Have you ever wanted to pet and kiss a dolphin? Well, that is exactly what I did when we went to the Dolphin Encounter. The Dolphin Encounter consists of standing on a platform and touching and petting the dolphin. I'm only 5'1" tall, and the water didn't come too high on me, but my mother is only 4'11" and she was afraid. My husband and my mother decided not to do this, so they were allowed to stand in a viewing station to take pictures.
My stepfather and I were ushered into a different viewing area to listen to a recording of dolphin conversations and some evolutionary information about dolphins, which was very interesting. At the same time, we watched the dolphins playing in the pool. Then the Dolphin Interaction group (they actually swam with the dolphins) and the Dolphin Encounter groups split up. The Dolphin Encounter group was also split up into two groups of eight. A trainer asked the dolphin to swim behind the group, but I guess it didn't want to do this, so the trainer didn't force it, which I appreciated. You know that the dolphins are not mistreated. The trainer asked the dolphin to swim in the middle of the group, and for some reason the dolphin preferred this instead. We were allowed to touch the stomach and the fins, which actually have real fingers inside! Then came the best part--we leaned over the platform and the dolphin kissed us right on the lips! The Aquatic Center takes a close digital picture of this, which you can purchase in the gift shop for US$10. My husband was taking videos of this, and this was the definite highlight of my trip. We spent about half an hour in the pool with the dolphin. The price was US$60.
Swimming with the dolphins is more expensive (I think $150), but they looked like they had a great time. They were given life jackets, but I am not a good swimmer and I was nervous even with a life jacket.
I am glad I went through the Encounter, and my mother wished she were taller to experience it! My stepfather couldn't stop talking about it.