If you’re fascinated by marine life, Dubai has the perfect place to feed your curiosity. The city houses some of the best and most extensive marine facilities in the world, and they offer tourists an opportunity to meet, greet, and swim with one of the most intelligent, inquisitive, and friendly marine mammals in the world: dolphins.
Swimming with dolphins can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for tourists who have never encountered this creature before. If you’re ready to meet them, take your chance to swim with dolphins in Dubai with the help of this guide.
Things to Know Before You Swim With Dolphins in Dubai
Despite Dubai’s vast desert wilderness, the city takes effort in providing aquatic activities and preserving marine life. Swimming with dolphins is one way to see these efforts with your own eyes. Here’s everything you need to know about dolphins and how to meet and greet them in Dubai:
What It’s Like to Swim With Dolphins in Dubai
Swimming with dolphins is an interactive experience in Dubai. They are hosted at artificial pools, marine conservation centers (often called dolphinariums and marine parks), and even at the sea. The location should be able to offer pure water and a sea bed to protect the dolphins.
In this activity, you can see, feed, touch, and befriend these beautiful mammals. Each dolphinarium or marine park has its own way of presenting a list of activities during the interaction. Dolphins show high levels of intelligence as an animal, so the activity is not limited to usual marine interactions. Some dolphinariums and marine parks feature dolphins that can paint, dance, and perform tricks.
Many scientific studies have claimed that swimming with dolphins can alleviate mild to moderate depression. This claim, of course, has obvious limitations. However, there’s no denying that the aesthetic and emotional value of interaction with animals can improve a person’s mood. There’s no denying that swimming with dolphins can offer a fun experience to children and adults alike.
Who Can Swim With Dolphins in Dubai?
Dolphins are friendly to humans, but swimming with them still poses risks to some people—especially young children and adults with health conditions. Here are some restrictions you should keep in mind before you participate in this activity.
The majority of dolphinariums and marine parks in Dubai set a minimum age requirement for children. Children must be 6 to 8 years old to participate in the activity. A parent or guardian must accompany children under 12 years old.
Swimming with dolphins has mental and physical therapeutic benefits, so the health restrictions for this activity aren’t that strict. As long as you’re in fair or good condition, you can participate in this activity.
Pregnant women in their first trimesters are allowed to interact with dolphins, but it’s best to stay in the poolside for those in their late second to third trimester. Dolphinariums and marine parks also cater to visitors with disabilities, providing wheelchair-friendly facilities and amenities. However, they cannot participate in all dolphin interactions.
Does Swimming With Dolphins Requires Skills and Experience?
In this activity, you’ll literally swim with dolphins. Visitors are encouraged to be confident swimmers before participating to maximize the experience, especially if you’re swimming with dolphins in open water. However, it’s just a preference. You can swim with dolphins in Dubai with or without experience as skilled trainers and instructors will facilitate the activity.
To improve your knowledge and experience while swimming with these mammals, pay close attention to the safety guidelines, hand signals, and basic information (e.g., dolphin’s diet, behavior, health conditions) the trainers and instructions will teach you.
Is Swimming With Dolphins Safe and Regulated in Dubai?
Swimming with dolphins has long been a controversial topic because many believed that dolphins should be in the wild. However, some people and organizations put effort into preserving and protecting dolphins from their declining natural habitat, and you can find some of them in Dubai.
Swimming with dolphins in Dubai’s dolphinariums and marine parks is safe, as long as you’ll follow all the instructions given by certified trainers and instructors. These facilities feature trained dolphins who are already friendly to human beings, so there’s a low chance that they will exhibit unpredictable behaviors.
As required by the government, the dolphinarium or marine park will provide the necessary equipment and safety features needed for the activity, such as diving masks, hand paddles, life jackets, and snorkels.
All travel and tour companies in Dubai follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Dolphinariums and marine parks in Dubai are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, regularly sanitize equipment and pools, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments. Some operators may limit the number of swimmers and visitors in a day.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Visitors should wear face masks inside the park, avoid physical contact among staff and other visitors, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
Since swimming with dolphins is an activity with close physical contact, some dolphinariums and marine parks may require guests to take a COVID-19 test or quarantine before the activity.
When Is the Best Time to Swim With Dolphins in Dubai?
Generally, the best time to swim with dolphins in Dubai is in the early morning—when they’re particularly active while taking their first meal. In indoor dolphinariums and marine parks, you can swim with them any time of the day. But in open water, you need to consider the time with less traffic to spot active dolphins easily.
Most dolphinariums and marine parks in Dubai operate between 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but their dolphin-related activities usually end at 5:00 PM.
How Long Can You Swim With Dolphins?
The actual activity when you swim with dolphins takes 20 to 30 minutes—from start to finish. However, the entire process, which involves preparation and other related activities, will take 1 to 2 hours. This duration includes check-in and changing processes, orientation with marine specialists, trainers, and instructors, and complimentary water activities.
Where are the Best Dolphinariums, Marine Parks Located?
Dubai is one of the best places to experience unique underwater activities. The best dolphinariums and marine parks are located in the city center or at the coast of Dubai.
Palm Jumeirah Island
Palm Jumeirah is a palm-shaped artificial island composed of three sub-islands: Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island, and Palm Jebel Ali. As a popular tourist location, Palm Jumeirah offers various underwater and aquatic activities hosted by different tour operators.
