are five places - Hawks Cay, the Dolphin Research
Center, and Theater of the Sea, Dolphins Plus, and
Dolphins Cove in the Florida Keys which provide
visitors an opportunity to interact with dolphins. These
encounter programs are not inexpensive. Each facility has age, or height, and other safety
limitations and restrictions. Advance reservations
recommended. CALL FOR SPECIFIC FEES
description of the Hawks Cay program is provided
Connection at Hawks Cay
Mile Marker 61,
Duck Key, Florida Keys (305)743-7000
Dolphin Discovery program is 45 minutes long and
includes 25 minutes of personalized contact but no
swimming with the dolphins. Under the supervision of a
highly skilled guide or trainer you'll be able to pet,
touch, and possibly feed the dolphins.
its Dolphins Dockside program, Hawks Cay provides
adults and teens with a look at dolphin training.
Participants act as trainer assistants during a training
session , ages 13 and over, 12 and under must be
supervised by a paid adult.
resort's Dolphin Detective program offers young
children and opportunity for hands-on participation in
the trainer's world including training games, preparation
of dolphin fish food and supervised training of the
dolphins. 30 minute dock side program . Children must be
5 years or older.
Dolphin Research Center
A description of the Dolphin
which is within a mile of Hawks Cay is provided below.
Research Center, Mile Marker 59, close by Hawks Cay
on Grassy Key, Florida Keys (305) 289-1121,
Research Center features Exciting and fun narrated
dolphin and sea lion sessions every half hour from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m., 7 days a week.
Dolphin Encounter swim program, DolphinSplash wade-in
program and other fun interactive programs offered
Dolphin Research Center began as Santini's Porpoise
School and was run by Milton Santini, a pioneer in
dolphin husbandry and training. At that time visitors
were allowed to swim with the dolphins.
Hollywood hearing about Santini made a movie about a
family in the keys that befriends a dolphin. "Flipper"
was filmed on location at the Dolphin research Center
(Santini's) and starred five of Santini's dolphins,
including Mitzi, Little Bit, and Mr. Gipper. Some of the
dolphins at the Dolphin research center are descended
from those "Flipper" stars. Mitzi, Santini's first pupil,
was picked to star as Flipper in the original movie.This
is the place were the famous porpoise "Flipper" was
trained and buried. Mitzi's performance made the film and
the TV series that followed a hit. She became a beloved
celebrity at Grassy Key. When she died she was buried
beneath a dolphin statue in the School's courtyard. The
Dolphin Research Center maintains the grave, and in honor
of her accomplishments they always make it the first stop
on the tour. A small plaque at the Dolphin Research
to the memory of Mitzi The original Flipper 1958
Jean Paul-Gouin a whale conservationist purchased the
Santini facility and renamed it "Institute for Delphinid
Research". The facility was closed to the public in order
to research the dolphin's language and reasoning skills.
having completed his project, Jean Paul-Gouin turned over
the facility with its dolphins to his general manager,
Jayne Shannon, and head trainer, Mandy Rodriquez. They
founded the non-for-profit Dolphin Research
description of several other dolphin interaction programs
in the Florida Keys may be found at