Marineland Dolphin Adventure was founded to foster the preservation and protection of marine life. Their mission is to utilize interactive education, enhanced by on-site research, to inspire visitors to value and respect marine mammals and their environment.
Based on our private tour, we’d say they are right on mission. Six-hundred and fifty feet from our boat and nested behind a bulkhead of tumbled boulders fronting the Atlantic surf, the site is visually captivating even before one gets to the dolphins. Our guide, Kevin, is also the photo-id photographer (dolphin IDs, not employees’). Because of this, his ability to recognize the individual dolphins by their often subtle markings was quite something.
Kevin toured us end-to-end. Nellie, who will be 59 years old on the 27th of this month (normal is 25 years) was the first dolphin we visited. Her roommate is 40! (and, yes, we will be using “who”). The next tank over held the youngest dolphin, Hemingway, who was born Labor Day last year. The picture shows about maximum separation mom, Dazzle, and Hemingway ever allowed between them. The darker coloration will fade as the calf ages. The rest of the dolphins are just a click away.
Then on to the jaw slapping males (above — it’s a water squirting communication behavior that conveys about the same opinion it would if a human had done the same). Later Janet snapped them receiving gelatin cubes for hydration (their fish diet, having been frozen, does not supply the moisture it would if it was served as sushi).
Kevin covered the behavioral, cultural/tribal and husbandry elements of the program and consistently made himself available for questions well beyond the limits of the tour.
We also met, Elizabeth, a bundle of energy helping test-run new program presentations. Everyone we encountered radiated commitment to the mission. Marineland is NOT a dolphin show. It is a way to show us a responsible interaction with dolphins in the wild based on lessons learned here.
Go when you get the chance.