A while back my kids and I were able to visit the Dolphinaris in Scottsdale, Arizona to tour the facility and learn about how they care for their Dolphins. After the tour we were treated to a dolphin show which was a lot of fun and invited back to do a land experience where we could interact with the Dolphins. You can see a short video of part of the show we were treated to below.
After a crazy month I was finally able to set up a date to visit and now I am going to share my thoughts on the experience with you!
They offer a few different dolphin experiences which each offer different things, the land experience is where you stay on land but are still able to interact with a dolphin in a spot where you can walk up to the tank. Although you are on land and not getting into the water I suggest wearing a bathing suit or clothes you can easily change out of because you will get splashed and get quite wet, We ended up with half of our bodies soaked in water. The experience as a whole last for half an hour which includes a short bit of learning about how to help save wild dolphins with simple things such as not using plastic straws.
You are provided with a locker to keep your belongings as you are unable to bring anything near the dolphin tank including removing your jewelry, you will also be provided with a towel to dry off if you ask. During our experience we were each given a change to get a kiss from the dolphin we were interacting with and were able to give it a kiss back, my son opted out of this so the trainer had the dolphin blow water bubbles for him and put his nose up to the glass for him instead. We were all able to dance with the dolphin, the trainer has you stick your arms out with your palms facing down and the dolphin comes up placing it's fins on your hands and 'dances' with you.
During our interaction we were able to learn a lot about dolphins such as how to tell if they are a boy or a girl, where their ears are, why they have teeth even though they don't use them and how they are able to make different sounds. The trainer had our dolphin make several different sounds, at one point it even made a sound like a choo-choo train. Along with making different sounds the trainer also had him do several different tricks and even a shark impression, but the part that was the most adorable was when we 'scared' him with our faces. How did we scare a dolphin? They trained them to play peak-a-boo when you put your hands in front of your face then move them like you were saying boo the dolphin lets out an adorable little "Ahhh" scream as if you scared him.
Ok so let's talk about cost because I know you are all wondering how much something like this might set you back. The cost of the land experience is $59 per person if you pay at Dolphinaris or $39 per person if you buy your tickets online, your child needs to be at least three years of age and all children from ages four to six need to have an accompanying paid adult. Since you are not allowed to bring anything up to the experience with you they have photographers there to capture your experience, however ff you are wanting pictures of your experience I HIGHLY suggest bringing an extra person with you to take photos from the waiting area (they don't need a ticket if they aren't participating), if they are in the right spot they should be able to get decent photos of the experience for you to look back on in the future. So why do I suggest bringing an extra person to take photos for you? While they have a photographer the prints are quite pricey, I thought Disney was bad when they wanted $18 per print from their photographers, I couldn't believe it when the screen showed they wanted $40 for one digital photo, or $229 for a Digital 10 pack on USB. I took a photo of the screen above where it shows the 1 digital photo price, if you wanted a physical copy as you can see a 16 x 20 print is $89. Considering that some families don't have the extra funds to run out to do an experience and will need to save up for this seeing the price of a photo memory would be quite the shock since it is almost the same price as the experience itself. I am thankful my step-dad came with to snap a few photos for me otherwise I wouldn't have any photos for this post or for memories to look back on.