If you’re traveling with kids, Orlando, Florida is considered one of the best vacation destinations. Not only is it home to magical, world-class theme parks and family-friendly hotels like the Walt Disney World Resorts, but it’s also the perfect place for hands-on experiences with some of Florida’s most treasured marine mammals. If your little adventurers are hoping to see dolphins, Orlando, Florida is the destination for you. (To build a well-rounded Orlando itinerary, you may want to also check out this post about what to do in Orlando for free.)
There are many options when it comes to getting up close and personal with dolphins in Orlando, Florida. If you love experiencing new destinations and spending time outdoors with your family, then these activities are certainly a must when planning your next trip.
Discovery Cove is a unique, all-inclusive experience for families traveling to the Orlando area. Basic park admission includes:
- Marine-life exposure through snorkeling in the Grand Reef
- Unlimited food and beverages
- Swim vests, wetsuits, and snorkel equipment
- Animal-safe sunscreen
- All-day parking
However, you won’t want to visit Discovery Cove without upgrading your tickets to include the Signature Dolphin Swim. Swimming with bottlenose dolphins in Dolphin Lagoon is one of the most sought-out activities for families in Orlando. This attraction allows guests to learn about these incredibly intelligent mammals through intimate, one-on-one interactions. Plus, swimming has the added bonus of helping children develop their Gross Motor Skills. Children must be six years of age and older to participate in the dolphin swim. Parents of children with special needs will feel especially comfortable during their visit, as Discovery Cove is a Certified Autism Center, accredited by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The park’s Discovery Cove Ambassadors are trained to be attentive to guests of all ages and especially children with special needs. Discovery Cove is part of SeaWorld Parks Entertainment Inc.
At world-famous SeaWorld, there are many animal interactions, particularly with dolphins, your family can enjoy. In addition to being educational and amusing, SeaWorld funds wildlife rescue and ocean-health rehabilitation efforts with admission revenue. If you’re booking a visit to SeaWorld, here’s a special tip! Grab a park map as soon as you check-in (or even better – download it ahead of time), so you can plan out your day strategically to hit all the exhibits you want to experience.
With your ticket, you can view a number of dolphin-centric exhibits, including:
- Dolphin Nursery – observe the natural process of mothers engaging with their babies
- Dolphin Cove – watch the interactive pool for playful dolphins from underwater
- Dolphin Days – see an informative and entertaining show of celebrations
- *Children under three are given complimentary admission to the park.
If you’re looking to elevate your dolphin experiences, considering adding on one (or more) of these experiences:
- Dolphin Encounter Program – participate in training, feeding, and touching dolphins
- Dolphins Close-Up Tour – learn about the jobs of dolphin care specialists in a hands-on experience
Families of children with special needs will feel confident knowing that SeaWorld is also a Certified Autism Center. Additionally, they created an inclusive Ride Accessibility Program to address access concerns for those with disabilities.
Ponce Inlet Watersports Manatee & Dolphin Tour
- Address: 4958 S. Peninsula Drive, Suite 1, Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
- Phone: (386) 405-3445
- Website: Ponce Inlet Watersports
Take a day trip from Orlando to a nearby location that features beautiful oceanfront scenery. The Dolphin & Manatee Tours at Ponce Inlet Watersports will be a major highlight of the trip for your family. Parents and kids alike will love this excursion in Daytona Beach. Kids will love the thrill of jumping on a boat ride adventure down the Intracoastal Waterway to spot majestic dolphins, manatees, sting rays, shore birds, and sea turtles. Parents will love not only their kids’ excitement but also the fact that it’s the most affordable dolphin encounter on this list. (Plus, it’s free for children under 3!) While aboard, keep your eyes peeled for your favorite sea creatures. You just might get to watch a dolphin swim right by the boat! Space is limited to a small number of people each tour, so be sure to book your seats ahead of time.
Are you hoping to make a splash on your next family vacation? Book your trip to Orlando, Florida today, and get ready to make long-lasting memories. While you’re waiting in anticipation for your next adventure, you may want to keep the family entertained with these Fun Activities for Kids. Let us know which ones you try (or new ones that should be added to our list) by sharing your photos on our Facebook page!