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“Good, but expensive”
Review of Dolphin Quest

Dolphin Quest
Ranked #1 of 31 things to do in Waikoloa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Dolphin Quest Hawaii, located at the spectacular Hilton Waikoloa Village, brings people and dolphins closer than ever in fun, interactive dolphin encounter programs for all ages. This unique experience is on-of-a-kind on Hawaii's Big Island and is great for kids, adults or the entire family! Reservations can be made a year in advance. Dolphin Quest's Learning Center Lagoon, opened in 1988, was the first of its kind and inspired a new generation of large, natural habitats for marine mammals. A portion of the proceeds from your Dolphin Quest encounter program supports vital marine education, conservation and scientific study. TripAdvisor Certificate Excellence winner for the last 6 years (2012 to 2017)!
Reviewed 9 December 2013

My wife has been talking about touching/playing with dolphins for while, so when we saw the Hilton offered this experience I figured we should try it.

It was fun - the staff are very friendly/helpful and the dolphins are extremely playful. In the 45-minute Encounter Deluxe, we interacted with the three dolphins they had in the pool to see the differences, posed with the dolphins for pictures, and then watched (including underwater) while they performed various jumps and spins.

The activity was more entertainment then education - the trainer certainly knew a lot about dolphins and answered a lot of questions, but the regular agenda felt like it focused more on taking photos and watching the dolphins do tricks then learning about them. I suppose that's what most people want out of the trip.

That being said, it's very expensive. The base cost for the encounter isn't cheap to start with, but then they offer tons of up-sell options (DVDs, photos, etc.). No, you cannot bring your own camera in the water "for the safety of the dolphins", but they'd be happy to sell you 6x8 prints that their photographer took. The smart people in our group had friends/relatives taking photos with a telephoto lens from outside the pool area.

You don't "swim" with the dolphins - you stand in the water while they swim past you. Ultimately, I think we could have gotten the same level of interaction, just out of the water, with dolphins at SeaWorld, for a fraction of the cost.

1  Thank ChrisLki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"encounter deluxe"
in 26 reviews
"amazing animals"
in 19 reviews
in 27 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 83 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 78 reviews
"dream come true"
in 21 reviews
"bucket list"
in 57 reviews
"fun experience"
in 19 reviews
"small group"
in 33 reviews
"worth every penny"
in 48 reviews
"take pictures"
in 29 reviews
"whole family"
in 19 reviews
"hilton waikoloa"
in 22 reviews
"the big island"
in 38 reviews
in 315 reviews
in 109 reviews
in 110 reviews

1,505 - 1,509 of 1,792 reviews

Reviewed 19 November 2013

I booked the 45 mins swim with dolphins. I got to swim with a female dolphin and her 1 year old daughter. It was an incredible experience - the dolphins are so clever and powerful. The staff at Dolphin Quest are very friendly and enjoy sharing their knowledge. Our trainer, Tike, was great. The time seemed to go very quickly, and it was expensive, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I bought a couple of the official photos afterwards, but my husband also took some video from outside the fence, which came out really well too.

1  Thank Louise F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2013

My husband and I purchased the 30 minute Dolphin Encounter experience. It was amazing to be so close to the dolphins. We held them, petted them, kissed them, and played with them. Swimming with them consisted of putting on masks and watching them underwater as they swam around us. We had a wonderful time.

The staff was wonderful. Our room at the Waikoloa Village overlooked the dolphin pools and we saw first-hand all week how the staff worked and played with the dolphins. I as very pleased to see that the dolphins seem very happy and receive lots of genuine care and attention from their staff. Spending quality time with both the staff and the dolphins only confirmed that all is good.

Cameras are not allowed in the water with the dolphins for good reason, but staff members do take photos and those are available for purchase. The photos are pricey and only OK.

Overall it was a great experience and definitely worth the expense if spending quality time with a dolphin is on your bucket list.

2  Thank Jnennimtz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

Incredible adventure. My daughter will never forget kissing the dolphin, holding its fin and being pulled along and how sweet they were when swimming next to her. The whole deal swim, DVD, pictures and all was expensive but so worth it.

2  Thank Jayne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 November 2013

I have wanted to swim with dolphins my whole life so jumped at the chance to do this.
The team there look after you so well. They have a trainer in the water with you, another taking photographs and another filming the encounter. The trainers were all very friendly and make sure everyone is having fun. We got to ask a lot of questions and the trainer answered them all very well.
You get one on one time with the dolphin and get to give it a kiss.
Our interactions switched between three dolphins who were swimming in the pool we were in.
Three days before our visits one of the dolphins had given birth so there was a baby dolphin swimming around also. A very special thing to see.
The only let down was that the photos are very expensive to purchase afterwards.

2  Thank Keera14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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