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Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

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Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

Kids, 4 & 1. Afternoon or early evening trip desired.


Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

You might try Captain Zodiak out of South Shore Beach (by Salty Dogs Marina)

This is a small hard bottom boat which holds six. The best dolphin trip out of the three we've been on so far. The guide was just amazing and geared the trip towards our niece and nephew. Our nephew happens to be autistic and the guide was very patient and willing to answer all of his questions. We all had such a great time. We did take the last trip out for the evening.

(Aug) It was a beautiful summer night, fantastic sunset and we did see many dolphins.

The Vagabond boat tour also very nice out of Harbourtown. The boat holds somewhere around 80 with inside and outside seating so that is an option as well.

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2. Re: Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

We enjoy Outside Hilton Head from Shelter Cove, like Captain Zodiac it is a smaller boat, holds up to 12 people but great to get up close and personal with the dolphins, check out the websites and compare to see which one best fits your needs. There is also the Holiday from Shelter Cove it too is a tour boat holding about the same number as Vagabond. Although I would prefer the smaller boat.

Hilton Head Island
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3. Re: Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

With a 1 year old, I would strongly recommend limiting yourself to a 1 hour trip, maybe a 2 hour if you have the option to cut it short. This is just in my experience of many years guiding boat tours with kids of all ages. A great experience can turn sour rather quickly if a little one looses steam. Consider the perceptual overload being out on a boat for the first time, perhaps a bit anxious to start, the excitement of seeing dolphin, coupled with some heat and sunshine, it can get to be a lot for a toddler.

Things to look for in a trip that I would think best suits your family with a 4 and 1 year old:

-- 1 hour. Or if you do a private trip something like a 2 hour that you can cut short without penalty (meaning come in at 1 hour, pay for 1 hour, rather than the full 2 hour trip).

-- Dolphin Guarantee. Not everyone can do this, especially on a 1 hour... you'll need to look around. (Why waste your money on a dolphin trip if you might not see dolphin? Especially with the kids.)

-- Shaded area for passengers. Especially for an afternoon outing with little ones, shade is key to comfort.

-- Smaller capacity vessels (<6 passengers). This provides the best guide to client ratio, and the most personal trip. Ideally, the captain is engaging you and the kids directly, not just "talking at the group". Also, compare the group size versus the capacity of the vessel. A 10 passenger boat with 5 people on board would be more spacious and preferable than a 14 passenger boat with 14 people on board, right?

-- Smaller boats (18-22 ft range) allow access to smaller waterways where dolphin can be seen but big boats just can't go. You're also closer to the water and it's like driving around in a convertible sports car versus being in a crowded bus.

-- Four Stroke motors. These are typically much quieter than older Two Stroke technology, and don't burn a gas/oil mix (smells). This can have a negative effect with little ones, if there is too much noise and other distractions. Most tour companies have upgraded to Four Strokes, but not all.

Lastly, I would also consider a private trip, if it's within your budget, and some companies will be glad to work with you on pricing given the fact that it's two young children, you just need to ask. With youngsters in that age range, having a very personalized experience that focuses on the kids (describing things at their level and teaching directly to them) would be of great value. This is going to be a brief portion of your overall visit to Hilton Head, but why not make it the pinnacle of that experience?

Capt. Blair

4. Re: Best Dolphon Cruise For Young Kids

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