Attractions Florida

Where to Swim with Dolphins in Florida {15 Best Experiences!}

By
on
October 21, 2022

Create a once-in-a-lifetime experience by scheduling a dolphin encounter on your next trip to Florida. These are the best places to swim with dolphins in Florida!

For many, swimming with dolphins is a bucket-list experience – and for good reason!

An encounter with these incredible animals is an amazing and unforgettable experience!

In this post, I’ll share with you all you need to know about visiting 15 of the best places to swim with dolphins in Florida!

We’ll discuss where to swim with dolphins in Florida, the cheapest places to swim with dolphins in Florida, and tips for making the most out of your dolphin experience.

Family fun awaits!

The links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Places to swim with dolphins in Florida:  man doing a dorsal swim
Dolphin encounter – dorsal pull

11 Best Places to Swim with Dolphins in Florida

Florida tops many people’s U.S. bucket list as an amazing family vacation destination because of its beautiful weather, tropical scenery, and a plethora of fun activities!

We love Florida so much that we’ve vacationed there multiple times and have published several award-winning itineraries to help you plan your trip.

Click here for immediate access to our detailed Florida family vacation itineraries:

Because of Florida’s coastal location, it is the perfect place to interact with marine life.

In fact, something that makes Florida so special is the state’s surplus of marine parks that offer dolphin encounters, dolphin meet-and-greets, and dolphin Trainer-For-A-Day programs.

These experiences are so unique and special, however, do come with a hefty price tag.

Dolphin encounters cost anywhere between $50 – $250 per person depending on how close, and how much time you get to spend with these treasured animals.

Also note that some marine parks charge a general admission fee, plus an add-on fee for which dolphin encounter you choose.

Look no further for a description and price per person as we answer the question, “Where can you swim with dolphins in Florida?”.

*For a list and prices of Florida’s dolphin-watching cruises and tours (there are MANY), browse here!

Where to swim with dolphins in Florida:  man touching the nose of a dolphin
Dolphin meet-and-greet

1. Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research CenterCity: Grassy Key, FL – Address: 58901 Overseas Hwy 

Price: Meet & Greet – $50, Dolphin Swim – $210 

Located in the Florida Keys, the Dolphin Research Center is a non-profit organization that conducts marine mammal research, education, and encounters.

When it comes to swimming with dolphins, this location offers meet-and-greets, dorsal pulls, and a Family Dolphin Splash (where families/groups of up to 10 people can stand in water waist-deep on a submerged platform while interacting with a dolphin).

They even have a program where you can create a painting along with a dolphin friend!

For the ultimate dolphin lovers, transform into a dolphin trainer with the “Trainer for the Day” program.

This experience involves dolphin training sessions, feeding time, and of course, a dolphin swim!

If you’re interested in more marine education, Dolphin Research Center puts on day programs like their incredible dolphin camp for kids ages 10-14.

Here, you’ll observe sea lions, baleen whales, manatees, and stunning coral reefs. 

The Dolphin Research Center has more marine life than dolphins too! It’s home to sea lions, exotic birds, tortoises, and iguanas. 

Best of all, this is an environment in which the well-being of DRC’s animals takes and peaceful coexistence is the priority.

{Purchase tickets here!}

Additional planning tip: If you’re looking for where to swim with dolphins in the Florida Keys, this is the place!

The Dolphin Research Center is an hour and twenty minutes from Key West and two hours from Miami so make sure you give yourself enough travel time, however.

2. Theater of the Sea

Theater of the SeaCity: Islamorada, FL –  Address: 84721 Overseas Hwy

Price: Meet & Greet – $95, Shallow Water Swim – $175, Deep Water Swim – $225

Theater of the Sea offers spectacular animal shows that are super fun and interactive.

Their programs include crocodile training, sea turtle talk, and fish, shark, and ray feeding.

They also have shows with dolphins, sea lions, and parrots!

If these performances aren’t personal enough for you, you can book a marine animal swim.

There are lots of dolphin swim packages to choose from depending on your budget and needs.

Favorites include dorsal tows, foot pushes, and dolphin kisses! 

Additional planning tip: Feeling brave? At the Theater of the Sea, you can also swim with sharks

Discover the best place to swim with dolphins in Florida from to US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Florida dolphin show

3. Gulf World Marine Park

Gulf World Marine Park – City: Panama – Address: 15412 Front Beach Rd 

Price: Dolphin encounters start at $109.99

Visit Panama City Beach along the Gulf of Mexico for an amazing dolphin encounter at the Gulf World Marine Park. 

