Spend The Day At The Miami Seaquarium

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By: Carolyn Keating

A Classic Miami Attraction

Built in 1955, the Miami Seaquarium is the longest running oceanarium in the United States. The 38-acre marine life entertainment park is located right off the Rickenbacker Causeway on Virginia Key en route to Key Biscayne. The Seaquarium’s dolphin show, a spectacle of trained Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, has been a highlight and many dolphins have been born in the park. In the 1960s, the popular American television show Flipper was all the rage and its eighty-eight episodes were filmed at this park. Visitors can see the Flipper Lagoon and the live dolphin show everyday at the Seaquarium. The park continues to evolve, offering fun and interactive programs which both thrill and educate the young and young-at-heart.

This family-friendly theme park invites marine-lovers of all ages to view dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, manatees and more.

Dolphin Encounter
The Dolphin Encounter is one of many unforgettable experiences

Swim With The Dolphins And Become A Trainer For A Day

For many, swimming with the dolphins is the marine life experience of a lifetime. At Miami Seaquarium, you can get up close and personal in either shallow or deep water, shake hands, give training signals and even land a big ol’ kiss from a dolphin for the ultimate Instagram. At Dolphin Odyssey you’ll have 30 minutes to kiss, rub, shake hands with, feed and even train a dolphin. Another dolphin experience, Dolphin Encounter, is a fun-filled program where dolphin lovers of all ages get to stay in shallow water and train and play with dolphins. At the Sea Trek Reef Encounter, you can walk through a 300,000-gallon tropical reef filled with tropical fish, rays and more, all while wearing a state-of-the-art dive helmet that allows you to breathe underwater. If you sign up for the Seal Swim, you’ll be able to do just that: swim freely with harbor seals for 15-20 minutes. Finally, for a real treat, sign up for a 2.5-hour VIP Tour or get the chance to be a trainer for a day. During the tour, you’ll get an up-close animal experience, one where you can play with iguanas or macaws, feed manatees, stingrays and sea turtles, and leave with a photo of you standing next to a sea lion or dolphin. When you participate in the Trainer for a Day experience, where you’ll get the hands-on chance to work alongside Miami Seaquarium trainers and learn training basics, assist with daily show set-ups, watch and critique shows, and help with other behind-the-scenes activities.

Life-sized anchor on the grounds of the Seaquarium

Pet A Penguin

Penguin movies like Happy Feet or Madagascar might put a smile on your face, but what could be cooler than a one-on-one encounter with one of these tuxedoed characters? Meet and greet African penguins in their own environment while learning about their habitat and habits.

Fun fact: The black-footed birds have distinctive pink patches of skin above their eyes. The skin is actually a gland which helps them cope with changing temperatures. Take a selfie and impress your friends with your penguin knowledge.

Shark & Stingray Interaction

One of the park’s newest experiences lets you come face-to-fin with stingrays and nurse sharks. Wade into an unforgettable experience where you meet gentle southern stingrays and nurse sharks. The park’s animal care experts escort participants through this unique interaction. During each encounter, the experts will provide insight about these fascinating creatures.

Insider Tip: Be sure to plan ahead and learn about animal interaction requirements before you go. The Miami Seaquarium website provides clear information on what to bring, how long encounters last, and other important details to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

Sea Lion Show
The Sea Lion Show is both educational and entertaining

Shows & Exhibits

The Miami Seaquarium hosts a variety of entertaining and educational shows daily, all of which teach you about sea life and what the human population can do to make sure their habitats stay clean and protected. The Top Deck Dolphin show features bottlenose dolphins leaping through the air, rolling through the water and performing high-flying stunts. The Caribbean-themed Flipper Dolphin Show, on the other hand, invites guests to see what everyone’s favorite dolphin has been up to. When you walk into Flipper’s stadium, you’ll even see images and nostalgia from the original Flipper TV show. Finally, the Golden Dome Sea Lion show is a comedic spectacle that follows the adventures of Salty the Sea Lion and his Reef Rangers as they track down a diver who failed to keep the water clean.

Insider Tip: The cost for all shows at Miami Seaquarium are included with your park entrance pass. It is recommended that you allow at least four hours to see all shows and exhibits. For a complete list of show times, call (305) 361-5705.

Rescue Center

Over the years, the Miami Seaquarium has become a world-class rescue center devoted to rehabilitating animals in need. It is also an Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks member and a preeminent sea turtle and manatee rescue center. Sea turtles and manatees are just two of the native South Florida animals that need professional care and rehabilitation. The Alliance ensures that facilities provide care in the best of environments for marine mammal care, husbandry, conservation and education.

The Miami Seaquarium has a proud history of marine-mammal care, such as rescuing and then releasing the smallest manatee to have ever been rescued, rehabbing manatees from deadly conditions, treating diseased sea turtles and more. If visiting the Miami Seaquarium inspires you to get involved with the welfare of marine animals, you can contribute to the Miami Seaquarium’s various programs like the Sponsor a Sirenian program, Manatee Brick Program and Adopt a Sea Turtle Nest.

Whale & Dolphins
Visitors try to snap a quick photo during the Dolphin show

General Visitor Information

The Miami Seaquarium is open 365 days a year, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to check the website’s calendar for the most up to date hours. The cost of general admission is $49.99 for adults and $39.99 for children ages three to nine. Annual passes are $64.99 for adults and $54.99 for children ages three to nine. Tickets and passes can be purchased online.

Insider Tip: Save money by buying your tickets online. The cost for parking is $10 per day for cars, motorcycles, passenger vans, limos, campers and RVs. School bus parking is free with a field trip booking. All parking is payable in cash only.

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