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Back to DolphinLab Teen Main Course List

Teen Basic DolphinLab

Course Information

Teen Basic DolphinLab is an experiential learning program that surveys a wide range of knowledge, theories and ongoing research concerning dolphins, the marine environment, and related issues. In this terrific introductory course, students meet our resident dolphin, sea lion, and bird families, learning to identify and respect each as an individual. Through observation time, live demonstrations, and interactive programs, students will foster special connections with DRC’s animal family, and learn from the best teachers - the dolphins and sea lions!  

Teen Basic DolphinLab is an experiential, hands-on program that encourages critical thinking and group discussions. It is designed to inspire students to pursue a career within the marine mammal field. The week includes a unique blend of hour-long informative, discussion-based seminars on various topics such as Common bottlenose dolphin physiology and anatomy, training and husbandry care, conservation, and more! Students have the opportunity to speak with various professionals in the field to hear first-hand about both the rewards and challenges of a career in an animal field. Class sizes average eight to ten students to ensure individualized instruction.

The program runs Sunday through Friday. Photo ID is required at pick up on Friday in order for us to sign out your teen. Additional information and required waivers and forms are provided in the Welcome Packet emailed to each teen and parent if the applicant is selected as a program participant.  

If you would like to come to Dolphin Research Center while your teen is attending DolphinLab, you must pay daily general admission or purchase a DRC membership. We respectfully request that you do not interfere with the programs in which the teen participates. Sometimes just seeing a parent can disrupt the momentum of an activity.

Seminars May Include:

  • Acoustics and Communication

  • Conservation

  • Coral Reef Ecology

  • Dolphin Intelligence

  • Dolphin Physiology and Anatomy

  • Husbandry

  • Marine Mammal Law

  • Marine Mammal Strandings

  • Maternity

  • Research at DRC

  • Training

Hands-On Interactive Programs Include:

  • One Dolphin Splash session

  • Two Dolphin Encounter sessions

  • One signal session from the dock

Additional Activities Include:

  • Local Environmental/Educational Field Trip(s)

  • Medical Demonstration

  • Observation Time

  • Research Workshop

  • Signal Workshop

  • Training Demonstration

  • Training Workshop

Accommodations During the Week of DolphinLab:

Lodging is available onsite at the DRC Residence for up to five (5) teens. The teens are supervised by our DolphinLab Chaperone when at the Residence, and all meals are provided each day of the program. The DRC Residence is available on a first-come, first-served basis for the first five (5) teens who are selected for the program and indicate on their application that they want to stay at the Residence.

DolphinLab participants who do not stay in the residence and their parents must secure their own accommodations at one of the many local hotels or resorts in Marathon. For teens who are 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 teen and parent. 

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 Teen Basic DolphinLab is $1,600.00 (US) without lodging and meals, or $2,050.00 (US) including lodging and all meals during the program. Tuition also includes all seminars, activities, interactive programs, a field trip, and digital photographs of the teen’s dolphin interactions throughout the week.   

Tuition does not include transportation to and from any airport, or to and from DRC each day if the teen is not staying in the DRC Residence. It is the parent and teen’s responsibility to secure transportation.

We know there are many teens whose interest and passion to pursue a career with marine mammals exceeds their bank account. We are excited to announce that, through the generous donation of a DRC Member, the Ariel Aboody Guterman Memorial Teen Basic DolphinLab Scholarship was created. Please visit the Teen DolphinLab Scholarship Opportunities page to learn more and download the application once DolphinLab enrollment opens within the month of January 2023.


Teen Basic DolphinLab is available to individuals ages 15-17. Your teen must be within the age range stated for the Lab at the time the program occurs.

The applicant should have a strong desire to learn about marine mammals. Teen Basic DolphinLab is an academically rigorous program, and is not designed for someone who simply desires a vacation with dolphins. The applicant should also have an interest in pursuing a career within the marine mammal field.


Enrollment Requirements

  1. Both the teen applicant and the parent/legal guardian must complete the “Teen Basic DolphinLab: Parent and Teen Applicant Orientation and the Application Process” webinar. Watch the required webinar here while enrollment is open. The webinar is unavailable when the Lab is closed and filled. 
    A transcript of this required webinar is available upon request for anyone who is hearing impaired. Please email to request the transcript.

  2. The teen applicant must complete the Teen Basic DolphinLab application available on DRC’s website. Correspondence in regards to this program is expected to take part between the applicant and supervisors. Parents are encouraged to mentor their teen during the application process. The completed application must be received by the date indicated on the application for the teen to be considered for the program. Applications received after this date will not be considered. 

  3. The teen applicant is required to ask for two (2) letters of recommendation (from a non-family member) from past work/volunteer/camp experience and/or character reference. The recommendations should come from individuals the applicant has known for six months or longer. The first and last name, and an active professional email address for each person must be included on the teen’s application. It is the teen's responsibility to ensure the letter of recommendation email addresses are correct when provided on their application. 

Once the application is received by the Education department, a member of the Education team will email a link to the people listed on the application. The email will come from The link will allow the people writing the endorsements to complete their recommendation, and return it directly to the Education team for review.

The Education team will review the teen’s application materials. Only completed applications with associated materials will be reviewed and considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all materials have been received by the DRC Education team.

If selected for Teen Basic DolphinLab

  • A Welcome Packet with additional information and required waivers will be sent after receipt of the deposit, and once the class has been confirmed to run. All required waivers must be returned to the Education department by the deadline indicated on the application. Waivers not received by this date will result in the automatic removal of the teen from the Lab, and a refund will not be authorized. It is the responsibility of the parent and teen to ensure all required waivers are completed and returned by the deadines indicated in the Welcome Packet. 

  • Full payment is due 60 days before the start date of the program. Payment not received by this date will result in the automatic removal of the teen from the Lab, and a refund will not be authorized.

Related Links


Enrollment for the 2023 Teen Basic DolphinLab is closed. Thank you for your interest in applying, and please check the Course Dates page and this page for any changes. Otherwise, we look forward to receiving your application for 2024! 


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.
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