Deciding we should start our vacation off with a splash, we made reservations to swim with the dolphins in Key Largo (about 40 minutes from Miami Airport). What an amazing experience – completely unforgettable! I promise that your family will love you forever if you take them to this unique encounter at Dolphins Plus – Dolphin and Marine Mammal Education Facility.
We chose to partake in the “Structured Dolphin Swim” where we got to interact and play with the dolphins. The morning of our swim we were pleasantly surprised to find that we were the only ones registered for the structured swim, which is an extremely rare opportunity. Dolphins Plus is very popular, and reservations are always required if you wish to partake in their swim programs. We gladly embraced this opportunity and were pleased to spend some extra time with the trainers asking questions and learning even more about these amazing mammals. We were told that we wouldn’t be playing with the dolphins that day, but rather, that they’d be playing with us!
The trainer explained that humans are considered the dolphins “toys” and that if they did not complete their behaviours correctly, that we would removed from the water for a few moments – a bit of a Dolphin “time-out” if you will. It was obvious to us that these people love their jobs, and have done some serious bonding with their aquatic counterparts.
When we asked our “tour-guide”/trainer why she thinks Dolphins Plus is the best place to work, she beamed with enthusiasm and explained how much she enjoys working for this family run organization. She described how the government regulates all such programs and that their facility has an excellent reputation. Additionally, she told us that while there are many dolphin swims available in South Florida, that Dolphins Plus offers you the unique opportunity to swim and interact with dolphins – up close and personal in enclosures that are natural, non-chlorinated, deep pens that are teaming with life. You actually get to swim with them in their environment; it’s not just a quick splash in a concrete wading pool.
Dolphins Plus also offers a “Natural Dolphin Swim” alternative where you spend time in the enclosure snorkelling and interacting with the dolphins. As for the “Plus” in Dolphins Plus, the centre also houses two California Sea Lions that you could choose to swim with in a separate session. Or, if you prefer not to get wet, the public can enter Dolphins Plus as an observer for a nominal fee.
If you schedule a swim at Dolphins Plus, we would highly recommend purchasing a photo DVD and/or video of your adventure. Even though my wife and I are professional photographers and managed to get a few good shots on our own, but we missed a lot too. The Dolphins Plus photographer captured some priceless memories that we never could.
After an amazing morning swimming with the dolphins we enjoyed the opportunity to sit quietly by the pens watching and snapping a few more shots. We practically had to drag ourselves away … we just didn’t want to leave … we’ll cherish this special encounter forever.
For more tourist information check out www.fla-keys.com
© 2013 ~ Iain & Gail Shankland / TravelBloggers.email@example.com
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