The Dolphin Connection attraction is a dolphin experience with a difference.
Based at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, you will find yourself in the place to learn about the Bottlenose Dolphin.
Their most popular programme entitled “Dolphin Discovery” provides a 25 minute interactive encounter with one of the Florida Keys most famous residents, the bottlenose dolphin.
The first thing that is different about the Dolphin Connection, is unlike other dolphin themed attractions, you will not always be able to swim with the dolphins.
But you will certainly instead get up close and personal.
You’ll be able to touch, feed, pet and play with them from the security of a submerged platform.
This is of course great for people with physical disabilities or just unable to swim.
You start off with a short classroom session, where your teachers will explain the differences between a dolphin’s etiquette and that of your own.
The Dolphin Connection staff also spend time with you on the submerged platform to familiarise you with the dolphin’s anatomy, as well as explaining about how the dolphin survives out in the Florida Keys waters.
Although the programme is tailored for all, height restrictions do apply.
All participants in the programme must be 4 foot 6 inches or taller.
And please note, that the programmes are held several times daily, but they are limited to a maximum of six people per session, to ensure that everyone gets the full attention of the trainer and dolphin.
You will actually have three people to one trainer and one dolphin, which proves how intimate they try to make it.
Although short style wetsuits are provided free of charge to guests entering the water, some people may prefer to learn about the dolphins away from the water and stay dry.
Then the Dockside Dolphins programme is perfect.
Particularly popular with pregnant women who for obvious reasons are not allowed to enter the water, the Dockside Dolphins programme lasts 30 minutes and gives a fascinating behind the scenes look at how dolphins are trained.
You will be shown how trainers get the dolphins to do what they want, and then from the waterside take part in an actual dolphin training session.
Like all the programmes you will be able to get incredibly close to the dolphins but you will not be allowed to get into the water.
Adults and children love this experience (children aged five and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult). Dockside dolphins is offered daily.
The last of the main programmes is the Dolphin Detectives programme, where children will take part in a 30 minute trainer’s course.
They will learn the hand signals that the trainers use to communicate with the dolphins, and are taught how to feed the dolphins.
Feeding is not just throwing a fish into the water, but actually weighing, touching and preparing the fish, much to the dolphins delight.
Once again this programme occurs daily.
Advance reservations are accepted up to three months in advance, and are required for all programmes.