Marineland was founded as “Marine Studios” in June of 1938 with over 30,000 guests showing up on the first day! Known as the “World’s First Oceanarium”, the original vision was to duplicate the variety of marine life as it exists in nature for the purpose of filming scenes for motion pictures and newsreels to meet Hollywood’s growing demand for underwater footage. Marineland was used to shoot all or some of the scenes in many films and televisions shows. Some of the most famous were “Creature from the Black Lagoon”, “Sea Hunt”, and “Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland”! Did you know that Benji was the first dog in history to scuba dive? Filming started in 1939 and continued through 2001. For more information on the history of movies at Marineland see: Marineland.net
In 2004, after a series of hurricanes struck the northeast coast of Florida, most of the original, older structures were retired and an updated facility was built. In 2006, Marineland opened it’s 1.3 million gallon facility known as the Dolphin Conservation Center. This facility was thoughtfully designed paying attention to the behavioral needs of the animals while accommodating the viewing capabilities of the scientists, the logistical needs of the trainers, and the educational and entertainment needs of the guests.
Sitting on ocean-side property 18 miles south of St. Augustine, Marineland offers guests a variety of interactive and in-water programs that allows participants to make physical and emotional connections while learning all about the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The staff’s focus is on education. When I took my son and daughter for the full-immersion experience, I learned more about these incredible animals than I had ever known before. The care that they are given is impressive. The oldest dolphin to ever live in human care in the world lived here. Her name was Nellie, and she lived to be 60 years old, the equivalent to 120 years in human life. The average life span of an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in the wild is 40-45 years for males and more than 50 years for females. I was very impressed with the trainers, the facility, and the efforts being made to education the public in order to spread conservation efforts to help preserve the environment! For more information about Marineland, visit: Marineland.net and Wikipedia.
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve), in partnership with Marineland Dolphin Adventure, invites the public to a free lecture on the third Tuesday of each month at Marineland Dolphin Adventure to help educate the public about the natural world and its inhabitants.