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Swimming with Dolphins in Oahu Hawaii

Oahu is not a vacation destination so much as it is a lovely attack on your senses. Stepping foot onto the island, one is instantly seduced by the tropical aromas, balmy breezes, verdant rainforest and pineapple fields, turquoise waters, and the kaleidoscopic schools of fish just below the surface. As far as activities, Oahu has a ton of things to do for people who thrive on adventure. You can learn to surf and standup paddleboard, snorkel, scuba dive, windsurf, kayak, and parasail. But perhaps the biggest thrills are had swimming with dolphins in Oahu Hawaii at Sea Life Park.

Overview of the Park Video

Dolphin Swim Programs

Oahu’s dolphin facility offers numerous unforgettable magical moments. Located only 20 to 30 minutes from the Waikiki hotel zone, the park features beautifully-designed lagoons, reefs, and pools. The dolphin programs offered are suitable for both adults and children alike.

Royal Swim

This dynamic program allows park visitors to swim with dolphins and interact with them up close and personal. Receive an affectionate handshake and kiss on the cheek before holding on to their dorsal fin and being pulled around the pool. Talk about exhilarating! But it gets even better. You’ll then be able to experience a foot push from your new friend. You’ll absolutely feel like you’re flying. This program is suitable for strong swimmers 8 years and older.

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Dolphin Adventure

If you’ve always dreamed of snuggling up to a dolphin, this is the program for you. When you meet your new pal, you’ll get to hug and kiss them. Then, you’ll snuggle up close to enjoy a belly ride. Afterward, enjoy simply splashing around with your new BFF during your free time together.

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Dolphin Encounter

This is a non-swim program perfect for very little ones or those who aren’t strong swimmers. In this safe and fun environment, you’ll get to see these amazing creatures show off their agility as they perform tricks and “dance” around the pool.  You’ll also get to hug and kiss your new friend, and learn all about their amazing behavior and personalities.

Beyond interacting with dolphins, the park also offers visitors a unique opportunity to interact with exotic sea life such as sea lions, penguins, rays and sea turtles. In one afternoon at Sea Life Park you can create limitless unforgettable moments.

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There is a Dolphin Program for you in Oahu Hawaii
There is a Dolphin Program for you in Oahu Hawaii

Getting Around the Island

Getting around the island is pretty straightforward and you have a few different options:

Oahu’s public transportation is fairly reliable and will get you to and from Sea Life Park. The downside is you must deal with someone else’s schedule. There are also taxis to get you around the island. This is not the cheapest option, but if your budget allows, it may be a good idea. Of course, you can pick up a rental car at the airport when you arrive on the island. While this option allows you and your family to come and go as you please, it’s often difficult (and potentially unsafe) to drive in an unfamiliar location.

When it comes to getting to and from Sea Life Park, your best bet is to take the free van shuttle. Waikiki guests will be picked up at their hotel and shuttled to the park in a clean and air conditioned van. Drinks and snacks will also be provided. At the end of your thrilling day, you will be picked up at the park and dropped off back at your hotel where you can pinch yourself to ensure the day wasn’t all a dream. < Travel Help >

Free Transportation from Waikiki Hotels
Free Transportation from Waikiki Hotels

Best Time to Go

When it comes to the best time to visit the island, there hardly is a “best time.” Oahu is one of those magical places that offers visitors near-perfect weather all year-round. Temperatures usually average low to mid 80s with sunny skies most of the time. Though there is little rainfall throughout the year, those months with the least amount of rainfall are May through October. When it does rain, the showers are usually light and brief.

Are you a surfer? Oahu’s North Shore is famous for its massive waves in the winter months. If you’re looking to catch perhaps the biggest wave of your life, head to the island between November and March – but ONLY if you are an experienced surfer.

As far as accommodations and getting the best deals, travelers should stick with the off-peak months of April and May and August through November, when demand for rooms is lower. Unless you enjoy crowds and overpaying for accommodations, food and souvenirs, avoid visiting Oahu during all holidays, particularly Christmas.

Famous Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii
Famous Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii

With all of this in mind, the absolute best time to visit the island is May through September, unless, again, you’re an avid and experienced surfer looking to catch “the big one.”

No matter what time you go, the dolphins will be waiting to meet you and swim with you.


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The Ultimate Package: the Dolphin and Sea Lion Experience in Oahu!

Animal Excitement in Oahu

Swimming with dolphins and sea lions is just fun with a splash of excitement and a lot of laughter mixed in; from the second you step onto the platform and see the splashing dolphins to the sea lions barking their hellos. Two of the most graceful creatures will be swimming and playing with you. It truly is a most memorable experience in Oahu Hawaii!

Animal Excitement in Oahu
Animal Excitement in Oahu

The Hawaiian Islands! Save Big on Hotels in Hawaii with Expedia!

Almost time to play!

After the walk to the platform and the anticipation building up inside you, there is the sound of water splashing and high pitch squeaks. The dolphins are already jumping and splashing in anticipation of your arrival. An excitement builds up inside of you as you approach. There is a moment of orientation with the trainer to better understand these creatures and how to have the most fun with them. All the while there is a twitch in your stance and shuffle in your feet as the dolphin pokes his head out from the water by your foot on the platform. The dolphin will start to nod and playfully splash, as if asking you “why are you not in the water yet?” “Aren’t I much more interesting than that scrawny human talking to you”. It is a bit comical to think a dolphin would speak this way to us, but there body language and high pitch squeaks basically translate to roughly that conversation; especially when they see new and interesting people they have not played with before.

