skip to Main Content

Best Places to Go Swimming with Dolphins in Orlando Florida

Best Places To Go Swimming With Dolphins In Orlando Florida

Imagine gliding through crystal-clear waters alongside a playful bottlenose dolphin, sharing a moment that will be etched in your memory forever.

If this sounds like a dream come true, then get ready for an unforgettable adventure swimming with dolphins in Orlando, Florida!

In this ultimate guide, you’ll discover the top dolphin adventure destinations, learn about various dolphin swim experiences, and gather essential tips for planning your visit.

Key Takeaways

  • Dolphin Encounters: Enjoy unique experiences like one-on-one swims and learn about dolphin behaviour at Orlando’s top destinations.
  • Educational Programs: Participate in conservation programs and behind-the-scenes tours to deepen your understanding of marine life.
  • Additional Activities: Beyond swimming with dolphins, engage in snorkelling, animal encounters, and relaxing beach activities.

dolphin encounter at discovery cove

Dolphin Adventures in Orlando: Top Picks

Orlando is home to some of the most thrilling dolphin adventure destinations, like Discovery Cove, Dolphin Research Center, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

These locations provide unique experiences, ranging from one-on-one encounters with bottlenose dolphins to educational programs on marine mammal conservation.

Get ready to be mesmerized as you observe dolphins frolic, leap, and swim elegantly in their natural habitats at these globally recognized attractions.

At Discovery Cove, you’ll find yourself immersed in a tropical paradise where you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish, hand-feed exotic birds, and relax on pristine beaches.

The Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about marine mammal conservation and even participate in the Ultimate Trainer for a Day program.

Meanwhile, Clearwater Marine Aquarium focuses on marine life rescue, offering educational programs and a chance to observe dolphins in a more natural setting.

dolphin lagoon at discovery cove

Discovery Cove

At Dolphin Cove in Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive day resort, offers a fully immersive experience where you can:

  • Engage with bottlenose dolphins in an extraordinary one-on-one encounter
  • Learn about their behaviors and communication abilities from knowledgeable animal care specialists
  • Play with a dolphin for 30 minutes, including hugs, kisses, rubdowns, and a one-on-one swim together through the lagoon

It’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.

Besides the exhilarating dolphin interactions, Discovery Cove offers a host of other amazing attractions. Take a journey to the Freshwater Oasis and be prepared for some amazing wading experiences.

You could also come face-to-face with friendly otters and marmosets, both of which love to explore! Dive into the Grand Reef, where you can snorkel alongside thousands of tropical fish and rays in a stunning coral reef habitat.

Experience Discovery Cove like never before! With access to unlimited attractions, all your meals, drinks and gear taken care of, it is sure to be an amazing day.

dolphin encounter

Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit research and education facility in the Florida Keys, provides an exclusive opportunity to swim and engage with dolphins in one of the largest interactive dolphin pools, while advocating for harmony, collaboration, and mutual understanding between marine mammals, humans, and the environment.

Participate in the Ultimate Trainer for a Day program, where you’ll learn about marine mammal conservation and observe behavior sessions and education presentations.

This exceptional destination is open daily from 9am to 3pm, with last admissions at 2:30pm. It’s the perfect place to experience the wonders of marine life and contribute to the important mission of promoting marine mammal conservation.

dolphin lagoon at discovery cove

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida’s Marine Life Rescue Center, is dedicated to the mission of “rescue, rehab, RELEASE!” This unique facility offers:

  • Marine life rescue
  • Thrilling educational programs such as Pre-K Pod Pals and High School Career Exploration
  • Opportunities to learn about marine mammal conservation while observing dolphins in a more natural environment.

The aquarium’s new exhibit, ArtSEA Conservation, showcases the importance of conservation efforts and provides an interactive experience for all ages.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the perfect destination for those wanting to combine an educational experience with the thrill of observing dolphins and other marine life up close.

dolphin lagoon at discovery cove

Dolphin Swim Experiences: What to Expect

Embarking on a signature dolphin swim experience is a unique adventure.

Different types of dolphin swim experiences are available, including shallow water interactions, deep water adventures, and behind-the-scenes tours. Each experience provides a unique way to bond with these intelligent, playful creatures in a safe and fun environment.

Shallow water interactions typically take place in areas where you can stand or be in waist-deep water. These interactions may include petting, feeding, and playing with the dolphins.

In contrast, deep water adventures involve swimming and interacting with dolphins in deeper water, offering exciting activities like swimming alongside dolphins, getting a kiss or hug from them, and even dancing with them.

