One of the most thrilling parts of a drive down to the Florida Keys is a stop at the Dolphin Research Center located on the Overseas Highway at Mile Marker 59 in Grassy Key.
Whether you are an adult, teenager or child, there is no better adventure than spending a day with the dolphins. While you are there, pay a visit to the adorable sea lions that call the Center their home as well.
The Dolphin Research Center offers a variety of ways to interact with the fun-loving mammals. Specialized sessions take place demonstrating different aspects of their lives. Learn all kinds of fun facts from medical training and research to high flying athletics direct from the deep blue ocean.
The overlying mission of this non-profit organization established in 1984 is to promote peaceful coexistence between marine mammals and humans and the environment we share through research and education and to operate for the advancement of such research and education.
You could spend a full day and then some taking part in all the interactive programs. Be a dolphin trainer for a day, be a researcher for a day, have a dolphin encounter as you swim and splash with these friendly creatures of the sea. A dolphin dip is the perfect refreshing activity for the entire family. Stand on a submerged platform and let the fun begin. Be a dolphin explorer. Spend playtime with the dolphins. Paint with the dolphins letting them make the brush strokes as you hold the canvas. Shake their flippers or rub their backs. They enjoy it all and the constant attention that they are given.
As the heat of the summer becomes unbearable, splash in the sprayground, jets of water surrounding you in a marine-themed environment.
If you just can't seem to get enough, the Dolphin Research Center is the only facility in the United States offering a series of career courses that are college accredited. Learning experiences include the dolphin lab, Dolphin Camp, Dolphins: Dusk to Dawn which caters to schools and youth groups and dolphin day trips for classes.
As is the case with non-profit organizations, the support of the visitors is greatly appreciated. Through the funding raised, dolphins and sea lions will have a much better home. Enhance the lives of children with Special Needs and Make-A-Wish participants through the Dolphin Pathways program. You can even aid manatees in distress through the Manatee Rescue Program.
Other than Memorial and Labor Day and Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Dolphin Research Center is open all year round for your pleasure. There is nothing quite like this experience. Go to www.dolphins.org to learn more and set aside time for a day of enjoyment near the water. Reservations are greatly recommended.