Their dolphin show is summed up in one word – thrilling!

Witness Bottlenose and Rough-toothed dolphins perform flips and twists in an energetic performance.

You can also see entertaining shows featuring sea lions, feathered friends, and stingray feedings. 

Looking to meet some marine life?

Schedule animal encounters with dolphins, sea lions, seals, penguins, and sting rays. 

If you want the full experience, try the Bottlenose Dolphin Royal Swim.

This encounter includes lots of dolphin interaction including handshakes, hugs, rouches, a double dorsal tow, foot push, and more!

Additional planning tip: Prepare for the splash zone! If you’re sitting in the front rows for these shows, you’re bound to get a little wet. 

Discover the best place to swim with dolphins in Florida from to US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Miami Seaquarium

4.  Miami Seaquarium 

Miami Seaquarium – City: Key Biscayne, FL – Address: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway 

Price: Meet & Greet – $69.99, Dolphin swim – $219.00

The Miami Seaquarium is home to world-class marine life exhibits, conservation efforts, and incredible dolphin experiences. 

This makes it one of the best places to swim with dolphins in Florida!

Here, you’ll find endangered sea turtles and manatees, penguins, rays, and more sea life.

You’ll also enjoy delightful dolphin and sea lion shows!

In terms of different types of animal encounters, Miami Seaquarium is hard to beat as you can pay to swim with dolphins, seals, sharks, rays, or even penguins. 

*Heading to Florida? We thought you might like to see our Florida vacation packing list that includes the Florida essentials we never leave behind!

5. Marineland Dolphin Adventure 

Marineland Dolphin AdventureCity: St. Augustine, FL – Address: 9600 N Ocean Shore Blvd

Price: Meet & Greet – $69.99, Dolphin swims start at $139.99

Marineland Dolphin Adventure is the cheapest place to swim with dolphins in Florida at only $139.00 per person!

Choose between a meet and greet, a dolphin swim, or their “Trainer for a Day” program.

You can also receive custom dolphin paintings or take part in “tortoise time” and make your own artwork along with help from a tortoise pal. 

If you’re not up for a dolphin swim, you will still meet lots of animal friends!

During your visit, you’ll meet stingrays, tiger sharks, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and more.

They also offer an Aquarist for a Day program where participants will help with feeding, cleaning, and playing with the most active animals. 

Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida!
Photo courtesy of Discovery Cove

6. Discovery Cove 

Discover CoveCity: Orlando, FL – Address: 6000 Discovery Cove Way 

Price: $224.00/person (includes resort day pass)

The next three experiences on our list involve places to swim with dolphins in Orlando, Florida!

Not only is Discovery Cove one of the best places to swim with dolphins in Florida, but it is one of the best things to do in the city of Orlando overall!

Discovery Cove is a luxury, all-inclusive day resort offering incredible animal adventures and tropical activities.

Experience stunning white sand beaches, tropical lagoons, winding rivers, and waterfalls, all within the resort. 

Beyond the natural beauty, you’ll find fun for the whole family including dolphins swimming at the Dolphin Lagoon, snorkeling with tropical fish and stingrays, and other up-close animal encounters. 

A resort day pass is included with the purchase of a dolphin swim so you can extend your experience into a whole day of fun!

Dolphin show at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando

7. SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando – City: Orlando, FL – Address: 007 Sea World Dr. 

Price: $29.99/ Dolphin Meet & Greet

Seaworld Orlando is an icon when it comes to meeting marine life.

They offer a plethora of animal experiences so you can meet fascinating creatures, up-close-and-personal!

Explore their animal experiences with flamingos, sharks, manatees, belugas, penguins, pelicans, orcas, stingrays, and dolphins (I told you there were a lot of options!). 

SeaWorld Orlando offers the most budget-friendly option for dolphin encounters on this list at just $29.99 for a meet and greet.

While you don’t get to swim with the dolphins, you do get a personal encounter that is just as special.

Finish off your day with the many slides, pools, cabanas, and roller coasters that SeaWorld has to offer. 

Additional planning tip: Think SeaWorld is just for kids? Find out here why SeaWorld Orlando tops our list as one of the best things to do in Orlando for adults!

8.  EPCOT, Walt Disney World Resort 

EPCOT Walt Dinsey WorldCity: Orlando, FL – Address: 1375 E Buena Vista Dr.

Price: $199.00/per person 

Disney World just got a little more magical with these fabulous dolphin encounters at EPCOT.

