Did you know that you and your family can ride and kiss a real Atlantic bottlenose dolphin about 20 minutes from Berkeley? I did not.
My older children and I were treated to a hands-on learning session with dolphins and trainers from the Dolphin Discovery program at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (the theme park formerly known as Marine World).
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they now want to do every Sunday because it seemed so easy.
How Dolphin Discovery at Six Flags Vallejo works
- Make a reservation for dolphin lovers over 50″ tall. If you want to sign up a solo swimming kid, that’s cool, parents can pay an observation fee for $20.
- Pack a swimsuit, and leave your jewelry at home.
- If you’re doing it first thing, park in the main lot ($20) and come to the bright blue building before the main park entrance (alternatively, you can enter from the park near the Ocean Discovery zone).
- Attend a 45-minute class about marine mammals — longer if your children ask a ton of questions. Ahem.
- Suit up. Dolphin Discovery provides wet suits and booties to all participants.
- Sit and swim with a dolphin and trainer. Most of the experience happens sitting on the side of the enclosure (pictured above), but each person will get a chance for a dolphin fin ride-along (see my timid son getting a thrill below).
- Choose your photographic evidence. Pic or it didn’t happen? Participants get one complimentary print from the on-staff photographers. More pictures can be purchased after the event.
What else you need to know about Dolphin Discovery with kids
The program is offered year-round, seven days a week. Participants must be at least 50” tall and ten years of age (they used to allow as young as age 6 if my children look a little small!). As of June, 2023 this is the price breakdown:
- $149 per person for swim only
- Extra fee can include dolphin experience and park admission
- 20% discount for Season Pass holders
Find out more about Dolphin Discovery on their webpage, including making reservations.
Huge thanks to the Dolphin Discovery class and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for providing our experience and photographs. I received no other compensation.
[All photos property of Heather Flett and 510families. All rights reserved]