Swimming with dolphins is one of those rare experiences that you may have only once in your life, but the memory will always stay with you. Dolphins are fast and powerful creatures, yet their intelligence and gentle demeanor permit wonderful opportunities for human-animal interaction. It's an activity families can do together, though participants must usually be at least 52 inches tall. In Florida there are several established "swim with dolphins" programs, but they draw visitors from around the globe. If you want to make this part of your Florida vacation, book your session well in advance.
Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Interaction Program
The Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Interaction Program offers visitors a 90-minute experience that includes swimming, training, feeding and touching dolphins. You can even get the chance to ride a dolphin across the pool. Participants must be at least 52 inches tall. Wetsuits are provided, but you should bring a swimsuit. Only 14 guests can participate during each session, so you'd be wise to book your experience as soon as you know you want to visit this South Florida landmark.
Dolphin Interaction Program
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Fl 33149
Discovery Cove Orlando
A trip to Orlando doesn't have to mean long lines for short rides. Discovery Cove, part of the Sea World collection of parks in Orlando, offers dolphin swim experiences for children as young as 6 (assuming they can stand in 3 feet of water), and kids 13 and older do not need a parent or guardian to accompany them. Each session lasts about 30 minutes, after a 10-minute orientation. Only about 1,000 people per day can be accommodated, so get your tickets in advance if possible.
6000 Discovery Cove Way
Orlando, FL 32821
Marineland, St. Augustine
For a shallow-water encounter with dolphins, one even a 5-year-old can enjoy, there's one of Florida's oldest aquatic destinations, Marineland in St. Augustine. The experience is just under an hour, and about 20 minutes is spent with the dolphins themselves. But for anyone 13 and older, Marineland offers its 6-hour Trainer for a Day program that is sure to thrill everyone who ever dreamed of working with dolphins.
Dolphin Conservation Center at Marineland
9600 Ocean Shore Blvd.
Saint Augustine, FL 32080