Families want memorable things to do on vacation. Any time that you can spend with each other and away from your common responsibilities is precious. You want to make that time count and do things that you’ll look back on for years to come.
If you want to give your family a vacation they’ll never forget, why not take them swimming with dolphins? You can find these intelligent, playful creatures at several locations around the world. There are few sights as beautiful as a school of wild dolphins leap out of the water.
Best of all, dolphins tend to be very friendly with humans. They’ve helped rescue people from drowning, assisted in therapy for various disabilities and even served in the US Navy. When you go off on a dolphin encounter, you get the ultimate in interactive family experiences.
You can find plenty of good dolphin encounters at aquariums, but encounters at warm-weather locales like Hawaii or Florida are truly special. Here are six of the best places in the world to swim with dolphins.
Dolphin Quest (Hawaii/Bermuda)
Dolphin Quest has locations in Oahu, Hawaii’s Big Island and Bermuda. They’re Humane Certified and offer a wide range of options, including “Wee Family, Fins and Fun” (ages 4 and younger, 15 minutes), “Premier Experience” (all ages, 45 minutes) and “Trainer for a Week” (ages 12 and up, 5 days).
Dolphin Cay (Bahamas)
Located at Atlantis Resort’s 14-acre marine habitat, Dolphin Cay lets children of any age interact with sea lions and dolphins in shallow water. You also have the option of going out on the open sea and mingling with the dolphins (don’t get nervous—you’ll have a water scooter to help you stay safe).
With numerous locations in Mexico, Dolphinaris offers a variety of wonderful opportunities for dolphin-lovers. They offer an informative orientation course on the behavior and physiology and dolphins. You can also hang out with dolphins and go for a ride as part of Dolphnaris’ Dolphin Swim Program.
Discovery Cove (Orlando, FL)
If you’re thinking about checking out the different attractions in Orlando, stop by Discovery Cove. One of their marine experts can teach you about dolphin communication and behavior as part of their “Trainer for a Day” program. You also get to interact with dolphins for half an hour and get a photo session.
Dolphin Research Center (Marathon, FL)
Dolphin Research Center is a renowned non-profit education facility. You get to work with a research team studying dolphin cognition. They also offer fun programs like “Dolphin Dip,” where kids can shake fins with dolphins and learn their signals; and “Paint with a Dolphin,” where a dolphin paints something for you.
Dolphin Explorer (Marco Island, FL)
Not for nothing is Dolphin Explorer called “the finest eco-tour in Southwest Florida.” As part of this cruise, kids can help dolphin researchers working on the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project. For three hours twice a day, you’ll get to check out dolphins and learn about the fascinating research going on in the area.