Skip to main content
  • Image for Slide #1
  • Image for Slide #2
  • Image for Slide #3
< Back

Back to DolphinLab Adult Main Course List

Career Series: Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab

Course Information

Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab is a six day course that provides students with a hands-on immersive experience into the world of marine mammal science, with an emphasis on Common bottlenose dolphins, and the excitement of sharing these scientific discoveries with the public through educational interpretation.

By working with staff on Dolphin Research Center research studies, students gain a greater understanding of the cognitive abilities and social behavior of these amazing animals. As they are introduced to DRC and its resident dolphin population, students continue to learn to respect each dolphin as an individual through observation of their unique behavioral and physical characteristics.

Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab also aims to improve student understanding and appreciation of the marine environment, demonstrate the importance of education and interpretation at zoological facilities and how this plays a key role in inspiring guests to care about conservation, and how to effectively communicate with and educate guests. Students work closely with our knowledgeable educators to establish a foundation of how to be an effective interpreter, and the importance of fostering personal connections between guests and the marine mammals in our care. 

At the completion of the Lab, students demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to create an on-microphone narration of a live behavior session with the dolphins to demonstrate their animal interpretation skills for DRC’s public visitors. This narrated session focuses on thinking games and research that the students experienced during the week of DolphinLab. Utilizing information and concepts learned in Adult Basic DolphinLab, and further developed during Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab, students learn the critical role zoological facilities play in contributing to scientific knowledge about marine mammals, and educating the public about natural and anthropogenic threats to the marine environment and the animals that call it home.

Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab includes a unique blend of interactive experiences from the floating docks and in the water with the dolphins, as well as interesting discussion-based seminars, informal observation and dolphin ID time, and the opportunity to speak with and learn from professionals in the field. Students continue fostering their relationship with the dolphins and sea lions that began during Adult Basic DolphinLab.

Class sizes average eight to twelve students to ensure individualized instruction. 

The program runs Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon. Additional information and details, start and end times, and required waivers and forms are provided in the Welcome Packet emailed to each participant once the course is confirmed to run.

Seminars May Include:

  • DRC’s Current Research

  • How to Talk Research 

  • Cognition Discussion

  • Interpretation and Education

Hands-On Activities & Interactive Programs Include:

  • Assist research staff in conducting research sessions

  • Learn to conduct behavioral observations

  • One Dolphin Encounter session

  • One Play with a Dolphin session

Accommodations During the week of DolphinLab:

Lodging is available onsite at the DRC Residence for up to six (6) adults for a fee of $100.00 per night, and occupancy is available Sunday through Thursday nights only. Each adult is responsible for purchasing and preparing breakfast and dinner each day of the program, and for completing after-meal cleaning and general cleaning tasks while staying at the DRC Residence. The DRC Residence is available on a first-come, first-served basis for the first six (6) adults who indicate on their application that they want to stay at the Residence. 

DolphinLab participants who do not stay in the residence must secure their own accommodations at one of the many local hotels or resorts in Marathon. For adults not staying in the DRC Residence, lunch and snacks are provided each day of the program, but all other meals are the responsibility of the adult. 

Dolphin Research Center partners with local hotels in an effort to offer participants discounted rates on accommodations. Partner hotels are not available in advance as the hotels that choose to participate vary from year to year. A list of participating hotels, details, rates, and booking instructions are provided in the Welcome Packet emailed to each participant once a Lab is confirmed to run. Dolphin Research Center does not handle bookings or payments for any of the participating establishments.


Tuition for Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLab is $1,800.00 (US). Tuition includes all seminars, activities, interactive programs, digital photographs taken from various dolphin interactions throughout the week, and lunch and snacks each day of the program. 

Tuition does not include:

  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner each day
  • Transportation to and from any airport, or to and from Dolphin Research Center each day. 


Students must successfully complete Adult Basic DolphinLab before attending Marine Mammal Research and Interpretation DolphinLabApplicants are expected to have a strong interest in marine mammal science and careers in the field, and be able to participate in an academically and physically rigorous schedule. The course is available to all students ages 18 and up. The student may enroll in more than one Lab within the same season; however, Dolphin Research Center reserves the right to determine whether the Career Series Labs are an appropriate fit for the student based on his/her performance in Adult Basic, or other Career Series courses previously completed. If you simply want a vacation with dolphins, the Career Series courses are not the right fit for your goals, as these courses are quite rigorous and intensive.

Related Links


The 2023 Adult DolphinLab season is complete! Please check the Course Dates web page in November or December for the 2024 course dates. Enrollment opens sometime within the month of January 2024, and is announced on the Course Dates page. See you next year! 


Questions? Please email so the Education team can help!  

Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Logo
  • Twitter Logo
  • Instagram Logo