9 Aquariums And Zoos With Dolphins
Aquariums and zoos provide excellent opportunities for a safe and educational experience in exploring the world of animals. Many of these facilities are dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals, although it's worth noting that not all of them can be successfully reintroduced to their natural habitats. Dolphins, fascinating creatures often featured in aquariums and zoos, are a prime example of this distinction.
Presently, there are more than 3,000 dolphins residing permanently in aquariums around the world, with approximately 40 different species of dolphins found across the globe. While the prospect of encountering dolphins in their natural habitat during an oceanic tour exists, it comes with no guarantees. On the other hand, if your goal is to observe these magnificent creatures up close, one of your best options is to visit a reputable zoo or aquarium.
Here's a list of 9 well-known aquariums and zoos that feature dolphins:
# Texas State Aquarium
Dolphins can also be spotted at the Texas State Aquarium, situated in Corpus Christi, Texas. This expansive aquarium, covering approximately 6 acres, initially opened its doors to the public on July 6, 1990. Among the aquarium's standout attractions is Dolphin Bay, which remains a favorite among visitors. Here, guests have the opportunity to engage with and marvel at Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. This aquatic wonder features a 400,000-gallon saltwater pool, boasting a depth of 12 feet, and provides two primary vantage points for observation.
It's noteworthy that the dolphins residing in this aquarium are candidates for potential release back into their natural habitat. The eldest dolphin in the collection, Shadow, came into the world on July 23, 1992, and bears a distinctive small hole in his dorsal fin. Another notable resident is Merlin, recognized for his unique pink belly and holding the distinction of being the youngest dolphin in the facility. Among the team of trainers, Schooner, born in 2007, stands out as the likely brightest member of the dolphin tank's population.
# The Indianapolis Zoo
Situated in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Indianapolis Zoo stands as a spacious wildlife facility that boasts a captivating dolphin exhibit. A beloved destination for locals, this zoo officially opened its doors on April 18, 1964, and spans an impressive 64 acres of land. Within its expansive grounds, the zoo accommodates an astounding 1,416 distinct animal species, drawing nearly 1.5 million visitors annually.
More than just a zoo, this establishment also doubles as an aquarium and botanical garden, offering a diverse range of experiences. During your visit, you'll have the chance to observe a fascinating array of creatures, including penguins, tigers, macaws, and grey seals. Within the Oceans exhibit, you can encounter dolphins native to the region, and for those eager to learn more, there are engaging dolphin presentations available.
One notable resident of the Indianapolis Zoo is Calypso, a bottlenose dolphin affectionately known as "the big sister," distinguished by a dark area beneath her chin. Calypso occasionally displays the endearing habit of swimming with her tongue out. Hemmingway, born in 2011 and hailing from the Marineland Aquarium in Florida, is another captivating dolphin residing here. Hemmingway is renowned for his propensity to stir up a bit of drama and is recognizable by his pointed-tail flukes.
# Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium, located in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the oldest aquariums in the United States, having opened its doors on May 30, 1930. This expansive facility sprawls across 10 acres and offers an array of captivating exhibits and diverse animal species, including the remarkable Pacific white-sided dolphins. These distinctive dolphins can be observed within the Abbott Oceanarium and the Polar Play Zone, providing an opportunity to witness their playful nature and impressive speed, reaching speeds of up to 25 mph.
Inside the confines of Shedd Aquarium, you'll encounter a pod of five Pacific white-sided dolphins. Among them, Kri stands as the eldest and one of the largest members of the pod, measuring an impressive 6 feet and 5 inches in length. She became a part of Shedd Aquarium in 1991 at the age of 6. Adding youthful exuberance to the group is Harmony, the most recent addition, born on August 31, 2020. Harmony's spirited nature and moniker were bestowed upon her by fourth-grade classrooms in the Chicago Public Schools system.
# Miami Seaquarium
Moving on to another notable aquarium featuring dolphins, we have the Miami Seaquarium. While it may not claim the title of the largest aquarium in the United States, the Miami Seaquarium is a substantial facility boasting a wide array of captivating exhibits and diverse animal inhabitants. This aquatic wonderland first welcomed visitors on September 24, 1955, and encompasses approximately 38 acres of land.
