7 Reasons For A Family Travel Vacation To Marineland This Year!

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7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss: Dolphins!

Modern families are seeking unique family vacation experiences more than ever – trips and attractions that deliver one-of-a-kind, memorable activities. That’s why Marineland Florida’s Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can’t miss.  The How-to Guru has been a lot of places but this part of AlA’s “Old Florida” is one of the favorites.

Marineland Florida

Marineland Dolphin Adventure, a seventy-seven-year-old icon of Florida was a delightful part of our recent family trip.  Here are 7 Reasons to take a Family Travel Vacation to this hidden gem on the East Coast of Florida.

1.  Fascinating History since 1938

7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss.

Believe it or not, Marineland Florida was originally created as the first underwater film studio, known as Marine Studios, way back in 1938.  Yes, in 1938, it was the brainchild of three very resourceful fellas: a Hollywood Producer, a History Curator, and a Writer (who just happened to be Leo Tolstoy’s Grandson).

They made the first underwater movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, and Sea Hunt

It later became the home of the world’s first trained dolphin, Flippy, and therefore, Florida’s very first theme park.  In later years, this amazing family travel vacation destination has evolved from a theme park to an interactive, conservation and research facility for its marine wildlife.  Instead of fighting crowds, there’s an up-close and personal glimpse into the lives of intriguing animals and trainers.

2.  No Crowds

7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss.

Step back in time a bit as you pull off of scenic Highway A1A and arrive at the facility tucked into the remote palm trees and dunes of the Palm Coast. It is important that you understand that this is a laid-back, educational experience.

We loved that it wasn’t jam-packed with too many people at once.  They do still highly recommended that you book your excursions ahead of time since they prefer small groups.

3. Incredible Staff & Care of the Animals

7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss.

Did you know that just last year, Marineland lost Nellie, the dolphin who lived to be the ripe old age of 61?  Nellie was the World’s oldest living dolphin in captivity when she passed at 61 years old. She was around to meet many famous guests throughout the history of Marineland, which is a testament to the incredible conservation and research of this facility.

We had the privilege of spending time with a staff member named Renae, who did an outstanding job of teaching our small group about the history, science, and care of the different marine animals.  She was very passionate about her job and made the information very enlightening for all of us.

4. Family Friendly Fun

7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss.

A refreshing detail is that Marineland aims to serve the family.  When you step into the entrance doors of the gift shop, you are warmly greeted by the staff to make sure that your family’s desires and needs are met. You are helped immediately and educated on the different options of enjoying the property and all that they have to offer.

5.  Affordable Choices 

Incredibly, Marineland Dolphin Adventure provides programs for every price point and age, ranging from $7.95 to $450.  From general admission to being a trainer for a day, what we loved is that all the programs are interactive and very personal. Talk about once-in-a-lifetime experiences at an affordable price!

6.  Touch and Feed Experience

WONDERFUL Dolphin encounter at Marineland Florida

We personally took part in this program in which you get to know one of the resident bottlenose dolphins.  You meet, greet, and get to feed your new friend as the trainer teaches you all about their lifestyle.  Kids as young as three years old can participate, but any children under the age of eight years old must have an adult participating with them.

For the money, this is worth every second, in my opinion, and it truly fits right into our theme of rewarding, family adventure vacations. This program typically costs $32.95 per person.

7.  Behind the Seas Tour

Awesome behind-the-scenes encounter at Marineland Florida

This program went far and beyond what I thought it would be.  We literally went behind the scenes of history, memorabilia, hanging out with the dolphins, and checking out the other marine life “backstage.”  We didn’t want to leave.  This program costs $22.95 for adults (ages 13 and older), $21.95 for seniors (60+), and $12.95 for kids (ages 3-12).  Very affordable.

How to find Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Marineland is located just below the St. Augustine and above Daytona Beach with the address of 9600 N Ocean Shore Blvd, St. Augustine, Florida.  I believe they are open every day of the year, even Christmas, except with special hours.  Normal business hours are 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily.  Their email addy is  Reservations@marineland.net.

When traveling from the North, travel on down on I-95 South.  Take exit 305 to State Road 206.  Turn left off the exit and follow to Highway A1A.  Turn right onto A1A and go 7 miles and Marineland will be on your left.  When traveling from the South, travel up on I-95 North, take exit 289 into Palm Coast, turn right off the exit onto Palm Coast Parkway and follow and cross over the toll bridge.  Turn left at bottom of the bridge and follow signs to A1A, turning right onto A1A heading north. Follow approximately 8 miles and Marineland will be on your right.  Call ahead to check hours and availability of programs!  (904) 471-1111

Before you go to Marineland 

  • Don’t confuse this with Marineland Canada, Marineland of the Pacific, or Marineland Mallorca off the coast of Spain.  Marineland Florida is a unique facility that is unlike any other.
  • Your family doesn’t have to get wet:  General admission guests are able to view the dolphins through 6 x 10 ft acrylic windows as they swim, play, and interact with guests in the different programs.  Depending on the other programs, Y’all may get splashed or immersed completely.  They will alert you will you schedule by phone.
  • All of your jewelry must be removed if you are participating in an immersion program.  You will not be allowed in the water with the dolphins with ANY type of surgical or permanent jewelry-and they don’t make exceptions.  It’s for the safety of everyone  {animals see sparkly, and it doesn’t turn out well}.
  • There are options for group rates, field trips, special needs, wedding events, speaking engagements, and Eco/Kayak Excursions.
  • There’s a nearby Florida State Park, called Washington Oaks Gardens that you may like {it has a beach, trails, nature, picnicking, but no campground}.
  • Here’s an entire visitor’s guide and area map to check out the entire area of Marineland, Florida.

Watch old Florida vacation

Do you have favorite Marineland memories or ready to start some?


7 Reasons why Marineland Florida's Dolphin Encounter is one that your family can't miss.

Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Rebecca
    July 30, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    This looks like such a fun place! I found you from the Blogging Homeschool Facebook group! 🙂 Rebecca

    • Shan
      August 7, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      Rebecca, it was incredibly fun and I recommend it for all families after doing the research ahead of time to choose what’s best for your family and how you can get the most for your money! So glad you are here!


  2. veronica lee
    July 31, 2015 / 10:11 am

    Sounds like a fun place to visit. Love the pics.
    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

    • Shan
      August 7, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words Veronica. I’m SO tickled you stopped by! It’s a very unique place for sure. Welcome!


  3. Tammy
    September 4, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Love all the ideas and suggestions you provide! Keep it up girl!

    • Shan
      September 22, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      Thanks to my buddy, Tammy! Us Moms need all the help we can get, right?


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  8. janey
    August 14, 2016 / 11:20 am

    How do you know the animals are treated with love? I hear a lot of stories abut marineland and seaworld abusing all their animals.

    • Shan
      August 14, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      Janey, thanks for your question!

      What I learned is that there are several facilities that include ‘Marineland’ in the world but the one in Florida is completely different from the rest. This educational facility is not a ‘performance and audience’ kind of place like the others. We spent many hours taking a peek into the ‘behind the scenes’ and I spoke in depth with one of the staff about what really goes on. This staff takes turns 24 hours a day to ensure that the dolphins especially are taken care of around the clock – they truly seem to care about these animals.


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