What kind of pools do the animals live in at Theater of the Sea?
The animals live in natural salt-water lagoons. The water is pumped in from the Atlantic Ocean.
How big is the lagoon?
The lagoon is three acres in size with an average depth of 15 to 20 feet. The rest of the property is about 17 acres in size and rich with tropical foliage and orchids.
Do you have a restaurant on the property?
A snack bar/grill is available and serves a variety of delicious foods.
What kind of merchandise do you have in the gift shop?
We sell a variety of souvenirs, items for the home, and stylish clothing in the gift shop.
What is the lagoon beach?
Included in the price of admission, the lagoon beach is open for guests who want to sunbathe, cool off and take a dip, and/or snorkel with a variety of tropical fish.
Chaise lounges are provided, snorkel gear, floats, and towels can be rented, and snacks and drinks can be purchased.
The lagoon beach is typically open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weather permitting and on a seasonal basis.
How long has Theater of the Sea offered swim programs?
In 1987, Theater of the Sea opened the 3rd Swim with the Dolphin program in the U.S.
Our Swim with the Sea Lion was the first of its kind and opened in 1998.
Our Swim with the Rays has been in operation since 1997.
Our Wade with the Dolphin debuted in 2002.
How do I sign up for a special program?
Reservations by phone or in person are recommended well in advance. You pay for the program when you check in on the day of participation.
What if I have to cancel or change a reservation?
You can change your reservation at any time as long as there are availabilities.
Are any discounts available?
Combined special programs for the same person receive $15.00 off of the second program and $10.00 off of the third.
Coupons are for general admission and observers only, not for special programs.
What do I need to bring the day of the swim?
Please bring swimwear and a towel.
We supply fins, masks, and snorkels and we also supply life jackets if needed.
Changing rooms, outdoor showers, and lockers are available and locks can be rented for a $10.00 refundable deposit.
Can I bring my own masks fins and snorkels?
Yes you can. Water shoes may be worn instead of fins for parts of the ray and sea lion swim, but we do not provide these so bring your own.
How old do you have to be to swim with the dolphins?
Participants in all of our special programs must be at least 5 years of age except for the Wade with the Dolphin, where participants must be 3 or older.
A parent or guardian must participate in the program with any child age 7 or younger.
All minors must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or appointed guardian prior to program participation.
Do I have to be a good swimmer to participate in a special program?
You should be comfortable in the water.
The dolphin wade is available for non-swimmers and swimmers alike.
The sea lion and ray swims take place on a shallow water sandy beach and snorkeling is available.
The dolphin swim takes place in a 15 to 20 foot deep lagoon.
The Meet the Dolphin and Meet the Sea Lion programs are out of the water programs.
Do the trainers get in the water with us during the swim?
No. Typically the trainers oversee the interaction from out of the water.
Can I take photos of my swim?
Yes. Also, Theater of the Sea has staff photographers who take digital photos, which are available for purchase just after your program.
What do the observers get to do?
The observers can accompany special program participants to the swim areas, watch the educational orientation and the special program interaction, and of course join the dolphin, sea lion and parrot shows, bottomless boat ride, nature tour, lagoon-side beach and guided marine life tour.
Why can’t pregnant women swim with the dolphin?
For safety reasons, pregnant women are discouraged from participating in vigorous physical activities like scuba diving. The Swim with the Dolphin is a vigorous physical activity.
How many people have participated in your swim with the dolphin program?
More than 200,000 people have participated in the Swim with the Dolphin program at Theater of the Sea.
Is the dolphin at Theater of the Sea the same dolphin I see listed on restaurant menus?
No, the dolphin you see on the menu is a dolphin fish, also known as Mahi Mahi or Dorado.
Like any fish it is cold-blooded, has scales, gills, and lays eggs.
The dolphin at our facility is a warm blooded, air breathing mammal that gives birth to live young, nurses its young, and has hair…a mustache that falls out shortly after birth.
How do you train the dolphins?
Marine mammals are trained using a method known as operant conditioning and is based on positive reinforcement.
Basically, desired behavior is reinforced and undesired behavior is ignored.
Is food deprivation used to train the animals?
No. Our animals receive their diet daily unless they don’t want it.
Do the animals ever not perform?
They have the option of participating in sessions and although very rare, they sometimes choose not to.
How long does it take to train a behavior?
Depending on the trainer, the animal, and the behavior it can vary from one session to months.
Is it easier to train and work with a dolphin born at a facility? Males or females? Young or older animals? Dolphins or sea lions?
It depends on the individual.
How intelligent are the dolphins and sea lions?
This is a difficult question to answer since we cannot even accurately assess human intelligence. I can tell you that they learn well and are very cooperative.
How do you become a trainer?
Trainers have a variety of educational and experiential backgrounds.
A biology or psychology degree and participation in internship or volunteer programs are recommended.
Does Theater of the Sea have an internship or volunteer program?
Yes we do. Please click here for more information.
Do dolphins breed well in captivity?
Yes they do. 50% of dolphins in human care were born there.
Do dolphins save people?
Anything is possible, but this is most likely a myth.
Can dolphins heal you?
No scientific data exists to suggest that dolphins can heal people.
However, there are many human/animal interactions that have therapeutic benefits.
Do the animals ever get sick or die?
All animals get sick and die.
We provide the animals here with the best of care and train them to do medical behaviors so that we can closely monitor their health.
Do you think it is right to keep dolphins in captivity?
Man keeps many animals in his care, few if any are treated as well as marine mammals.
It is ironic few people question whether or not these other animals should be in captivity.
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