St. Augustine, Florida is a place like no other. The oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine offers visitors a quaintness and charm that will delight people of all ages. Spend the day strolling old brick streets lined with historic buildings, take a horse drawn carriage ride, enjoy numerous boutiques, galleries and bustling restaurants, or spend your days looking for seashells on one of many pristine beaches.
A Video Tour of Marineland Dolphin Adventure, St. Augustine, FL.
A Magical Dolphin Swim or Encounter
No matter if you’re a child or a child at heart, you’ll find a dolphin swim program that makes you remember magic is real. Put your snorkel mask on and get in the water for a memorable experience. You’ll have the opportunity to swim and snorkel near the dolphins in shallow and deep water, and also out in deeper water where you can see these breathtaking animals twirling below you.
For those of you with an artistic side, you’ll no doubt be delighted with the Dolphin Designs program. You’ll be able to choose up to 3 colors for the dolphins to paint on a canvas which you’ll hold over the water. Talk about fine art! Once your painting is finished, you’ll have the opportunity to get into the water and interact with the dolphins up close and personal.
Maybe you’ll want to feed the dolphins? Well you can in the touch and feed program, an exhilarating experience the whole family will enjoy.
Trainer for a Day
Admit it, you’ve thought that training dolphins must be one of the coolest jobs in the world. Now is your chance to find out as you spend the day assisting Marineland’s trainers. You’ll spend the day preparing meals, feeding the dolphins, and taking part in the many wonderful behavioral programs at the park. At the end of the day you’ll be given a CD of photos from your day on the job. Not that you’ll need photos to remind you of the amazing time you had.
Take a Thrilling EcoTour!
How would you like to Kayak in and around some of the most stunning scenery in Florida? The Ripple Effect EcoTours will get you out on the water where you will learn about the various ecosystems in this part of Florida and the conservation efforts employed to keep them healthy and pristine.
Kayak around Faver-Dykes State Park, The Princess Place Preserve, and the Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve, a biologically rich area that has been described as “the cornerstone behind the nomination of the Matanzas River as the 25th National Estuarine Research Reserve of the United States”.
Happy Birthday to YOU!
Is your child celebrating a birthday soon? Why not give them a day they’ll remember for a long, long time. With its gorgeous ocean views and playful dolphins always looking to make new friends, Marineland offers a birthday program complete with dolphin interactions, educational programs and a photo keepsake.
If you’re headed to St. Augustine, Florida and looking for an adventure of a lifetime, you’ll want to spend the day (or several) at Marineland Dolphin Adventure Park.
Swimming with dolphins in a facility is exciting enough, but getting to be out in the open waters and watch wild dolphins in their natural habitat is something totally different and unique! And that’s why Dolphin World is pleased to introduce to you, the Wild Dolphin Encounter in beautiful Bimini, Bahamas.
The Bahamas are a collection of nice-sized islands, with the biggest being North and South Bimini. Though technically the biggest islands, a vacation to Bimini still has a quaint and charming feel, perfect for a relaxing destination.
But quaint and charming don’t even do justice to describe what your experience aboard a comfortable sailing boat for 6 days and 5 nights will be like on your wild dolphin adventure. Captain Geoff will personally greet you upon arrival and give you a brief explanation of the boat and your time upon it.
Once you and your fellow adventurers introduce yourselves, Captain Geoff will give you a weather report for the week and ahead. Then finally, it’s time to sit down to your first dinner on board. Meals are simple but tasty. After dinner you have the option of reading, playing board games, or going on deck to be amazed at the sky full of stars. Then it’s time for some shut eye because the next day will be a total thrill.
The one thing you must understand is that, as accommodating as Captain Geoff and crew are, they cannot predict or control the weather. You basically hope for the best and deal with what weather comes your way. Captain Geoff pays very close attention to weather reports, as well as the surrounding landscape, to always ensure your safety.
Depending on weather, you may find in the morning the seas are a bit rough and the captain does not want to take the dingy out in search of dolphins. This gives you an opportunity to practice your snorkeling in calmer, shallower water. When the weather is clear and the water still, you’ll hop into the dingy and motor around the islands in search of spotted or bottlenose dolphins!
