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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 (2,352)
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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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541 - 550 of 2,057 reviews

Reviewed June 29, 2016

We stopped here as a last min change of plans and overall very happy we did. The facility is currently under construction but is still well worth the time of stopped. The enclosures are built into the bay and the dolphins are very friendly. You...More

1  Thank Nicole 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 1, 2016

Thanks so much for stopping by, particularly when it was a change of plans. We're happy to know that we fulfilled our mission. Yes, we're working through some construction projects and look forward to the day when the new Welcome Center is complete as this...More

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Reviewed June 29, 2016

The best experience on Marathon/Grassy Key. Swimming with the dolphins was on my wife's bucket list, she was extremely thrilled. Even for general admission you get unlimited viewing of the trainers in action with the many dolphins. Don't miss this on.More

Thank Rick713
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 1, 2016

Whenever someone trusts us to fulfill a "bucket list" item, we are delighted to know that they were thrilled with the experience. We want everyone to have a terrific time while they also learn more about these amazing animals. Thanks for visiting us and for...More

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Reviewed June 28, 2016

What a great place to go if you love or are even curious about dolphins. Fantastic staff who obviously love these animals and want only the best for them. Your up close experience is wonderful even if you don't actually touch the dolphins but why...More

Thank middad0104
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 1, 2016

Absolutely, please come back and visit us again the next time you're in the fabulous Florida Keys. We're very happy that you had a great time and saw how deeply we care about the dolphins and sea lions. Thanks so much for spending time with...More

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Reviewed June 28, 2016 via mobile

We had a fabulous visit with the Dolphins. We actually went twice during our trip to Marathon, once with our baby to tour the facilities, he loved watching the Dolphins jump! We went back just the 2 of us to actually do the dolphin encounter....More

1  Thank BirdysBigAdventures
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 1, 2016

Family friendly fun is important to all of us at DRC. We're so glad that you and your family enjoyed your visits and your experience with the Dolphin Encounter. Thanks so much for including us in your vacation plans and for sharing about your visit...More

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Reviewed June 28, 2016

Super fun place for all ages! Very educational and interesting. All the people here are very nice and friendly.

Thank 829danielz
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 1, 2016

Thanks so much for contributing another great review of Dolphin Research Center. We greatly appreciate your ongoing support and enthusiasm!

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Reviewed June 27, 2016

We arrived on Monday morning without a reservation, hoping our 9 year old could do a dolphin swim. We had read many reviews on line and settled on this place. We were delighted! Everyone greeted us warmly and seemed to genuinely like their job. From...More

Thank Marti851
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 1, 2016

We are so happy that we had an opening for your 9 year old in the Dolphin Encounter! We hate to disappoint anyone and, at the same time, availability and number of openings depends on the dolphins. So glad that everyone had a great time....More

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Reviewed June 27, 2016 via mobile

We went with the Wounded Warrior Project as a retreat. It is Great for reconnecting with your spouse. I can see why they picked the research center. Perfect for those who suffer from chronic pain. Being in the water with the dolphins was the best...More

Thank Einman
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 June 28, 2016

All of us at Dolphin Research Center feel it is an honor and a privilege to welcome our nation's veterans when they visit with the Wounded Warrior Project. We are so happy to know that you enjoyed your experience with us. Please do come back...More

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Reviewed June 27, 2016 via mobile

Great dolphin encounter with tons of improvements from the last visit. Patient trainers and lots of time to interact. As always it seemed the Dolphins knew what people could take ... Spouse with me knee replacements was handled gently and the stronger swimmers were given...More

Thank WendyH13
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 June 28, 2016

A return visit and dolphin swim? What fun! Isn't it special that the dolphins seem to adapt their behavior to the needs of the individual guest? So glad that you enjoyed your repeat experience. We're always looking for ways to improve our service and amenities...More

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Reviewed June 27, 2016

We were going to do swimming with the dolphins with our kids but it was terrible storms that morning so it was a no go:-(More

Thank April N
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 June 28, 2016

Oh, we're so sorry that you visited on one of the rare days that the Keys experienced day thunder storms all morning. We hate knowing that guests are disappointed and don't get the chance to interact with the dolphins. Unfortunately, we have no control over...More

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Reviewed June 27, 2016

We checked out the Dolphin Research Center while we were in Marathon, and we're glad we did! It's unique in that it's not a theme park and more of a research and educational facility. The narrated programs are really interesting and informative, and it's cool...More

Thank clazinski
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 June 28, 2016

Thanks so much for including a visit to DRC in your vacation plans in Marathon. As you discovered, we love to talk about the dolphins and sea lions with our guests and truly appreciate it when people have fun learning. Your support of our nonprofit...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
Vote
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
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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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