A day with the dolphins

Grand Cayman has two dolphin adventure parks, where you can get up close and personal with these adorable marine mammals.

Dolphin Cove and Dolphin Discovery each offer a variety of ways to interact with these gentle, intelligent creatures. It’s a memorable excursion for all ages – and one that will put a smile on everyone’s face.

The parks in West Bay are owned by Dolphin Discovery Group, the largest dolphin company in the world. Dolphin Discovery is located opposite the Cayman Turtle Farm and Dolphin Cove is tucked away at the end of West Bay near Morgan’s Harbour.

Visitors can choose from a number of interactive packages.

The “Royal Swim” package is offered daily, and is the most interactive and action-packed of the programs. It gives visitors ample time and opportunity to get to know the friendly dolphins. You get to kiss and hug the animals, and give them a handshake (which often turns into a little dance).

dolphin2You also get to experience the animal’s speed and strength during a “dorsal tow.” Hold your arms out to the side and wait for the ride of your life. Perfectly synchronized, the two dolphins swim past you before they turn around and let you catch a ride by holding onto their dorsal fins.

A highlight is the “foot push.” The dolphins use their snouts – called “rostrums” – to push you right out of the water by the soles of your feet.

The “Dolphin Swim Adventure” package includes a belly ride, boogie-board push, kiss, hug and handshake.

In addition to interacting with the dolphins with a kiss, handshake and other activities, the “Dolphin Lover’s Swim” package includes an educational component. It teaches you all about dolphins including the difference between males and females, how they nurse and how they use echolocation.

The “Dolphin Trek” package, available at Dolphin Discovery, gives an underwater experience with the dolphins. You don’t need to be dive-certified, since you’ll be provided with special respiratory gear that resembles an astronaut’s helmet, which allows you to walk onto a submerged platform as a dolphin gently approaches you.