You will NEVER forget the first time you see these dolphins out in the wild! They tend to swim around and around the dingy and leap into the air as if to show off. You’ll also get a chance to see dolphins feeding out in the open waters, and sometimes, it’s as if the dolphins want to race the dingy. Usually they win.
But perhaps the most spectacular and memorable experience is when you find yourself snorkeling in the morning in the crystal clear water and suddenly dolphins appear to swim with you. Simply unforgettable. You’re also most likely to see all kinds of sea life while snorkeling such as star fish, stingrays, nurse shark (they’re friendly!), blue fish, yellow fish and all sorts of tropical fish.
The wild dolphin encounter is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and memorable to boot!
Getting to Bimini
Although it is the outermost set of islands in the Bahamas, Bimini is actually less than 50 miles from the southern tip of Florida and very easy to get to. You can get to Bimini by air or by sea.
You have two options to fly into Bimini:
Silver Airways – A regional airline (and partnership with United Express Airlines) that departs from Fort Lauderdale. There is one flight daily, except on Tuesdays, which lasts for 30 minutes and lands you directly at South Bimini Airport. Travelers headed to North Bimini will have to take a five-minute taxi ride from the airport.
Take a seaplane– Tropic Ocean Airways offers flights from Fort Lauderdale as well as Miami on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. They also offer private chartered planes. Other companies that offer private chartered service include Island Air Charters, Pioneer Air Service and RMG Flight Services. If your budget allows, this is a nice way to start your adventure.
Charter a boat – Why not charter a pleasure boat or even a yacht to get you to Bimini? Several Florida companies and private boat owners are happy to transport travelers from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to docks and marinas on North and South Bimini. Charter services to consider include Boat South Florida, Taylor’d Yacht Charters and Atlantic Yacht Charters.
The history of Bimini is quite varied and exciting. During the 1600 and 1700s, Bimini was a popular spot for pirates who hid out, waiting for the Spanish ships, laden with treasure on their route back to Spain, to pass by.
During the 19th century, shipwrecks were a frequent occurrence in the area and the first settlers to Bimini came to salvage the wrecks. Once lighthouses became common in the 1800s, the shipwrecking trade declined. Ever heard of Blackbeard? He was no stranger to the islands of Bimini.
Once the wrecking industry declined, the island was struggling with poverty. But, in 1919, The U.S. enacted the Volstead Act and the era of prohibition dawned. Everyone and their cousin was looking for a way to smuggle alcohol into America through Canada and The Bahamas.
Enter the rum runners, who flooded Bimini with cases and cases of rum, all headed to the United States. Bimini went from economically depressed to rolling in cash, seemingly overnight.
Many notable historical figures visited Bimini over the years, but perhaps the most famous was Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway, who had experiences on the island that would allow him to eventually write Old Man and The Sea.
Sights and Sounds of Bimini
Is it any wonder Bimini is a mecca for deep sea fishermen? This location is ideal for catching “the big one” as its where the Gulf Stream meets the Bahamas Bank. Anglers here are likely to catch snapper, tuna, and wahoo.
There are plenty of other activities besides fishing. There’s paddleboarding and kayaking, of course, and art and culture as well. Spend a day perusing Bimini Museum in Alice Town.
Those visitors who are looking for a real thrill can get into a dockside cage to get face-to-face with one of the ocean’s top predators – the bull shark.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from simply taking a leisurely stroll through town, enjoying some delicious local food, doing some shopping and people watching, or just lying in the warm sand with cool ocean breezes kissing your skin.
Bimini is truly a unique destination where magic awaits you at every turn.
Your Bimini Bahamas Experience and Feed Back
We would love to hear from you and what you did in Bimini Bahamas. In fact we are so interested in hearing what you have to say that we will entice you to comment, the first 5 comments will receive a $5 Amazon Gift Card by email. The only thing we ask that you comment has something to do about Bimini Island and your stay there or the nearby area.
