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“Dolphin Swim Disappointment”
Review of Theater of the Sea

Theater of the Sea
Book In Advance
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US$123.65*
and up
Eco-Adventure and Snorkel Cruise
Buy Tickets Online
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US$36.50*
and up
Theater of the Sea General Admission
Ranked #1 of 61 things to do in Islamorada
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Our mission is to provide a wonderful home for our animals while sharing them with visitors in ways that inspire awareness and sensitivity towards animals, the environment, and conservation issues. At Theater of the Sea watch up close and personal DOLPHIN SHOWS, sea lion shows, parrot shows, and much more! A pioneer in animal interactive programs, at Theater of the Sea you can... SWIM WITH A DOLPHIN... SWIM WITH A SEA LION... Wade, Meet and Paint with a Dolphin... Meet and Paint with a Sea Lion... Swim with the Rays... Swim with the Sharks... And Meet the Sea Turtles! Our 30 minute dolphin swims include BOTH trained behaviors like dorsal tows, kisses, and hugs as well as swimming and snorkeling with dophins. We offer a variety of animal interaction programs for various ages and prices. Programs are available daily and include admission to our dolphin, sea lion, and parrot shows, guided marne life tour, lagoon-side beach, and bottomless boat ride. Theater of the Sea is family owned and operated since 1946 and one of the oldest marine mammal facilities in the world. The lagoons and lush, tropical gardens are home to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, sea turtles, tropical and game fish, sharks, stingrays, alligators, marine invertebrates, and birds.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 12 August 2014

We were really disappointed with our dolphin swim, when it comes right down to it, because of the trainer. He zapped the life out of the experience. The dolphins were amazing but the trainer was RUDE. My husband and I were spared but the mom and 3 little boys with us, were not. He was very hard on them and I felt at the price of paying $200 a person, he should have been much kinder, more patient, and a lot more understanding and enthusiastic. I have been wanting to do this since I was a little girl and he sorely soured this once in a lifetime experience for me. Just to give an example, at one point, the little boy didn't swim out fast enough and the trainer told him "the clock is ticking". Just rude.

Theatre of the Sea, if you are reading this, our session was video taped, it may be a good training session on how to create better customer service. Besides the dolphin swim, the shows were great as was the staff who participated in them.The front desk ladies and gift shop attendants were also very helpful. It was unfortunate that what was supposed to be the highlight of our day didn't match the rest of it. Oh and make sure to ask to use their bug spray at the front desk!

4  Thank SunnyLiving2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
animalcare, Manager at Theater of the Sea, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

We are very sorry to hear that your experience was not what you had expected. Please know that this is not typical of our interaction programs. We would like the chance to make your opinion of Theater of the Sea a positive one. Please e-mail us at animalcare@theaterofthesea.com so that we may have the opportunity to discuss your visit to the park further.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,234 - 2,238 of 3,348 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2014

Bring a bathing suite and towel and snorkel.. The beach area has colorful fish and is bordered by the shark area

Thank ayntfair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014 via mobile

We visited on a rainy day. The shows have covered bleachers. You basically go from show to show. They have a very short boat ride with glass bottom. There are lots of iguanas in the trees. The foliage is absolutely gorgeous. There was one disappointment. The mosquitos were horrible. I'm sure because of the rain. They did offer bug repellant but it did not work. I feel like that is something to advise people of ahead of time. We all got ate up to the point where our trip was rushed at the end just to get out of there. Overall, it is a great place other than the Mosquitos.

1  Thank Lbryan77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

This fun little tourist spot was a definite hit with my daughters where one was able to swim with nurse sharks and the other swam with the rays.
Although the cost of the swims was a little pricey, it is well within range and cheaper than most other locations. The staff were all polite and knowledgeable and the gift shop had a good selection of reasonably priced souvenirs. The food however was fast and overpriced but I expected that.
The swim experience was awesome for both the kids and I got quite the rush just watching the HUGE iguanas strolling around. The little swimming beach was a delight with the numerous large and colorful fish to swim with.
An unexpected highlight of our visit was seeing the cat sanctuary were 40 some-odd dumped-off/abandoned felines call home. Really quite impressed with the dedication of this business to helping local animals.
The on-line scheduling process was quite frustrating as the system was newer and had glitches; phone-staff taking reservations however, were sweet and understanding, albeit swamped with work.
My youngest was somewhat disappointed that she did not get to swim with dolphins, but I was told that those classes are generally booked for at least a week or two in advance during vacation "season". I hesitated in making reservations ahead of time because I was concerned that the weather might be bad on that particular day and ruin our chances completely. With a limited amount of time in the Keys and living 1500 miles away, I made the WRONG decision. Book early and CALL if you can. Then sit back and enjoy all that the Theater of the Sea has to offer and give them a pat on the back for extending themselves to helping felines in need.

1  Thank cindy a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Theater of the Sea is a must if you are visiting the Florida Keys. Theater of the Sea is a nice, well kept, clean park filled with different shows and exhibit. We were lucky enough to see Sherman, the Dolphin perform, as well as Wilbur, the sea lion. Both animals were full of personality! The shows are a real treat due to the trainers encouraging crowd participation during the shows. In the Dolphin show, they allowed a few children and a couple of adults to pet Sherman, the Dolphin. It is evident how caring and passionate the trainers and staff are to the animals! I can't wait to visit again!

Thank Ryan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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