For the Love of Dolphins-Marineland, FL

boy and bottlenose dolphin doing flipper handshake, Marineland, Florida

CIMG0629 - Version 2This oceanfront playground promotes the preservation and protection of marine life through programs in their oceanarium with bottlenose dolphins. Our family had the privilege of spending an afternoon here and we made an “ocean of memories.”

Our Visit

We’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins as a family, but we were concerned about the safety and ethical treatment of dolphins in captivity. We did a lot of research to find the right place in Florida where you have many options for this experience. Marineland was our top and only choice once we had our research completed.

C39C09F9-9706-418B-B417-EA13FD206D95We decided on the Dolphin Immersion since none of us had ever had a dolphin interaction before and this was a rare opportunity since we were a long way from home. We all had to wear bathing suits which meant I really wanted to do this. They supply you with life vests and have lockers for your personal items. We were introduced to the park and the water by professional trainers. They are very thorough with getting you acquainted with the environment and teaching you about the dolphins. It was very clear how much they love these dolphins and the work that they do. In addition to learning about each dolphin’s history and witnessing some of their spectacular feats, we also got to give them a rub-down, get kisses and swim alongside them. They say bottlenose dolphins are some of the smartest animals on Earth and our experience says that’s true.


Marineland is a Top Choice for a Dolphin Experience

  • They have made significant contributions to marine science and conservation
  • They are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and part of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta
  • 040C62F7-F646-4A37-9081-C6E8C7E44FE7Their mission is to inspire visitors to value and respect marine mammals and their environment through interactive education and on-site research
  • Marineland has not collected any dolphins from the wild since 1972.
  • They are an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammals Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)– dedicated to the well-being of dolphins and other marine mammals in human care and in the wild.
  • Your visit to Marineland partners you in their missions with the Alliance– “important and long-standing contributions to marine education, to the protection of ocean wildlife and habitats, research important to the health of animals—both in our collections and in the wild—and to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and stranded marine mammals, sea turtles and other animals.”


Dolphin Experience

Marineland offers a variety of interactive programs that range from staying on dry land to immersing in the pool with the dolphins, up close and personal. The dolphin deck gets you closer without having to be in the water. Neptune Park boasts sea turtles and sand tiger sharks and their museum also houses live exhibits from the Southeast region of the United States with a Tropical Pacific Room (beautiful fish, invertebrates, coral and more). You can learn about the importance of the Gulf Stream, ecosystems and conservation.


Fun Facts

  • Marineland is the world’s first Oceanarium
  • They have been a part of Florida’s history since 1938.
  • Home to a 1.3 million-gallon series of dolphin habitats
  • Almost 70 percent of the bottlenose dolphins in AMMPA zoos, aquariums and marine parks are born in these facilities.
  • Nellie, the oldest Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in human care at Marineland, died at age 61 on April 30, 2014. She was born in 1953 and she was the spokes-dolphin for Timex watches in addition to appearing in several television shows.
  • DA48007B-A384-4DFF-B405-EE852E68C614 Marineland has appeared as a Hollywood film site several times:
    • “Marine Circus” (1939)
    • “The Sea Around Us” (1953)
    • “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954)
    • “Revenge of the Creature” (1955)
    • “Secrets of the Reef” (1956)
    • “Zaat” (1975)
    • “Sea Dream” (1978)
    • “Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland” (1981, TV)
    • “The Flamingo Rising” (2001, TV)
    • “Bernie the Dolphin” (2018)


  • 9600 Oceanshore Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
  • Hours may vary by day, 9:00am. – 4:30pm. daily
  • 904.471.1111
  • Website: Marineland
  • Discounts:
    • Newsletter Sign-up  Email Discounts
    • Florida residents get a 20% discount with ID, use code “FLRESIDENT”
    • Military Discount–self and family 10%

Family Adventure Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️


Cost– This adventure is at the high end of our trip expenses. General Admission that allows you to view the park, museum and meet the dolphins from the dolphin deck will cost a family of five $87.75 plus tax. You can go as high as $1195.00 plus tax for the Full Immersion and even higher if you’re looking for something really over the top. You are allowed food, so you can bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean. We went all out on this adventure and spent some money in the gift shop. You can purchase, shirts, cuddly marine mammal plush, adopt a dolphin through donation, and even purchase a necklace with a silver charm cast of your favorite dolphin’s tail fin.

