There are essentially two different types of dolphin swimming experiences on Oahu – either in an enclosed pool with trained dolphins or out in the ocean with wild dolphins. If you opt for an enclosed pool, you may choose from programs with Sea Life Park or Dolphin Quest. If you prefer the ocean experience, there are a variety of companies that offer snorkel boat excursions on the west side of the island, as we discuss in our blog post “Snorkeling on Oahu: West Oahu.”
Sea Life Park is part marine mammal park, part bird sanctuary and part aquarium. For swimming with dolphins specifically, they offer three programs – their Dolphin Encounter, Dolphin Swim Adventure and Dolphin Royal Swim. Each program also includes admission to the rest of the park and complimentary transportation from Waikiki. Sea Life Park has additional marine life interaction options, including a shark tank, swimming with sea lions and a Hawaiian ray encounter. Located on the east side of Oahu, its property has stunning views of the ocean and Makapu’u Lighthouse, with the majestic Ko’olau Mountains to the west.
Dolphin Quest offers a multitude of options, including specialty programs for kids and families. They have a strong focus on education, not just about the dolphins but about being a dolphin trainer as well. Choose from their Dolphin Encounter, Dolphin Adventure, Premier Experience, Dolphin Dip, Trainer for a Day, Kids’ Aquatic Adventure, Wee Family, Fins and Fun, Trainer for a Week or Family Swim Program. They, too, have an encounter with stingrays. Dolphin Quest on Oahu is located at the beautiful and luxurious Kahala Hotel & Resort, just outside of Waikiki.