The Miami Sea Aquarium offers two main programs that allows you to observe, swim, play, feed and interact with dolphins – the Dolphin Odyssey ($199 USD + tax) and the Dolphin Encounter ($139 USD + tax). While both programs offer a wetsuit/towel, 15 minute educational presentation, complimentary admission to shows and exhibits for the day, and personal time with dolphins – the Dolphin Odyssey is the program of choice. It includes a 30 minute deep water experience with dolphins and personal photo opportunities.
I traveled to Miami in July 2008 for a week long vacation on my own. I opted to complete the Dolphin Odyssey as it had been a life-long dream of mine to swim with dolphins. They are one of my favorite animals – they’re so smart, cute, and friendly. They look like they’re smiling all of the time!
The experience was great and one I will always treasure.
I have to admit, it did start off a bit traumatically. Visitors are asked to remove all items of clothing, jewelery etc and don a really sexy looking wet suit. You are not even allowed to wear sunglasses. For good reason of course – they do not want the dolphins to ingest anything or have something taint or spoil their training area known as “Dolphin Harbor”. I reluctantly put on the wet suit.
Soon, we were off to a little classroom area where we learned about dolphins themselves and also the rules we needed to follow during our interactions with them.
At long last, we were off to the best part of the experience – getting into the pool with the dolphins. It was awesome, even emotional. They are such beautiful creatures.
The traumatizing experience of having to put on a wet suit was soon forgotten. Joy replaced embarrassment when I got to kiss one.
We then got to feed, touch, play, and swim with them. A dolphin named Noel gave me a ride across the pool! In addition to interacting with them, we enjoyed watching them perform various tricks such as jumping out the water and flipping in the air.
Sadly, the experience ends after 30 short minutes. I left wanting more.
As the experience also includes access to the rest of the Sea Aquarium, I took advantage. While I didn’t see any shows (it was way too hot and humid), I visited different exhibits and saw birds, tortoises, and even a sad beluga whale.
Swimming with dolphins is a once in a life-time experience. If this is something that interests you or your family, it’s very worthwhile.
One of the things I liked about the Miami Sea Aquarium is that their animals are well taken care of, not something that can be guaranteed in a fly-by-night resort operation. They truly do have their best interests at heart.
Other (more expensive) programs are also offered – including “Trainer For a Day” and even private dolphin sessions. For more information, check out their web site.