For those curious about the inner workings of dolphin care and conservation, behind-the-scenes tours provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of these magnificent animals.

Regardless of the type of dolphin swim experience you choose, adhering to safety guidelines and age restrictions is vital to guarantee a fun and unforgettable experience for all participants.

From wearing appropriate swimwear to following the instructions of animal care specialists, your safety and enjoyment are of utmost importance.

dolphin lagoon at discovery cove

Shallow Water Interactions

Shallow water interactions with dolphins offer a safe and enjoyable way to connect with these awe-inspiring animals. Participants often have the opportunity to:

  • pet
  • play
  • hug
  • kiss

the dolphins in waist-deep water. These interactions allow you to meet the dolphins up close and personal while learning about their behavior, communication, and conservation efforts.

To ensure the safety of both the dolphins and participants, it’s important to observe them from a safe distance and avoid feeding or harassing wild dolphins.

For children under 10 years old, it’s common for a participating parent or guardian to accompany them during the interaction. Following these guidelines will help create a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

dolphin encounter at Discovery Cove

Deep Water Adventures

Deep water adventures with dolphins offer an exhilarating experience unlike any other.

These interactions involve swimming and interacting with dolphins in deeper water, allowing for thrilling activities like swimming alongside dolphins, getting a kiss or hug from them, and even dancing with them.

At Discovery Cove, you can even participate in a free Swim with the Sharks activity, swimming with over 20 sharks for a truly unforgettable experience!

Participants ages 3 years and up and at least 4 feet 6 inches tall can partake in deep water adventures at Dolphin Research Center.

No specific health requirements are mentioned, but you can expect to be provided with a life vest to ensure your safety in the water. As long as you can stand and follow the guidelines, you’re in for an adventure of a lifetime!

dolphin encounter at Dolphin Cove

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

A behind-the-scenes tour at a dolphin adventure destination offers you an exciting opportunity to:

  • Gain insight into dolphin care, training techniques, and conservation efforts
  • Meet a variety of birds and small mammals
  • Explore the behind-the-scenes areas of the facility
  • Learn about dolphin behavior and conservation efforts led by passionate and knowledgeable specialists

By participating in these tours, visitors gain a deeper understanding of dolphins and the importance of their conservation, ultimately contributing to their care and training. Behind-the-scenes tours promote awareness and appreciation for marine life and encourage participants to become passionate advocates for dolphin conservation.

Discovery Cove

Additional Activities at Dolphin Destinations

Dolphin destinations in Orlando, such as the popular dolphin lagoon, provide more than just memorable dolphin encounters. They also offer activities such as snorkeling, animal encounters, and relaxing river rides, ensuring a broad and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re eager to dive beneath the surface and explore the underwater world or unwind on a leisurely river ride, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation at these incredible destinations.

Snorkeling with tropical fish and rays offers an up-close look at the vibrant marine life that calls these destinations home. Animal encounters and feeding opportunities provide a chance to connect with a variety of marine species, including seals and tropical fish.

For those seeking a more relaxing experience, tropical river rides and pristine beaches provide the perfect way to unwind after an action-packed day of dolphin adventures.

Discovery Cove

Snorkeling and Underwater Exploration

Snorkeling and underwater exploration at dolphin destinations offer a unique opportunity to observe a diverse array of marine life in their natural habitats.

From colorful tropical fish to fascinating coral reefs, snorkeling allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant underwater world that surrounds these amazing destinations.

The best time to snorkel in Orlando is from November to May, avoiding the hurricane season from June to November for safety reasons. While snorkeling, you’ll be provided with all the necessary gear, including masks, snorkels, and flotation devices.

With a variety of marine life just beneath the surface, snorkeling at dolphin destinations in Orlando is an experience you won’t want to miss!

Discovery Cove hand feed exotic birds

Animal Encounters and Feeding Opportunities

At dolphin destinations in Orlando, you can interact with other exciting marine species such as fish and leopard sharks, including:

  • reef sharks
  • rays
  • moray eels
  • Asian small-clawed otters
  • tropical fish

Feeding opportunities are also available at some locations, such as SeaWorld, where you can purchase small group interaction programs for feeding dolphins.

Safety measures are in place to ensure responsible and enjoyable animal encounters and feeding opportunities.

These measures may include observing animals from a safe distance, avoiding feeding wildlife without supervision, and following the guidelines provided by the specific attraction.

