MARINELAND, Fla. -- Taking in Marineland is taking a step back in time. Before Disney and the rest of the attractions popped up in Orlando in the early 70s, Marineland was the place to be as you made your trek down A1A.
The park opened in 1938, 30,000 people showed up to what was then known as Marineland Studios. It's a history lesson you'll get as you enter the park. I brought along my kids, not so much for the history lesson, but for the main attraction, getting up close and personal with the dolphins.
Talk about knocking one off the bucket list. It's an experience of a lifetime to get up close with these remarkable mammals. Marineland trainers and staff have a rich history when it comes to caring for these special creatures. The first trained dolphin in the world, Flippy, swam here in 1951 and they proudly boast the oldest dolphin in human care, Nellie, at a ripe old age of 59.
You have your options when it comes to your dolphin encounter. $8.50 will get you in the door. It's $4 for kids. As for interacting with the dolphins, it's $200 for the full immersion experience down to $29 for the touch and feed program. Either way, it's something you and your family won't forget.
Marineland is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They do offer military discounts.
It's easy to get to Marineland from downtown Jacksonville. Just head south on I-95 to exit 305. Head east on State Road 206 and take it all the way to A1A. Turn right on A1A. Go seven miles down the road. Marineland will be on your left.