Thursday, January 31, 2013

Calusa's Hoop

Calusa adores her hoops!

Every dolphin has their favorite toy. Some love target poles, others like to play with basketballs. Calusa loves her hula hoops. If you throw a hoop to any of the dolphins and Calusa can get her flippers on it, it’s hers.

Recently, Calusa has been swimming around with a hoop that’s not so circular anymore. A few weeks ago, it broke. We’d be happy to give her a brand new hula hoop in exchange for the broken one, but Calusa has decided that she’s happy with this one. It’s quite hilarious to see her tote around a non-intact hoop as she gleefully swims around her lagoon, especially when she takes the time to show it off to everyone who walks by.

If you’re out on the causeway, look for an adorable dolphin with a ruffled dorsal fin on the left hand side of the back lagoons. You can’t miss this special lady, especially with her purple broken hoop.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Luna!

Three years ago, under a blue moon, we were blessed with a little girl named Luna. Today, we celebrate her birthday. Happy Birthday little Luna. We love you so much baby girl!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wounded Warrior Project Thanks DRC

Since the 1990s, Dolphin Research Center has committed ourselves to supporting our nation's military service personnel, veterans, and their families.  In 2009, we first welcomed the Wounded Warrior Project to DRC, followed by our first visit by the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride in 2010.

Each year since, Soldier Ride has returned.  In the meantime, there have been a number of other activities including Military Dolfriend, the Wounded Warrior Project's Project Odyssey, visits by military familes, caregivers and more.  We welcome each one of these very special people and delight in sharing the dolphins and sea lions with them for the day.

Recently, the Wounded Warrior Project wanted to thank Dolphin Research Center and they chose a special way to do so by giving each of us a Wounded Warrior shirt.  To acknowledge the gift we gathered as many staff members as possible to model our new shirts, and then sent the above collage to our friends at the Wounded Warrior Project.

It means a lot to us to welcome our country's military personnel and their families to DRC and, as you can see by our smiles, we love our gifts and are honored to wear these shirts,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Distance Learning

Distance Learning has become the new frontier in education. Becoming increasingly popular in university classrooms and a staple for youngsters as they embark on their educational journey, there is a huge demand for captivating courses that can be taught around the globe. While distance learning is not a new method of teaching, it originated using snail mail in the early 1700s; an increase in technology and the ability to have a computer in your pocket has made distance learning the new norm.

The emergence of Internet technology has allowed Dolphin Research Center to spread our wings and take the education experience to a whole new level. Now students don’t have to come to the dolphins, we can bring the dolphins to them! Imagine the motivation to learn when your teacher isn’t only a marine mammal expert, but a flippered friend too. Using a combination of pre-recorded demonstrations, real time discussions, and live on the dock sessions, learning about marine mammals has never been so in depth and exciting!

DRC’s Education department has been taking strides towards making our lesson plans available to classrooms all over the world and tailoring discussions to a wide range of subjects including Dolphin Anatomy/Physiology, Marine Mammal Training, Marine Mammal Health, Cognition Research with Dolphins, Dolphin Ecology and Conservation, Dolphin Reproduction and Maternity, and more programs in the making. DRC offers courses on a science-based marine mammal subject as well as out-of-the-box sessions.

The staff at DRC has learned that students are more engaged when they feel connected to the subject. Think about it; do you learn more from a book about riding a bicycle, or by actually riding a bicycle?

Every course is broken down by subtopic, gently easing students into the subject. Within a 30-45 minute lesson, students will cover a broad range of information while feeling engaged as they watch marine mammals demonstrate aspects of the lesson. After each session, our experts extend an invitation to have a classroom discussion and answer any burning questions about the topic that are on the student’s minds .

Distance Learning opportunities are reasonably priced at only $65 per session. They are offered throughout the year, direct from the Florida Keys to your classroom. All presentations can be modified for any age group and meet all National, and Next Generation Education Standards as well as Ocean Literacy Principles.