Parking & Transportation– There is a good size lot to park in that can accommodate buses and large vehicles. We didn’t find any mass transit options that go directly to Marineland, but they are located right off of A1A which is a popular route. There are shuttles and bus services in St. Augustine, but most are closer to the town and surrounding shopping areas.

C1783201-DFB8-4445-A35D-76CA67F79D86Location– This location is perfect for an oceanarium. The habitat looks out over the Atlantic Ocean making it seem more natural and spacious for not only the guests, but more importantly, the dolphins. The surrounding area is quiet and more rural which also lends to a more peaceful setting. Located across the street is the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (GACFS). They respond to sick, injured and/or stranded dolphins and small whales in the area. This location allows collaboration between the two facilities.

Day Trip or Overnight– This is a day trip unless you are already away from home and want to enjoy some time in this area. St. Augustine is one of our favorite vacation destinations. There is an endless amount of things to do and explore and tons of places to stay.

Experience– Swimming and interacting with dolphins has always been high on our family bucket list. Our experience at Marineland was top notch. I’m not sure we could go anywhere else now that we have learned so much about dolphins. As a family, we practice conservation, respect life and enjoy interacting with nature. This was one of the best family activities we have ever done together.

Combination– If you’re staying in the area or even just looking for a place to have a nice dinner, St. Augustine is a mecca of history and family fun. Some of our top choices are Anastasia State Park, Castillo DeSan Marco, the Pirate Museum, the town itself and the Lighthouse. There’s also the Alligator Farm, Ripley’s Museum, Potter’s Wax Museum, Cathedral Basillica, and way more. Check out St. Augustine Tourism. If you are looking for another kind of thrill, check out Canyons Zip Line . (about 90 min from St. Augustine)

Published by newyorkfamilyadventures

Momager, New Yorker, Travel Blogger, Actress, Martial Artist, Amateur Photographer, Writer, Conservationist

30 thoughts on “For the Love of Dolphins-Marineland, FL

  1. This looks like such a cool place! It’s nice that you did your research to find a place that was ethical and you could see that the trainers loved their dolphins. I think that some people are quick to jump on hating places like this without doing the research and seeing how good it is for the dolphins!

    1. I really hope you can make plans to travel here. It was a bucket list item for us too. The immediate area is vacation worthy and so much better than the tourist areas of Florida. I posted a few other adventures in the area for your inspiration. Check out Florida under the categories menu when you’re ready. St. Augustine is a beautiful destination and super family friendly.

  2. Wow this looked like an awesome long memory experience Emily that you and your family shared and enjoyed. Suze swam with dolphins many years ago. She has two passions dragonflies and dolphins – l know, lknow small to large 🙂 Me, well l have swum with a few things in my lives from frogs and snakes to fish and sharks – never dolphins, but maybe that something suze and l can do in the future – thanks for yet another great post.

    Did you manage to source out the much needed information from your readership for your question prompt yet? You write it up, and l will post it to my own readership and we can see what might come of it.

    1. Snakes! I never want to swim with snakes! Lol. Thanks for the compliments. I haven’t gotten around to the prompt discussion yet. It’s on my list! I’m playing a bit of catch up right now. Def by next week! We’re going on a road trip to get Zeus and Chi Chi a brother this weekend! I feel a dog interview is on the horizon….

  3. wow! I wanna do this!I am in Ireland! But I’ve been to Orlando to Disney world! But not sea world or any marine place in florida! Sounds amazing though will have to reblog this post!

  4. Great post! Very detailed and the pictures are beautiful. I love doing things like this. Will definitely put on today list. Pricing seems reasonable. Thank you! 🤗

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