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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: 09:00 - 16:30
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
58901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
CONTACT
Website
+1 305-289-1121
Write a ReviewReviews (2,351)
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"dolphin encounter"
in 294 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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1 - 10 of 2,056 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

I LOVED my experience with my trainer, Shelby, as I got to interact with multiple dolphins at the DRC. She was very knowledgeable, obviously loved her job, and was willing to answer any question our group had on these amazing creatures! I have always wanted...More

Thank Jenna J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

My boyfriend surprised me with a "play dolphin" experience. I thought it would include about 20 minutes of me doing hand motions and having some fun with dolphins. Well, I was mistaken. I had 55 minutes of dolphin belly rubs, high fives, and splash contests....More

Thank Erin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

We visited in July and it was hot, but completely worth it. The staff here is incredible and I was amazed at the close encounters with these beautiful animals.

Thank Lisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

The staff is so friendly & it’s apparent how much they adore the dolphins in their care. Everyone we met was eager to talk with us and answer our questions. We were surprised at how people curious the dolphins were. Often swimming near the areas...More

Thank kelly a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

Mother and teen daughter pair, loved the research center. Highlights were the air conditioned indoor and outdoor shows (it was July), narrated shows were really easy to hear and quite funny for multi-generation audience, splashpad was fun for all ages, and the staff was really...More

Thank Neil T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Great facility, they do fantastic work with the dolphins and sea lions. Staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Admission goes to a great cause. Great place to swim with the dolphins

Thank RaspberryMojito
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 1 week ago

Thanks so much for your positive review. We truly appreciate you visiting Dolphin Research Center.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

We loved the Dolphin Research Center and it was the highlight of our trip to Marathon, Florida. The staff and trainers are very knowledgeable about dolphins and their habitats. I enjoyed the educational videos and the passion of the trainers. Our dolphin encounter was fabulous...More

Thank annecostantino
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 1 week ago

We love sharing Dolphin Research Center with our guests and very much appreciate you visiting. So glad to hear that you had a great time in your Dolphin Encounter. Your visit directly supports the care and home for the dolphins and sea lions, as well...More

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

This was the highlight of the entire week in The keys. Absolutely amazing how smart the dolphins are and how much they love people. Spend the extra money and take the dolphin researcher experience of four hours.

Thank dsgraybealtn
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 1 week ago

Thank you for including Dolphin Research Center in your Florida Keys vacation. We love that you had a great time visiting and doing the Researcher Experience program. Like you, we love engaging with the dolphins in "thinking" games and learning more about them.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

There us a brand new visitor center. Very nice. my kids got to meet Gambit and my daughter said it was the best day ever (17 yr old). The "shows"were amazing as we got to learn about the dolphins and the work done at DRC.More

1  Thank Andrea 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 1 week ago

Yes, the new Welcome Center is open and we couldn't be happier about visitors coming into this new, welcoming environment when they first arrive at DRC. Thanks so much for bringing your family to see us and, of course, to meet Gambit. We're delighted that...More

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My kids enjoyed playing with the dolphins. We also enjoyed the interactions and proximity to see all of the dolphins. Wish there had been more activities for the kids, but we enjoyed our time there!

Thank carriejgooch7
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 1 week ago

Happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed your visit, including the Play with a Dolphin program. Thanks so much for providing your feedback and for visiting!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
NOregrets-Traveler
6 December 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
7 August 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
4 April 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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