Within the Miami Seaquarium's premises, you'll encounter not only dolphins but also manatees and stingrays, adding to the diversity of marine life on display. For those seeking a more immersive experience, the Miami Seaquarium offers close tours and the opportunity to swim with dolphins. However, it's worth noting that the chance to observe bottlenose dolphins in their habitat is included with general admission, and you can also enjoy entertaining dolphin shows such as the Top Deck Dolphin and the Flipper Dolphin Show as part of your visit.
# Asamushi Aquarium
The Asamushi Aquarium, located in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, is another facility that houses dolphins. Situated with a picturesque view overlooking Mutsu Bay, the aquarium spans approximately 12 acres of land. Its most notable feature is the dolphin exhibition pool, which holds an impressive volume of 82,000 U.S. gallons.
The origins of the Asamushi Aquarium trace back to its initial opening to the public in 1922, although it underwent a complete reconstruction in 1983. Within its expansive confines, this aquarium proudly showcases an impressive collection of over 400 different species, totaling an astonishing 10,000 individual animals.
In addition to observing the dolphins in their tank, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a thrilling dolphin show, where these intelligent creatures perform captivating tricks alongside their trainers.
# Mississippi Aquarium
Next on the list is the Mississippi Aquarium, located in Gulfport, Mississippi. This aquarium is a relatively recent addition to the aquatic world, having opened its doors on August 29, 2020. It encompasses an area of approximately 5.8 acres, featuring a blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits to provide visitors with a diverse and immersive experience.
Beyond the opportunity to witness a wide variety of remarkable animals, the Mississippi Aquarium offers unique tours that allow you to engage with these creatures up close and personal. One such popular animal encounter is the Dolphin Encounter, where you have the chance to meet and interact with a dolphin for a duration of 5 minutes, under the guidance of a trained professional.
Within the Mississippi Aquarium, you can find four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, all observable from a multi-viewing tank. Among them, Axl stands out as the eldest and largest, measuring 8.5 feet in length and weighing 400 pounds. Axl is known for his playful demeanor and occasional upside-down swimming antics. On the other hand, Finn, the smallest dolphin in the pod, weighing in at 340 pounds, possesses a rather whimsical and sociable nature, often delighting in interactions with people and playfully sticking out his tongue.
# Mundo Marino
Mundo Marino, Argentina's largest aquarium, made its debut on January 6, 1979, and has since become the residence of more than 9,000 animals. Beyond being a sprawling marine park, Mundo Marino offers a multifaceted experience that includes captivating animal exhibits, entertaining shows, and thrilling rides.
One of the standout features within this expansive aquarium is the "Refugio del Mar," a prominent attraction that houses numerous bottlenose dolphins. The park's history is equally intriguing. Inspired by his visits to aquariums in the United States, Juan David Méndez acquired land in San Clemente del Tuyú and founded the park with the noble intention of aiding ailing and injured marine animals on their path to recovery, ultimately releasing them back into their natural ocean habitat.
# Rodadero Sea Aquarium And Museum
Situated in Santa Marta, Colombia, you'll find the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum, an aquatic attraction established by Captain Francisco Ospina Navia in 1965. Accessible by motor boat, this distinctive facility offers a remarkable experience, boasting 13 pools seamlessly integrated with the Caribbean Sea.
What sets the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum apart is its dedication to showcasing the native wildlife of the region, with nearly 95% of its animal inhabitants hailing from the local area. The facility is home to an impressive roster of at least 805 animals, which includes sea turtles and seabirds. Many of its exhibits are centered around dolphins, making the dolphin show a popular and highly anticipated feature for visitors.
# The National Aquarium In Baltimore
Situated in the heart of downtown Baltimore, Maryland, you'll find the National Aquarium, a renowned aquatic attraction that first welcomed visitors on August 8, 1981. This sprawling facility encompasses an impressive 6 acres of land, providing ample space for an extensive collection of over 20,000 animals.
Among the many captivating creatures to encounter at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, dolphins hold a place of prominence. The facility offers tours and additional experiences for those eager to delve deeper into the world of these remarkable marine mammals. Within the Dolphin Colony, a prominent attraction, there are four active females and two males, making for an engaging and educational visit.