For more information, or to arrange a Distance Learning experience for your class, please contact the Education Department at 305-289-1121, ext. 225, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time, or email us at

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dolphin Research Center Holds Teacher Appreciation Day


Grassy Key… On Monday, January 21st, Florida Keys teachers can take advantage of a day off from school to visit Dolphin Research Center for free!  From 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. teachers can show their school identification and be admitted free to watch dolphins and sea lions in action, attend theater presentations on a variety of topics and learn about the many different educational opportunities available to teachers and their students.  Each teacher is invited to bring one guest who will also be admitted for free.  Admission includes access to the Shawn Rodriguez Family Sprayground where people of all ages can play in jets and streams of water shooting from colorful marine life structures.  DRC is located at 58901 (mile marker 59) Overseas Highway, Grassy Key.  For more information about Teacher Appreciation Day, call 289-1121, extension 209, or visit the website at

            Founded in 1984 as a nonprofit education and research center, Dolphin Research Center is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions.  Open daily for the public to see narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations and to participate in interactive programs with the dolphins, the center is funded by admission and program fees as well as by private donors and members.  In addition to being one of the most highly respected facilities in the world, DRC is the Licensed Manatee Rescue Team for the Florida Keys and is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lina's Anniversary

Two years ago, a little torpedo entered our hearts. Her name was Lina and we are thrilled to be celebrating her anniversary today.

Happy Anniversary Lina! We love you munchkin.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dolphin Research Center to Welcome Wounded Warriors for Dolphin Swim

DRC Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Armando “Mandy” Rodriguez spent time with the wounded warriors and Jax.
Dolphin Research Center to Welcome Wounded Warriors for Dolphin Swim

Grassy Key…On Friday, January 11th, Dolphin Research Center (DRC) will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride when the adaptive cycling event comes through the Florida Keys. For the fourth year in a row, the cyclists and their support group will stop at DRC where upwards of 50 soldiers will enjoy a Dolphin Encounter dolphin swim free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the Charles Evans Foundation. This event honors our military men and women as they courageously battle the physical and psychological damages of war. DRC members, local residents and visitors will be able to join the line welcoming these heroes. The group is expected to arrive between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Admission to DRC is free for current members. Other visitors can become members with their donations when they get to DRC that day.

These soldiers are coping with life-altering injuries to body, mind and spirit, including single or double amputations, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To watch them leave their troubles behind on land for a joyful time swimming with dolphins inspires all who see the experience take place. For many of the participants, the dolphin swim further empowers them on their journey to restore their physical and emotional well-being.

The Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project at Dolphin Research Center has become a true community event. The soldiers arrive to a heroes’ welcome from DRC staff, volunteers and visitors. Each is supplied with a wetsuit, loaned by Captain Hook’s Dive Shop, Marathon. Before the Dolphin Encounter, they will enjoy a delicious lunch catered by La Trattoria of Key West. Signs by Renee, of Marathon, has designed a welcome banner. After the swim, the soldiers also receive a complimentary disk of photos.

For many years, Dolphin Research Center has committed itself to supporting veterans and active duty personnel from all branches of the United States military.

DRC Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Armando “Mandy” Rodriguez is himself a veteran who served in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps. Throughout the year, DRC seeks to provide programs not only for the wounded warriors, but also caregivers of injured soldiers, family of active duty personnel, and families who have lost a loved one serving in the war.

Founded in 1984, Dolphin Research Center is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Located at 58901 (mile marker 59) Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, Florida, the center is open daily for the public to see narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations, and to participate in interactive programs with the dolphins. The nonprofit organization is funded by admission and program fees as well as by private donors and members. In addition to being one of the most highly respected education and research facilities in the world, DRC is the Licensed Manatee Rescue Team for the Florida Keys and is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For more information, visit the center’s website at

Jax's Anniversary

Five years ago, we welcomed a special guy into the Dolphin Research Center family. His name was Jax, and the moment he swam into our lives, he stole our hearts.

Happy Anniversary Jax. Every moment with you is a treasure. We love you little man.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Gypsi!

Please join us as we wish a Happy Birthday to the one and only, Gypsi! This beautiful little girl turns six years old today.

Happy Birthday Gypsi-Doodle! We love you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Dolphin Serenade

Charles Imes and Rick Schettino play for the dolphins.

Earlier in the fall, the dolphins enjoyed a serenade by Charlie Imes & Rick Schettino. The two musicians put on an impromptu concert for the front lagoon. Armed solely with their guitars and Keys-y voices, Charlie and Rick put on a great show for the group.

Each of the dolphins took the opportunity to check out the concert. They listened to soulful sounds and swayed their bodies to the beat of the songs.  One by one, the dolphins peeked out of the water to get a closer view of the vocalists.

Flagler seemed to enjoy the music the most. He spent a great deal of time hanging out by the dock as he listened to the sweet sounds of the duo. Much of his time was spent stationed where he could enjoy a front row experience.

As the music continued, the dolphins weren’t the only audience. Guests came to watch the performers. They had a great crowd full of both guests and staff. Everyone had a wonderful time listening to the music.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Brand New Year!

From the Dolphin Research Center family to yours, we'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!