Creek Park is currently the second-largest park in Dubai, after Mushrif Park. It’s located between the Garhoud and Maktoum bridge. The park offers green spaces, entertainment venues, and recreational facilities.
Preparation Tips And Booking Procedures
You now know the what, when, and why involved in swimming with dolphins, let’s head to the actual preparations and procedures involved in booking the activity.
How to Get to the Best Dolphinariums, Marine Parks in Dubai
Navigating Dubai as a tourist is easy, especially if you plan to partner with a reputable travel and tour company offering whole-day itineraries with pick-up and drop-off services. Many tour operators offer swimming with dolphins tickets with transportation services. However, if you wish to follow your own itinerary and meet with the dolphins on your own, here’s a guide to get to the best dolphinariums and marine parks in Dubai:
How to Get to Palm Jumeirah Island
The majority of dolphinariums and marine parks in Dubai are in the Palm. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Palm Jumeirah Island approximately 1 hour from the city center through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Al Khail Rd/E44.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Palm Jumeirah and its surrounding areas. Take Buses 8, 83, 84, and F55A. If you want to take the metro, your only option is to take the Red Line and alight at the Dubai Internet City or Nakheel. After that, you’ll need to take a taxi. Taxi meters start at 5 AED (1.36 USD) from 6 to 10 PM and 5.50 AED (1.50 USD) from 10 PM to 6 AM.
How to Get to Creek Park
Creek Park is located in the heart of Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the park approximately 10 minutes from the city center through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Riyadh St/D81.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Creek Park and its surrounding areas. Take Buses 10, 28, 66, C15, C7, depending on your origin. If you want to take the metro, take the Green Line and alight at the Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station. It is half-a-mile way away from Creek Park.
What Are the Things Guests Need to Prepare?
You should take packing and preparation seriously before you swim with dolphins in Dubai. What you wear and do should be safe for both humans and dolphins. With that, here are the things you should pack and not pack in a dolphin encounter:
Wear bathing or swimming suits without extra accessories. For women, it’s best to wear one-piece swimsuits. For men, it’s best to wear swimming trunks or rash guards. Accessories like jewelry, watches, and hats are not allowed.
To protect the dolphins, dolphinariums and marine parks discourage the use of lotions, sunscreen, oils, and perfumes before and during the activity. There may be sunscreen products that are safe for aquatic animals and ecosystems, but it’s best not to risk it if you’re not familiar with all the ingredients.
Cameras and other recording equipment are allowed in all areas of the dolphinariums and marine parks, except in the actual dolphin lagoons. Guests are not allowed to bring cameras underwater. You can ask your family members, friends, or nearby trainers to take photos of you on the edge of the water.
Food and Drinks
Dolphinariums and marine parks don’t allow outside food and beverages, but you can bring your own bottle of water. There are restaurants and cafes inside the venues that offer dining options when you go hungry.
Who Offers the Best Swim-With-Dolphins Activities in Dubai?
Dubai is home to various aquatic activities, so you’ll find lots of dolphinariums and marine parks in the city. Some of them are more than just that as they offer other activities and attractions. Swim with dolphins in Dubai with the following tour operators and marine parks:
Dolphin Bay in Atlantis
Dolphin Bay in Atlantis is one of the biggest and most popular dolphin habitats in the world. It’s part of the Kerzner Marine Foundation, serving as the first marine resource and rehabilitation center in Dubai. Dolphin Bay offers various dolphin experiences suitable for all ages.
695 AED (189.21 USD) to 1,195 AED (325.33 USD), depending on the included activities.
Dolphin-related aquatic adventures: dolphin encounter, meet and greet with dolphins, swim and explore, and dolphin trek.
Dolphin Planet of Dubai Dolphinarium
Dolphin Planet is a unique indoor marine park that offers aquatic adventures for all ages. It’s located inside the Creek Park Gate 1 at the Dubai Dolphinarium Building. Dolphin Planet is the first-ever fully air-conditioned indoor dolphinarium in UAE, providing habitat for various marine species.
30 AED (8.17 USD) to 50 AED (13.61 USD) for single entrance tickets to the dolphinarium;
475 AED (129.32 USD) to 2,499.99 AED (680.61 USD) for private and mixed-group swimming sessions.
Dolphin-related aquatic adventures: shallow and deep-knee swim-with-dolphins activities, dolphin and seal shows.
Final Tips For First-Timers Swimming With Dolphins
Dolphins are intelligent and fun creatures; they can give you the best aquatic adventure. If you plan to swim with dolphins in Dubai, take the necessary precaution to protect yourself and the dolphins you’ll encounter. For our final tips for first-timers, listen to the trainers’ instructions carefully, learn everything you need to know about dolphins, wear your swimming equipment properly, and have fun!
What to Do After Swimming With Dolphins in Dubai
Swimming with dolphins and other marine animals is a unique activity that you wouldn’t easily find anywhere else. Still, Dubai offers more aquatic adventures that you shouldn’t miss if you’re a first-timer. It’s time to update your itinerary.
After you swim with dolphins in Dubai, try other family-friendly aquatic adventures like parasailing, snorkeling, and speed boating. If you want to have a whole-day trip filled with various aquatic activities, book a ticket to one of the best waterparks in Dubai.