Discovery, exploration, and adventure aboard The Dolphin Explorer!

Get to know our 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.

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

Great Tour Guide and Captain, Saw many dolphin and collected shells too!

March 2019 We went on the Dolphin Explorer 3/15 at 9am and had master naturalist Bob McConville as our guide and captain Mike. Both guys were wonderful! We saw many birds and a lot of dolphins too (see the photos). Then we stopped at Tigertail beach and they gave us shells bags and we had some time to walk the beach and collect sea shells. Bob took everyone's photo and also photos of the dolphins we saw too. They have a printer on the boat and they printed out the photos and gave them to us before we got off. Now that's a great example of them going above and beyond for their customers on this boat tour. Thanks for doing that for us Bob! We are looking forward to getting your new book Bob, called Beneath the Emerald Waves soon. On the boat they also offer ice cold water to everyone. And they have big binders with photos of all the dolphins around the island, as characterized by the markings on their fin. The binder includes the dolphins name and offspring as well. They have a special game for kids to participate in as well. Everything included in this tour just makes it marvelous. And the bonus is seeing dolphins up close! Thanks guys for a wonderful tour. We will be back. This was my third time on the boat.

– Trip Advisor

March 2019 Really, really impressed with the up-close & personal trip - the crew was wonderful, knowledgeable and very inclusive. They could use a microphone, but it was a real personal touch to sit down with the group — loved the way the dolphins followed the boat !! Will take our grandchildren next year as it was very educational - the crew was very prepared and we loved every bit of it....they had water on board and took pictures of us on the island - how cool was that ?

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 This trip was amazing and so cool to see the dolphins so close to the boat! We had an amazing crew who knew all about the dolphins and where to find them. Thank you for a wonderful experience!

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 It was awe inspiring to see these beautiful creatures in the wild, so close to the boat! The crew was very informative. They know every dolphin by name, along with their history. Great visual learning aids for the kids. Highly recommend this tour.

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 This was our second trip, having visited from the UK last year and we were so impressed we brought two friends with us to share our joy in this experience. The staff are very impressive - educating as well as entertaining us. This is a very well organised unit and offers so much, views of Marco Island, trip to shell island, osprey nests and, of course, amazing interaction with the dolphins. Highly recommend this trip, a definite winner.

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 If the Children are with you, this is a must do; It is only a three hour tour !!! Bob and Eddie know where the Dolphins are and spent little time cruising without a purpose. We saw 11 dolphins. Eddie He knows how to incorporate the dolphins in the show. Cruising along with the dolphins is something the grandchildren will remember for a long time. Bob and Eddie Know how to work with the grandparents as well. I have some difficulties walking at certain times and they were both proactive in making sure I was comfortable and have access to all the activities.

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 The crew shared so much knowledge about the dolphins and they were so friendly and kind! We saw a plethora of dolphins during our trip. The shelling was also really great! Overall a great experience!

– Trip Advisor

FEBRUARY 2019 There was something for everyone...from 4 years olds to 94 year olds. Everyone was given a book with photos and descriptions of the dolphins so we could ID the ones we spotted....and the children were given a quizlet for a contest, for which they were awarded a prize on completion. We saw 21 DIFFERENT dolphins muktiple times that day ...over twice the usual. The boat captain and the naturalist (Bob) were very helpful and knowledgeable. We also found many shells ( Conch, starfish, and others) at our shelling stop. Another thing that I really appreciated is the cancellation of the tour on a day when the weather was dangerous. Plus, our friend decided to refrain from the rescheduledad trip, & her money was promptly refunded. Thanks for an exciting, educational tour

– Trip Advisor
Amazing Dolphins showing God's Majesty

FEBRUARY 2019 This tour with Bob & Eddie was fantastic, one of our favorite things about our vacation. Highly recommend - we saw many dolphins up close and since they take a relatively small group you have a lot of information coming from the naturalist, Bob. He was so extremely knowledgeable and had so much enthusiasm for these incredible animals. I have been on dolphin watching tours before but thought this was the best! The highlight was seeing a mother and newborn pair swim along with us in the boats wake. The stop at the shelling island was great, only wish we had more time there! While there, bob printed off pics he’d taken of us and of the dolphins! At no addl charge to us... a real plus. FEBRUARY 2019

– Trip Advisor
We had a wonderful time and the shipmates Bob and Mike were so interesting, knowing so much about each dolphin!