Epcot guests can meet the dolphins of The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion and spend time with the experts who care for Epcot’s bottlenose dolphins.

This experience is one of the longest, with two hours of dolphin education, observation, and interaction. 

You’ll learn about dolphin care, discuss endangered ocean life, and learn about dolphin training with the experts!

This experience includes a 30-minute in-water encounter with the dolphins.

It’s important to note that while you’ll get plenty of interaction with the dolphins, you won’t actually be swimming; you’ll remain waist-deep on a platform.

Additional planning tip: This interaction is designed for older children, teens, and adults.

*Before going, be sure to check out our entire 1-day Epcot itinerary that’ll tell you the best way to experience the rest of Epcot’s rides, shows, and attractions.

9.  Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

Clearwater Marine AquariumCity: Clearwater, FL – Address: 249 Windward Passage 

Price: $199.00

At the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, you’ll have the opportunity to meet rescued marine animals, including otters, sharks, and dolphins. 

They offer great education opportunities; during dolphin encounters, guests will learn all about the intelligence, anatomy, and beauty of these creatures. 

Watch these amazing dolphins learn and play while a photographer captures this special moment!

10. Dolphin Connection 

Dolphin Connection – City: Duck Key, FL – Address: 61 Hawks Cay Blvd

Price: Dolphin swims start at $199.99 

Dolphin Connection, in conjunction with their Dolphin Discovery Program, creates dolphin encounters you’ll never forget!

Each dolphin swim experience includes hugs, cheek kisses, handshakes, and thrilling double dorsal rides. 

They also offer opportunities to paint with your dolphin friend or participate in their “Trainer for a Day” program. 

Additional planning tip: Dolphin Connection experiences are held in Hawks Cay Resort’s ocean-fed saltwater lagoon. You do not need to be staying at the resort to book a dolphin experience (they are open to the public).

11. Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder

Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal ResponderCity: Key Larg, FL – Address: 31 Corrine Pl.

Price: Meet & Greets – $79, Signature Swims – $225

Here is yet another place to swim with dolphins in the Florida Keys!

The Marine Mammal Responder is a non-profit located in Key Largo Florida.

They have research and education programs, dolphin meet and greets, a shallow water dolphin encounter, and their popular signature dolphin swim!

During a signature swim, you will first learn how to ‘get to know your dolphin’.

You’ll also experience thrilling foot pushes, dorsal toes, and maybe even a pole jump.

Finish your experience with a sweet dolphin belly rub to say goodbye!

If you’re interested in even more fun, they also have dolphin painting, photo ops, touch tanks, and a kid’s marine camp. 

Additional Places to Swim With Dolphins in Florida

Here are some more unique ways to interact with our favorite bottlenose friends!

  • 4-hour dolphin swim tour with Water Planet in Destin, FL – wild dolphin encounters on Shell Island!
  • Blue Dolphin Tours in Panama City Beach, FL – wild dolphin encounters!
  • The Reef Plunge at Aquatica Orlando – an immersive waterslide experience alongside dolphins and sea animals!
  • Fury Water Adventures – watch bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat in Key West, FL.
Swimming with dolphins in Orlando, Florida

Final Thoughts on Swimming with Dolphins in Florida

On your next Florida vacation, do not pass up the opportunity to swim with dolphins!

These experiences are educational, sentimental, and thrilling – all wrapped up in one.

Each dolphin swim adventure creates a fantastic opportunity to connect with marine life and integrate yourself into the natural world – while having a whole lot of fun doing it!

Use this guide to pick the perfect Florida dolphin encounters for you and your family.

It’s an experience you’ll never forget!

Additional Florida Travel Content 

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.

"If you like it, Pin it!" quote
Discover the best place to swim with dolphins in Florida from to US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
TAGS
RELATED POSTS
2 Comments
  1. Reply

    Harmony, Momma To Go

    October 21, 2022

    You can swim with them at Hawks Cay in Duck Key, FL. Its a resort, but the dolphin experience is open to the public

    • Reply

      Jen

      October 21, 2022

      Thanks so much for mentioning this! Yes, this is through Dolphin Connection but actually held at Hawks Cay Resort.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Welcome Friends!

Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

Travel With A Plan packing checklist

Get Your Free Family Vacation Packing Lists Here!

Trendy Travel Gifts For Teens The Ultimate Winter Road Trip Packing List The Best Things to Do in Nashville at Christmas The Best Amusement Parks for Toddlers in California Are There Beaches in Orlando?