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The Dolphin Explorer

The Finest Dolphin Study / Eco-Tour on Marco Island


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Discovery, exploration, and adventure aboard The Dolphin Explorer!

Join our dolphin research team and get to know the local dolphins on our Marco Island dolphin cruise – both fun and educational! Launched February 1, 2006, the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project is a long-term study of the abundance, distribution, movement, association patterns, and behavior of bottlenose dolphins of Southwest Florida. Located on Marco Island with close proximity to Naples and the Everglades, we offer a one of a kind tour!

The Project is the only on-going study of wild dolphins in SW Florida and the only one in the United States that engages and is supported by the general public.

Using ‘photo-identification,’ our dolphins are recognized by their dorsal fins which act as their ‘fingerprints.’

You have the opportunity to participate in locating, counting, and confirming of individual dolphin sightings on our exciting Marco Island eco-tour. For more about the study, visit our dolphin survey results.

Rated 5 Stars on TripAdvisor

WOW!!! Wonderful experience!

July 2022 Wow!!! We enjoyed our Dolphin and Shelling Excursion so very much!!! It was one of the highlights of our trip to lovely Marco Island!!! The boat was very comfortable and Captain Bill and Naturalist Bob did a great job making sure we were comfortable and safe!! We were thrilled to see 11 dolphins on this trip and several birds as well!! A couple of dolphins jumped and played in the wake of our boat which was so exciting!! There was even a manatee near a sand bar which Bob pointed out to us. We then went to Sand Dollar Spit and got out of the boat and collected many beautiful seashells along the shore!!! Some people even found whole sand dollars!! They provide a bag for your treasures and a HD photo of you and your friend/family. Totally worth the money paid for this excursion!!! Will do it again if back on Marco Island in the future!!!!

– Trip Advisor
Worth it

July 2022 We had a great time! Our guide, naturalist ,and captain were very informative. The dolphins chased our boat! Highly recommend!

– Trip Advisor
Great experience, Well worth it, Lots of extras

July 2022 Booked this experience last minute (day before) and boy, I'm glad we did! Boat was spacious and wasn't overly crowded, which we enjoyed. Bob was great! So knowledgeable about the area and dolphins. Wonderful interactions with the kids. I love that they offered a "little explorer" activity book with clipboard to keep the kids engaged. I've been on a few dolphin cruises various places, and by far this had the most to offer. Not only looking for dolphins, but identifying them. Great touch stopping off at the beach to shell, providing a shell bag, taking family pics, and giving u printed pics to bring home.

– Trip Advisor
What a Blast!

July 2022 WOW, what can I say. There were 19 family members on the tour. 5 were 16 or younger. There were 4 who had gone on the tour before. My wife and I have been on this tour since 2015. We were taken out by Capt Eddie and James. What an adventure. I saw more dolphin in one group(9-11) than I have ever seen before. James provided expert commentary and everyone had a blast. Everyone was still talking about the tour 3 days later. While every tour is different, Capt Eddie has been a constant. It was worth every penny we spent. BTW - we will be doing the tour again in Nov 22.

– Trip Advisor
Well done Dolphin Watch Tour

June 2022 This was such a great time. Bob and Capt. Eddie did a great job and well done. We were a family of 10 with 4 kids, one 11-year-old and three 6-year olds, and they were very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the shelling as well. The 6-year olds especially liked putting their shell treasures in their bags. They enjoyed the booklet that Bab handed them to fill and about Dolphins and other marine life. And then went home with a special badge for their work. btw, 'Meeting' the Dolphins was also great, and the kids enjoyed their playfulness The trip was very well worth the price and the people were great. Allie at the 'front' was very welcoming and explained so well. We felt very happy about this time and meeting everyone. We will do this again when back in the area Thank You Bob, Capt. Eddie and Allie

– Trip Advisor

June 2022 We did a lot of dolphins tours in the past 10 years. But this one must get an award. Start at the counter, the lady was perfect. Then the tour. The tour is hosted by two people, the boat’s captain and then the dolphins specialist with a scientific background. In our tour, it was Bob. Believe it or not, they know how to recognize the dolfins since these dolphins are like “permanent” to the Marco’s Islands. They do not migrate in a certain way. So the guys are able to name all of them by their “names”. They can say this one is the mother of that one etc …. We saw a minimum of 15 dolphins. Very rich content. Bring the kids… they will like it.

– Trip Advisor
Best dolphin boat ride

June 2022 Our family of of 9 had a great time on this boat ride . The staff was friendly and it was a very interactive and educational tour . Bob the naturalist and Eddie the captain were great tour guides! We saw a lot of dolphins and a manatee . Provided water for everyone on the boat as well shelling bags for the island stop . Bathroom on boat is convenient when traveling with little kids . I would definitely recommend!!!

– Trip Advisor