We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

Dolphin Research Center

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: 58901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
Phone Number: +1 305-289-1121
Website
Today
09:00 - 16:30
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 16:30
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Description:

Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility....

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!

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,910 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1284
    Excellent
  • 256
    Very good
  • 74
    Average
  • 30
    Poor
  • 18
    Terrible
Dolphins

It wasn't what I expected, but it was a great learning experience. It was so hot that we didn't stay as long as would have liked, and I live in Florida. The best part was the... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 7 July 2015
Binglese
,
Parrish, Florida
Add Photo Write a Review

1,910 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 1,662: English reviews
Parrish, Florida
Level Contributor
80 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2015

It wasn't what I expected, but it was a great learning experience. It was so hot that we didn't stay as long as would have liked, and I live in Florida. The best part was the little theater, not only because it was cool, but the young girl, was extremely inforative about everything at the research center.

Helpful?
Thank Binglese
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

Thanks for letting us know that you particularly enjoyed the theater presentation. We'll pass that on to the education staff. We're glad that you had a good time at DRC, despite the heat. (Hopefully you spent some time in the Sprayground to cool off!) We appreciate you visiting and hope that you're able to return in the future. More 

2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2015 via mobile

I have to say that I was impressed with the staff and facility even though it was under construction. My kids (8, 9 & 16) had an absolute blast during the dolphin dip. Thank you a Dolphin Research Center!

Helpful?
Thank Christina G
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

As we continue to move forward with improvements and projects for our Master Plan, we know that there are regularly going to be areas of construction. Everything is going to make things even better for you and all of our guests. Once you get past the main entrance out to where the dolphins and sea lions live, the work isn't... More 

Lynchburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2015 via mobile

Adults and kids alike will love this. So many dolphins, so many opportunities for good pictures. The educational programs were fun and informative. The dolphin encounters (swimming with) were way too expensive for us, but they do have cheaper options for getting closer if you want. My kids really wanted to meet the sea lion, but they were not offering... More 

Helpful?
Thank squitty1
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We love that people of all ages have a good time visiting and seeing all of the dolphins and sea lions. Sorry that the sea lion program wasn't available on the day you visited. Even though it was a disappointment to your family, we provide the sea lions with choices and sometimes they choose to not participate.) Hopefully you'll be... More 

Panama City, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2015 via mobile

Its not Sea World, and if thats what you like, you're in for dissapointment. However if you like a more intimate experience, I say, go for it. It was a nice place. Some of the experiences were pricey, but we sprung for the "meet a dolphin" for an extra 25 bucks over the regular admission price. This got the kids... More 

Helpful?
Thank bobplank74
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

As you discovered, we love to talk about our work, about the dolphins and sea lions, and everything else at Dolphin Research Center. The experience you had with the researcher is normal. If our guests are interested in learning more, we are certainly interested in sharing knowledge. It's a crucial part of our mission. Thanks so much for visiting with... More 

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2015

We stopped by on the way from Key West to Key Largo. It cost us 75 bucks for two adults and a six year old which is pretty steep considering that you can see everything in 20-30 minutes. I guess some of the money goes to a good cause and the kid enjoyed it so I can live with the... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Calmday
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We're happy that you decided to stop on your way down the Overseas Highway and spend a little time with us. Your general admission supports our nonprofit teaching, learning and caring mission. It helps us to provide the finest quality care and home for the dolphins and sea lions. (If you every come by again, there are some discount admission... More 

St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2015

We were staying Key west with our two grandchildren, ages 12 and 6. The drive was only about 90 minutes from Key West. What wonderful memory day,. We swim with the Dolphins. Our instructor was awesome and the pictures captured a wonderful day. It is a must to make a reservation, or you could be very disappointed. This was well... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Marie489
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We're happy that you were able to take part and have fun in a Dolphin Encounter swim. You're correct, it's always best to make a reservation so that you won't be disappointed. Thank you so much for coming to DRC and then telling others about us in your review! More 

Buford, Georgia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2015

This is a great way to spend time while learning and giving back. The research center takes great care of the dolphins. You also get to see iguanas and birds. The swim with programs looked fun, we just watched and walked around as we went later in the day and missed the times to participate in a swim with program.... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank mickyw1868
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We also hope that you're able to return in the future to do the Dolphin Encounter swim. In the meantime, we're so happy that you enjoyed your recent visit and the many chances to see dolphins and sea lions in action. The iguanas and birds don't usually get a shout-out, but we know many guests are as fascinated by them,... More 

Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2015 via mobile

First time visiting this kind of experience I think that the trainers were very informative and being able to interact with a dolphin was incredible... My advice for people with very young children is to eat lunch before you go and call ahead to find out what time your program is offered. Depending on how many are on your group... More 

Helpful?
Thank Starcota
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We're happy that you enjoyed visiting DRC and had a great experience. Some of the interactive programs can be reserved online ahead of time. In fact, we require advance reservations for Ultimate Trainer for a Day, Trainer Experience and Researcher Experience, and recommend them for Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin Dip. The other programs are offered on a walk-in/first come, first... More 

Tullahoma, Tennessee
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2015

Visited here several years ago. Swam with the dolphins, watch naturalist working witht the marine life, sat in a class to learn about the dolphins. Just loved every minute of it. Would definately do it again.

Helpful?
Thank Ann L
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

How nice to hear from you and know that you hold such good memories of your previous visit. Thank you for sharing about us with others. We hope you're able to visit again soon! More 

Rugby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
123 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2015

Great place to visit, staff really friendly and you can really get close or even get in the water with the dolfins for an extra fee.

Helpful?
Thank Simon F
DolphinResearchCtr, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Research Center, responded to this review

We do our best to be affordable and to provide a quality experience for guests - whether they want to come in and see dolphins or also want to do an interactive program. We're so happy that you had a good time. Your visit supports our non-profit mission. Thank you for coming in and for telling others about us with... More 

Travellers who viewed Dolphin Research Center also viewed

Marathon, Florida Keys
 

Been to Dolphin Research Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Dolphin Research Center and other visitors
27 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (27)

Questions? Get answers from Dolphin Research Center staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?