If you’re in the vacationing mood, head to beautiful Key West, Florida, where every day is a perfect excuse to play and party under the sun and stars. Key West is the kind of destination where time completely stops. There’s no need for a watch or an itinerary here, visitors simply do whatever they fancy. Boasting more sunny days than not, the area is ideal for those who want to snorkel, scuba dive, kayak or just lay on the beach and catch some rays. And, when the sun goes down, it’s time to party down with other tourists and locals who just want to have a good time.
There are a plethora of activities for visitors to partake in and here are just a few highlights:
Snorkel and Hang Out with Wild Dolphins
Hop on board the Amazing Grace, a Wild Dolphin Tour, an ultramodern boat that offers 6 passengers a rare look into the underwater world surrounding Key West customized deck viewing area. You’ll have the opportunity to encounter wild dolphins, a most memorable experience, and watch as they frolic and play below and all around. For those who feel like getting a little, or a lot, wet, dive in for some magnificent snorkeling among the many vibrant coral reefs. You’ll see colorful tropical fish and sea turtles as you glide through the azure waters just off the coast. A day on the Amazing Grace isn’t just a tourist attraction, it’s a memory you’ll never forget.
Food and Fun on a Sunset Cruise
There are dinner cruises, and then there are dinner cruises. Grab the one you love, or, okay, a bunch of people you at least like very much, and hop aboard the Sunset Culinaire Food and Fun Cruise where you can enjoy a luxury cruise at sunset skimming over the ocean’s surface. When not gazing in awe at the spectacular sunset, dine on gourmet cuisine prepared with love by a Chef, who’s been concocting delicious appetizers for 35 years. In other words, he’s got this whole cooking thing down pat. This dinner cruise is one you won’t soon forget.
What’s Better Than BP & J?
Answer: Rum and Reggae
Take a one-of-a-kind sailing adventure and head out into the famous crystal blue waters surrounding Key West for a day of sailing and, well, drinking – only in Key West, right? You’ll board a state-of-the-art luxury catamaran and head out to explore the beautiful coral reefs and miles of beautiful coastline. During the trip you have access to unlimited sodas, beer and rum punch and you’ll listen to the rhythmic beats of reggae music while literally sailing into the sunset.
Up, Up and Away…
Come on, you know you want to try parasailing. Well Key West is one of the best places to do it. Get an aerial view of the fantastic scenery below as you soar 600 feet above the island. You can enjoy a solo ride or tandem, and, for those who want a dry adventure, you may choose to take off and land on dry ground. Once you try parasailing, you may become addicted!
Who Doesn’t Love the Aquarium?
The Key West Aquarium is the only one on the island, and it offers those visitors who aren’t too keen on snorkeling or diving, or those too young, an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the most incredible creatures from the deep blue sea. The aquarium features a touch tank that holds rays, sharks and turtles, and you can feed the sharks and the turtles daily. The aquarium also has a Turtle Hospital where dedicated staff members work hard to protect these creatures that are now endangered. If you’re traveling with kids, the aquarium is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Key West is one of those destinations that seem too good to be true. But lucky for you, it’s completely true.
Located in Key West Historic District, this beachfront resort is in the city center and within a 5-minute walk to many attractions, Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, and Mallory Square. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and Southernmost Point are also within 2 mi (3 km). Catch some rays on Pier House Resort & Spa’s private white sand beach or spend the day relaxing at the full-service spa. Then enjoy a meal at one of the resort’s 3 restaurants. All 142 rooms provide conveniences like refrigerators and coffee makers, plus free WiFi and flat-screen TVs with cable channels. Guests will also find patios, minibars, and room service. < More Information about the Pier House >
Your Key West Experience and Feed Back
We would love to hear from you and what you did in Key West. Did you do any of these activities that we have listed here? What places do you recommend to go stay in or eat at? In fact we are so interested in hearing what you have to say that we will entice you to comment, the first 5 comments will receive a $5 Amazon Gift card by email. The only thing we ask that you comment has something to do about Key West and your stay there or the nearby area.
Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to swim alongside a bottlenose dolphin in their natural habitat? Imagine you and your new pal gliding through the warm waters of the lagoon together, swimming in circles around one another. And when you reach out and touch his flipper, you’d have a moment of disbelief. Could this actually be happening or are you dreaming?
For some it may only ever be a dream, but for those who visit Theater of the Sea in the Florida Keys, that dream can become a reality. Read about my quick getaway, Swim with Dolphins in Islamorada Keys and what travel ideas I have to share for you.
Swimming with Dolphins in the Keys
In our estimation, swimming with dolphins in the Keys should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is something absolutely magical about an up-close-and-personal encounter with such an intelligent creature. It’s no wonder dolphins have mesmerized human beings with their playful and friendly antics over the years.
The great thing about Theater of the Sea is that it offers various programs to match the needs of the individual, no matter their age or swimming ability. Whether you’re 6 or 96, you’re sure to find a dolphin encounter that’s just right for you.
Some of the dolphin programs offered at Theater of the Sea are:
Meet the Dolphins
This is the perfect interaction for very young visitors or for those who aren’t comfortable in the water. From a floating dock you will have the opportunity to touch and interact with the dolphins while a trainer guides the dolphins through a series of tricks. You’ll be able to get a kiss from your new friend and watch as they retrieve their toys located all around the lagoon.
Dolphin Encounter Program
This program is appropriate for kids as young as 3 and up to age 7 with a parent or guardian participation. Because this program only includes wading in shallow water, this is also great for any senior citizens who are not comfortable with a full swim encounter.
You’ll get some memorable one-on-one time with your new pals. You may get a chance to hug and kiss a dolphin, rub their belly, and of course take many selfies of you and your new BFF together for your Facebook page.
Swim with Dolphins Program
This is the one you’ve been waiting for – the program that makes your dream come entirely true. The ‘swim with dolphins’ program provides you with a rare opportunity to experience a magical animal in its own habitat.
You must be a good swimmer for this program, as sections of the lagoon are 20 feet deep. You should also be comfortable swimming with a snorkel so you can dive underwater side-by-side with the dolphins – a thrill you will never forget.
Not only will you get to swim with dolphins, but you’ll also get to participate in getting them to do some tricks, and also experience a dorsal tow and foot push. You’ll feel like you’re flying through the water!
Whichever program you choose, you and your loved ones are sure to make memories that last a lifetime.
Theater of the Sea
Theater of the Sea is special for many different reasons. Because of its proximity to Miami and Key West (it’s a1 and ½ hour drive from Miami and a 2-hour drive from Key West), it makes the perfect day trip for visitors to those famous destinations.
Something else that sets this wild life park apart is its attention to detail. The landscaping is lush and beautiful, and the minute you step foot inside the park, you feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise. And maybe you have!
Also, Theater of the Sea is smaller than other sea life parks, and because of this, it has a more intimate and personal feel to it. The quaint size also lets you see everything you want to see in a single day, and your little ones don’t get tired having to walk as far to all of the different shows and attractions.
Finally, and perhaps the most special thing about Theater of the Sea, is that the sea life enclosures are organic and part of the landscape. You won’t find typical glass enclosures between you and the animals. You might find yourself strolling along when you suddenly spot the turtle lagoon just feet from you, surrounded by lush vegetation.
Getting Around the Keys
The Florida Keys are a beautiful chain of islands that extend out like a tendril, forming one, narrow band. Visitors have a few different options as far as getting from one island to the next.
If you’ve driven to Florida or rented a car from Miami or Ft Lauderdale airports, your easiest bet is to drive on Highway 1. Having said this, the bridges between islands also have pedestrian and bike routes, so if one were in shape, one could also hoof or peddle it around the Keys.
To make it very easy for visitors, there are some shuttle services that operate between the mainland and the Florida Keys, such as Greyhound and the Key West Shuttle. These also serve as a sort of bus service between the islands. Dolphin World does provide a van service from Key West or Marathon to Islamorada, for those who are traveling to the lower keys and need some transportation help.
And finally, consider chartering or renting a boat and spend the day island hopping. The Keys offers you a variety of boating facilities, from modest boat slips to full service marinas. If this interests you, be advised that reservations are recommended and sometimes required.
