Considered the "World's First Oceanarium," Marineland opened in 1938 as "Marine Studios." Now a dolphin conservation center, Marineland Dolphin Adventure offers several ways to interact with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and educational exhibits designed to inspire and connect guests with marine life.
Marineland is located just south of St. Augustine on scenic A1A. General admission, which includes access to the Sea to Shore Aquarium and viewing animals and presentations that occur throughout the day, is $23.99 for adults, $22.99 for seniors (ages 55+), and $16.99 for children (ages 5 to 12).
Visitors can view dolphin training demonstrations,daily shark and sea turtle talks, and receive access to the Sea to Shore Aquarium to view a variety of other fish and aquatic species.
Marineland dolphins and trainers conduct an exciting educational program daily at 11:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Marineland gives guests an overview of pioneering work in aquatic animal research and the advancement of life support systems for aquatic environments, with exhibits including live animals of the Southeast region of the United States. Guests may finish their visits watching sand tiger sharks and sea turtles swim in their habitats in Neptune Park.
The Royal Swim at Marineland is a 30-minute adventure giving guests a chance to swim with dolphins and interact with their behaviors — including having themselves raised above the water's surface with a foot push. Some of the other tricks and behaviors include the Dorsal Tow, Hand target, Handshakes, Hugs, Caresses, and others. General admission is included with the Royal Swim, which is offered daily at 9:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.The price is $199.99 for adults 54" and up in height and $169.99 for children between 48" and 54" in height. An adult must accompany the children.
Visitors can touch and interact with dolphins in both shallow and deep water during this 30-minute encounter. Height restrictions apply. Participants must be at least 48″ tall to participate in the Swim Adventure. Children between 48″- 54″ must be accompanied by a paying participant over the age of 18.
Young children ages 3 to 4 may accompany adults as non-paying participants in the Swim Adventure. As long as they fit in a life jacket supplied by Marineland Dolphin Adventure and are held throughout the program, they will not require a Swim Adventure ticket. Interactions may be limited for the young child.
General admission is included with the Swim Adventure, which is offered daily at 9:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. The price is $169.99 for adults 54" and up in height and $139.99 for children between 48" and 54" in height. An adult must accompany the children.
Vacationers can touch and interact with bottlenose dolphins in Marineland's 30-minute shallow water experience. Height restrictions apply. Participants under 48″ must be accompanied by a paying participant over the age of 18.
Young children ages 3 to 4 may accompany adults as non-paying participants in the Dolphin Encounter as long as they fit in a life jacket supplied by Marineland Dolphin Adventure and are held throughout the program.
General admission is included with the Dolphin Encounter, which is offered daily at 9:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 1:30 a.m. The price is $139.99 for adults 48" and up in height, and $109.99 for children 5+ and under 48" in height. An adult must accompany the children.
Trainer for a Day
This program teaches visitors what it's like to be a dolphin trainer. Teens and adults meet Marineland's trainers and learn all about training dolphins. It is a four-hour opportunity, which includes participating in Swim Adventure, Dolphin Encounter, and Dolphin Design programs along with other activities, including preparing meals and feeding the animals. It is suitable for visitors ages 13 and up. The price is $349.99 per participant, which includes general admission. The Trainer for a Day program is offered at 9:00 a.m.
Each participant in the Dolphin Design program creates a work of art with a dolphin artist. This activity allows interaction with Marineland's dolphins, resulting in a unique and unforgettable piece of art. The Dolphin Design program is suitable for visitors ages 5 and up. The price is $99.99 per person, which includes general admission. The Dolphin Design program is offered daily at 9:00 a.m.
Meet and Greet
This 15-minute meet and greet gives visitors at Marineland the opportunity to feed and interact with bottlenose dolphins poolside. Visitors can play ball with their new dolphin friends as part of this experience. Meet and Greet is suitable for visitors of all ages, however, children under 5 will need to be held by an adult. The price is $69.99 per person ages 18 years or older, which includes general admission. Meet and Greet is offered daily at 10:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
Tortoise Time is a 25-minute marine life encounter designed for guests ages 5 and older so that they can connect with Marineland's red-footed tortoises and participate in creating a tortoise painting, which they can take home with them. Tortoise Time is offered at 2:15 p.m. for $69.00 per participant.
Aquarist for a Day
This immersive experience (approximately three hours) is a unique opportunity to see what it's like to be an Aquarist. During this program, guests will assist with feedings, cleaning aquariums, and learning about the active marine life at Marineland. Guests can expect to see eels, rays, and octopuses, along with a variety of different fish. The price is $179.99 per person, which includes general admission. Aquarist for a Day is offered daily at 9:15 a.m. for visitors ages 10 and up.
The idea for Marineland, the World's First Oceanarium, came from W. Douglas Burden, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Sherman Pratt, and Ilya Tolstoy. They imagined a place where sea creatures could live and thrive in a simulated ocean environment. Fred Henderich and Company designed the premises of Marineland and was also responsible for the Orange Street School, the Y.M.C.A. building, Plaza Bandstand, the original Flagler Hospital, Florida Normal College, Excelsior School, and the Visitor's Center. The ocean park was constructed by Arthur Franklin Perry Co. from the Jacksonville area. "Marine Studios" opened on June 23, 1938, with its biggest attraction being the bottlenose dolphin. More than 20,000 visitors attended the opening. Originally, Marineland consisted of a Circular Oceanarium that held 400,000 gallons of water and a Rectangular Oceanarium that held 450,000 gallons of water. But several outside amenities began to spring up around it, including the Marineland Motel, the Dolphin Restaurant, the Moby Dick Lounge, and Marineland Marina.
Marineland consists of 125 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. It was made a sophisticated destination due to its association with Ilya Tolstoy, who was the grandson of Leo Tolstoy, and even famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings graced Moby Dick's Bar with their presence. The site was a filming location for many movies, including Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, Sea Hunt, and Benji Takes a Dive. Benji was the first dog to scuba dive, and he did so at Marineland. Over 900,000 visitors came each year to Marineland through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s to see their spectacular Dolphin show.
Marineland has pioneered studies in marine science, animal training, water chemistry, and more throughout the years. Marineland was also the first to successfully breed and train Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and it was the early scientists there who discovered dolphin echolocation, social behavior, and communication. Marineland served as the model by which other aquariums, oceanariums, and marine parks based their own development and design. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, who was the major stockholder of the private company, opted to sell the marine park in the mid-1980s. In 2004, following a series of hurricanes, Marineland retired most of the original, older structures and exhibits and began construction on a new, updated facility focusing on education and intimate animal-human interactions.
In 2006, Marineland was reborn as a modern 1.3 million gallon facility designed with the behavioral needs of the animal, the viewing capabilities of the scientist, logistical needs of the trainer, and the "edutainment" needs of guests in mind. Three bottlenose dolphins were born at the newly constructed Dolphin Conservation Center in July 2008. Marineland has operated as a subsidiary of the Georgia Aquarium since January 2011. Gone are the days of circus routines and jumping through hoops while loud music and narration set the tone. Now the guests join the animals in their habitats and make the physical and emotional connection that inevitably leads to a true understanding of why there is a need to protect these incredible animals and their marine environment. The Marineland of Florida property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Marineland offers summer camps, school field trips, and animal training seminars, in addition to private events such as birthday parties. Please visit Marineland.net for more information.
Marineland is located on A1A, about 18 miles south of St. Augustine.