JANUARY 2019 Be sure to expect to have fun and don't feel bad about asking questions. Everyone on the trip with you will appreciate it. We had a cooler day so wore jackets but the dolphins were active and didn't seem to mind at all. Great trip

– Trip Advisor

JANUARY 2019 Had an amazing trip with Bob and Mike. We saw lots of Dolphins that they could identify by name and habits as they shared their knowledge and humor with us during our three hour boat trip. Highly recommend this professional, educational and fun trip. Must do on a visit to Marco. Island

– Trip Advisor
Exceeded all Expectations!

JANUARY 2019 I can not say enough about this experience. We saw more dolphins than I could ever have imagined. They frequently followed the wake of the boat and also swam so close to the side you could almost reach out and touch them. I was with a group and everyone got frame worthy photos of dolphins jumping in the air, mother and baby and dolphin groups. Bob and Mike were wonderful. I am sure that Bob has made countless trips and yet his level of excitement and engagement made it seem that this trip was a first. The magical, secret beach yielded a treasure of shells and sand dollars for all. We did not have a child with us, but Bob spent time customizing the experience for the kids. I am sure it is a trip they will remember always. The weather was a bit cold, but the dolphins didn't seem to mind so neither did the passengers (dress accordingly). if you are anywhere nearby, this is a must do!

– Trip Advisor
Wonderful 3 hours on the back waters of Marco Island

JANUARY 2019 We were a group of 4 and each one of us were glad we signed up for this particular dolphin and wildlife boat excursion. Kent and Captain Mike showed us so many dolphins including their playful side of leaping behind our boat in the waves and identifying by name each dolphin with individual fin markings. We also saw Giant Blue Heron, bald eagles, ospreys, pelicans close up. A 45 minute stop onto an amazing shell beach of white sand was a beautiful seaside walk. With photo ops galore. Go and enjoy a fascinating morning with nature and cool guides.

– Trip Advisor

JANUARY 2019 My second time and each is unique. Brought my fellow photographers and they said it was their best experience in Florida. It is not a hit or miss experience seeing the dolphins. These guys study them. They know where they are!

– Trip Advisor

JANUARY 2019 Found much better shells on the trip than our trek to Sanibel! Great science lesson from the naturalist. Great piloting by the operator.

– Trip Advisor

JANUARY 2019 We always take our guests on the Dolphin Explorer. This is the best way to get close to dolphins and even watch them play in the wake of the boat. The guide and pilot are very knowledgeable and provide a visual guide to help identify the dolphins by name. Fabulous experience for all ages.

– Trip Advisor

JANUARY 2019 An abundance of dolphin spotting coupled with great educational commentary. Added fun shelling stop, family photos and true respect for all the wildlife we encountered. Go! You will love this trip

– Trip Advisor
Naturalist Bob and Captain Eddie. Exceptional guides

JANUARY 2019 The highlight of our trip to Marco Island! Wanting to travel with scientists and/or naturalists, this eco-tour was exactly what we were looking for. Bob gave us much detail about each & every dolphin. We got lucky on a beautiful, sunny day and spotted many playful dolphins. Bob and Eddie are very experienced in finding them and also very knowledgeable about this particular breed of bottlenose dolphin. DO NOT MISS this exceptional 3-hour excursion with a quick 30 minute island stop for some fantastic shelling.


JANUARY 2019 Kept all of us engaged (kids ages 14, 11 and 8) and learned a lot about local dolphins while spotting quite a few. The Captain was adept at knowing when the dolphins wanted to follow along in the wake and a couple of them provided some out of water acrobatics. Shelling at North End of Tigertail Beach and family photo provided to us were nice touches.

– Trip Advisor

DECEMBER 2018 Our family of 4 (with 2 teenage girls) thoroughly enjoyed this trip! We saw over 15 dolphins, ranging from 15 months old to older adults. They swam right up alongside the boat! Captains Bob and Michael were extremely informative and super friendly. We highly recommend you take this cruise!

Fun day out and a must do if you are visitng Marco Island

DECEMBER 2018 I have been twice on this tour and would go again - it's a great time for all ages. The tour includes about a 3 hour excursion complete with boat ride and a half hour stop on one of the beaches along the route for a swim or to collect shells. The guides are very knowledgeable and friendly. Both times we saw several kinds of wildlife and more than a dozen dolphins.

– Trip Advisor