There are a lot of terrific places to stay in the Keys, but our personal favorite is Pelican Resort Cove. Recently renovated, the resort is located on Islamorada, and just a stone’s throw away from Theater of the Sea. This beautiful ocean-front resort offers visitors salt-water breezes, pristine beaches and a friendly island vibe.
After a full day of sightseeing, you and your crew will most likely be very hungry and will no doubt want to chow down on a delicious seafood dinner. You are, after all, in the Florida Keys. We recommend heading to The Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant not far from the resort. Feel like fish tacos? They’ve got them. Maybe you’re in the mood for raw oysters? Yep, they’ve got those, too. Chances are, if it once swam in the ocean, they can serve it to you anyway you like it.
You could do just about anything on the island of Islamorada in the Florida Keys and it would be pretty special and memorable. But swimming with dolphins… that’s nothing short of a dream come true.
We would enjoy to hear any of our reader’s insider secrets, if any of you have traveled to the Key Largo/Islamorada area and want to share some of your travel experiences there. For example, Where did you stay and how did you like it? Did you find any interesting restaurants or attractions that you enjoyed and want to write about? How did the locals treat you? Please share your experiences below in the comment section. Our community of avid travelers and dolphin lovers would like to hear what you did and your travel advice.
There really is no word but exhilarating to accurately describe what you experience when you are participating in a dolphin swim on Nassau Bahamas. These dolphins can accommodate to almost any circumstance and the dolphins are always energetic and excited to see you!
You will arrive at the all-natural lagoon where the dolphins are already swimming in circles in excitement and anticipation of your arrival. They poke their heads out of the water as you approach the docks and follow you along the edge. It doesn’t matter to the dolphins how old or young you are, or if you’re standing or sitting. Wheelchair accommodations are available for those needing it, with a ramp for Blue Lagoon’s own water proof wheelchairs! The dolphins don’t care, all they want is to swim and play with you.
There is a small orientation so you can learn a little more about these wonderful creatures. The trainer will share a little bit about the natural history of the dolphins, ocean conservation, and will share with you the animal training techniques used with them. This is so you can better appreciate the beauty and majesty of the dolphins both in the lagoon and in their natural habitats as well as be assured that they are treated with the utmost humanity and dignity. The dolphins at this point will impatiently be squeaking, swimming and splashing you confirming what the trainers said; an animal cannot be this happy and be mistreated.
After the small orientation – and proper accommodations are made, should there be any, as well as life jackets distributed to the participants provided all by the Blue Lagoon staff – it is time to join in the fun with the dolphins. You enter the water and suddenly you are no longer at Blue Lagoon but are a part of their world and the blue ocean water. The transition – both mentally and physically – is completed when they come up to you and nudge you impatiently, as if asking why you haven’t you started playing with them yet and why you are not loving them.
The dolphins will splash water on you as they swim around you, welcoming you and showering you with their love. They will play with you as they lead you in an exercise all their own. Their joy will be evident as the conclusion draws near and they squeak and splash around with excitement at having you follow them in play.
They will splash more water on you and dance with you, their flippers splashing water on you and squeaking with laughter. You will get to hug the dolphin as well as take pictures. Of course, the dolphin will be the center of attention since he is the center of attention. The photographer and videographer will capture every precious moment you spend with the beautiful creature of the sea and when picture time comes, will arrange you so as to optimize the view of the lagoon as well as the dolphin, whom will, as mentioned before, be front and center!
See You Again!
To conclude this amazing experience, the dolphins will propel you across the water at maximum speed, so that you can get a small taste of the beauty and freedom it is to be a dolphin as well as show you their joy at your presence. The dolphins will then make their way towards you one last time and hug you and kiss you goodbye, squeaking at the fun they had with you and anticipating your next visit.
The purpose of Blue Lagoon trainers and the dolphins themselves, is to maximize your interaction with these beautiful sea mammals. They want to make sure you are able to connect and bond with the dolphins as much as possible and for this time to be unforgettable.