By adhering to these safety measures, you’ll create a memorable experience for both you and the animals you encounter.

winds past sandy beaches

Relaxing River Rides and Pristine Beaches

After an exhilarating day of dolphin adventures, there’s nothing better than unwinding with a relaxing wind away river ride or lounging on a pristine beach.

Dolphin destinations in Orlando offer tranquil lazy rivers where you can drift away and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, as well as stunning beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and even surfing.

The sandy beaches near dolphin destinations in Orlando offer incredible amenities such as:

  • Sunbathing
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Fishing
  • Boat tours to see dolphins in their natural habitat

These idyllic locations, nestled in the dense rain forest, provide the perfect way to relax and recharge after an action-packed day of dolphin encounters and other exciting activities as the path winds past sandy beaches.

bottlenose dolphins discovery cove

Planning Your Visit: Tips and Recommendations

To make the most out of your experience swimming with dolphins in Orlando, careful planning of your visit is necessary. This includes considering:

  • All-inclusive packages
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation
  • Safety guidelines

By taking the time to plan your visit, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable adventure swimming with dolphins in Orlando.

With a range of all-inclusive packages, accommodations, and transportation options available, you can customize your visit to meet your needs and budget.

Whether you prefer the convenience of staying on-site or the flexibility of renting a car and exploring at your own pace, there’s something for everyone in Orlando.

Be sure to follow safety guidelines and age restrictions during your dolphin encounters to ensure a fun and memorable experience for all participants.

discovery cove

All-Inclusive Packages and Add-Ons

All-inclusive packages and add-ons can enhance your dolphin experience by including additional activities, souvenirs, and discounts.

At Discovery Cove, the all-inclusive packages offer everything from equipment to experiences, allowing you to escape to paradise and enjoy a truly immersive and unforgettable adventure.

Packages at Discovery Cove can include everything from meals and drinks to unlimited admission and exclusive deals. Florida residents also receive year-round discounts on Discovery Cove tickets and packages.

By choosing an all-inclusive package, you can ensure a worry-free and memorable dolphin adventure in Orlando.

Accommodations and Transportation

When planning your visit to Orlando’s dolphin destinations, it’s important to consider accommodations and transportation options that best suit your needs and budget.

On-site accommodations are available at Discovery Cove, and there are several transportation options from Orlando International Airport, such as taxi or rideshare services, shuttle services, public transit, and car rental.

Nearby accommodations can also be found in close proximity to the Dolphin Research Center and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

By researching the various lodging options and transportation methods available, you can ensure a comfortable and convenient stay during your dolphin adventure in Orlando.

bottlenose dolphins discovery cove

Safety Guidelines and Age Restrictions

Adhering to safety guidelines and age restrictions is imperative for a fun and unforgettable dolphin experience in Orlando. During your dolphin encounters, it’s essential to:

  • Wear appropriate swimwear
  • Remove any jewelry
  • Follow the instructions of animal care specialists
  • Complimentary buff masks are also required in the water during the Dolphin Encounter experience.

Children ages 6-12 are allowed to participate in dolphin encounters at Discovery Cove, provided they are accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the experience.

At the Dolphin Research Center, children between the ages of 5 and 9 must be accompanied by an adult during dolphin interactions. By adhering to these guidelines and restrictions, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.


Swimming with dolphins in Orlando is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with memories to cherish forever.

With the top dolphin adventure destinations, a variety of dolphin swim experiences to choose from, and additional activities to enjoy, you’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure.

So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey filled with excitement, learning, and unforgettable moments with these magnificent marine mammals.

bottlenose dolphins discovery cove


How much does it cost to swim with the dolphins in Orlando?

Swimming with dolphins in Orlando is an incredible experience for children 6 and older that costs from $133 per person!

What park in Orlando can you swim with dolphins?

Experience an unforgettable adventure swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando – the top rated theme park by USA Today 10Best! Enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get up close and interact with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Is Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim worth it?

Experience a unique and intimate connection with an adorable dolphin and explore the stunning lagoon of Discovery Cove. This unforgettable experience is both educational and amazing, making it totally worth it!

What are the top dolphin adventure destinations in Orlando?

Experience the thrill of swimming with dolphins in Orlando with visits to Discovery Cove, Dolphin Research Center, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium – the top dolphin adventure destinations!

What types of dolphin swim experiences are available?

Experience the wonder of swimming with dolphins with shallow water interactions, deep water adventures, and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours!

Holly Smith

I'm Holly a Mum of 4 with a love for everything Disney & Orlando!

Back To Top