Are you looking to get up close and personal with live dolphins and seals? Look no further than Dolphin Marine Magic Park in the coastal town of Coffs Harbour. This relatively small marine life park is home to several bottle nose dolphins, Australian sea lions, little penguins, turtles and more.
Park admission tickets allow for a free smooch from a dolphin and seal cuddle before each show.
The dolphin kiss tickles a bit and can take you by surprise (note: Ella’s face). The staff take photos of all the experiences that you can purchase at the end. They print all the pictures or you can choose to get a digital copy in addition or in place of the printout.
We lined up to see the dolphins 1st and quickly received our kisses. They direct you next to where they have a seal stationed towards the park entrance. Once we made our way over the seals, the line was much longer. There was a good reason though as they needed to switch out seals from time to time to allow them to rest. My suggestion might be to line-up for the seal first and then dolphin. They had multiple dolphins giving kisses too so the line moved faster.
Next we found seats in the main pool for the dolphin and seal show.
The seals were up first and we saw similar stunts to other shows we have seen at Sea World and other zoos. One did a handstand on the rock display, another balanced a ball on its nose and other played catch with a child volunteer. They talked about the rescue efforts and their standard care for the animals. The Australian Sea Lions are currently endangered and Marine Magic has runs a successful breeding program. The trainers seemed to be passionate about the mammals and their wellbeing.
Next the dolphins had their moment in the spotlight. They mostly leaped in and out of the water. Even snatching fish from adult volunteers standing on a podium. Dolphins are such amazing mammals and one of my favorite to watch. So much so that I plan to swim with them next month in their natural habitat.
Following the show, the girls elected to each do one of the park’s add-on experiences. Aubrey selected to do the Meet the Dolphin and Ella wanted the Meet the Seal experience. These come at an additional cost but allow for small groups to spend a few minutes interacting with the animals. These two experiences are done from outside the water but other in water experiences were available for a higher price.
Meet the Dolphin Experience
Aubrey was up first for the Meet the Dolphin. She was in a small group of four and they took turns petting, playing ball, and feeding the dolphins while learning facts from the trainer.
The experience came with a photo of Aubrey shaking the dolphin’s flipper.
While we were waiting on Ella’s experience, we were able to watch the dolphins enjoy some free swim time. They were happy flying through the air on their own.
Meet the Seal Experience
Ella was up next for her Meet the Seal experience. This was done at the same place we had our seal hugs earlier in the day. There were only two kids doing this experience so Ella had lots of quality time with the Australian Sea Lion. She spent some time giving her a gentle rub, feeding, playing ball and cuddling.
Ella received a print of her seal smooch and announced the whiskers tickled her cheek. We were allowed to take photos too from nearby.
Once the experiences concluded, we spent a few minutes walking around the remainder of the park. There were penguins and other sea animals to admire.
During the school holidays, the park hosted an additional reptile show. The building (seen below) was small and crowded so did not take any pictures of the reptiles. The most important thing the kids took away from the expert was what to do if you encounter a snake.
One last animal we saw while standing in the seal line was a peacock and he seemed to be posing for us!
There are several picnic tables and a café available on site for food options. The park offers 2-3 main shows a day depending on time of year. My suggestion would be to get there for the early show during school holidays to avoid some of the crowds.
Overall, we really enjoyed our time at Dolphin Marine Magic and found the staff to be very outgoing and friendly.