavior... More
1
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joeysmomma
August 7, 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Tammy S | Reviewed this property |
The Dolphin Center has a better dolphin encounter I had done both and by far the DRC is way better. Also the money spent at DRC stays there to take care of the dolphins and sealions. You can sign up same day if the have... More
2
Votes
GiddyUp2there
April 4, 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from DolphinResearchCtr | Property representative |
It is possible to book online for Dolphin Encounter the evening before as long as the program is not sold out. Whether you can walk in and purchase the program on the same day also depends on availability. There are only a... More
1
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