Dolphin Swim Oahu
Dolphin Swim Oahu

Playtime! Finally! *squeak!*

The orientation will be over and the trainers will ask you to step into the water. Although this is a group swim with the dolphins, and there might be the fear that it might not be as personal between you and the dolphin, there really is nothing to fear. Because the group is bigger and the dolphins are more numerous, there is an independence the dolphins take for themselves and you can interact with the dolphin more freely versus a trainer staring right at you the entire time. The group vibe builds the excitement and chatter, feeding the dolphin with positive energy and feeling more and more energetic as he jumps and dances with you.

Book Your Dolphins or Sea Lions Oahu Hawaii Programs >>

The trainer will teach you some hand gestures to better communicate with the dolphin and the dolphin will swim and dance as you guide him. The dolphins then recollect in the center and perform tricks for you. They show off their amazing balance by swimming on their hind fins and acrobatic synchronization as they swim in unison and flip through the air. As the tricks come to an end they will go back to you and dance, splashing you with water as they squeak with joy. They will roll over on their bellies and have you give them a belly rub and show off their super speed as they dart to and fro before you. The swim will conclude with a kiss from the playful dolphin on your cheek.

Sea Lions waiting in Oahu
Sea Lions waiting in Oahu

Our turn now! *BARK!* *BARK!*

As they make their way out for a rest you float there wondering what’s next. But you don’t have much time to ponder, it as their barks start closing in on you. The sea lions shoot through into the open water and circle around the platform, as if to say, ok the junior party is over, let the real entertainers do the work. In addition to letting you pet them and feel there shinny cool to the touch coats, they perform many tricks, jumping in the air over your head and allowing you to play ball with them. They bark and splash, with joy at having playmates. They sneak around in the clear, beautiful water and pop their heads out, lunging towards you in a hug, their whiskers tickling your neck and shoulders. Then one of them will swim very gracefully in front of you and just float there. You might try to move away but they will be having none of that. They want you to hold them, and they hold their flipper up and snuggle up against you.The swim will conclude with their giant faces up against yours and their flipper around your shoulders, in a warm, loving kiss and hug. The time will come that you have to leave and they will bark and splash, letting you know they expect you back, there new found friends.

Sea Lion Kiss in Oahu
Sea Lion Kiss in Oahu
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Enjoy a Wild Spinner Dolphins Tour in Oahu, Hawaii

Wild Spinner Dolphins Oahu

Welcome to the Leeward Coast of Oahu, arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the world. Just 30 miles from the popular destination of Waikiki and located at the foot of the spectacular Waianae mountain range, the coast is home to pristine white sand beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and colorful rural towns where the people welcome you with smiles and alohas. The coast is also home to the wild spinner dolphins of Oahu.

A Video Tour of Spinner Dolphins off the Leeward Coast in Oahu, Hawaii

Take a Tour and See Wild Spinner Dolphins in Oahu

How would you like to take a beautiful morning Catamaran cruise along the Leeward Coast to do a bit of snorkeling and dolphin watching? Once you set sail you’ll cruise along the gorgeous shoreline bobbing up and down on the warm, turquoise waters below you. Spend five hours splitting your time between relaxing sightseeing and thrilling water activities. And, when hunger calls, breakfast and lunch will be served.

Besides the amazing Spinner Dolphins, which you are guaranteed to see on this cruise, you may also spot turtles, humpback whales and other marine life. Slip on your snorkel mask and take a dive into the crystal clear water to view vibrant coral and tropical schools of fish swim past you. Never snorkeled before? No problem. There are professional guides available that will help you learn quickly and all equipment is provided.

Wild Spinner Dolphins Oahu
Wild Spinner Dolphins Oahu

 What Makes Wild Spinner Dolphins so Unique?

Sure, Oahu is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches, delicious food, fascinating culture and thrilling outdoor scenery and activities on the planet, but those are not its only claims to fame. Oahu also happens to be home to spinner dolphins, the state’s most beloved ocean species and for good reason.

The locals call these dolphins nai’a, and every year they flock to the shores of Oahu to enjoy the warm, clear, tropical water and shallow bays. There are actually four different species of the spinner dolphin in existence, and they all live in the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans. The Hawaiian spinner dolphins are quite unique and make up their own subspecies. They are easy to spot because of their unique coloring of dark grey on their backs, a stripe of lighter grey on their sides and a white or pink belly. They also have a long, thin beak and triangular dorsal fin which can often be mistaken for a shark fin.

But let’s talk about why Spinner dolphins are really unique. Well, as the name suggests, Spinner dolphins like to spin. No, they LOVE to spin and they do it a lot. They are known for jumping high into the air and spinning anywhere from one to seven times before they hit the water. And the gold medal goes to….

So why do they spin? Scientists can’t yet say for sure exactly, but some speculate they do it for a few reasons, namely to get attention (and that they DO), courtship displays, getting rid of water in their upper respiratory tract, resetting their organs, ridding themselves of parasites, and/or because it’s really, really fun. Whatever the reason, getting to see these creatures spin is a sight you’ll never forget.

Enjoy Trained Dolphins at Sea Life Park in Oahu

If, after the cruise is over, you haven quite gotten your fill of these playful gymnasts, you can head on over to Sea Life Park to get a trained Oahu swim with the dolphin program and check out the Dolphin Cove Show. Sit back and relax in the park’s open-air theater and watch as the trained dolphins jump, spin and flip. Their moves will take your breath away. The show is educational, amusing and definitely thrilling.

Vacations only come once a year. This year, wouldn’t you rather spend it in beautiful Oahu, Hawaii having the time of your life?