Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

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Fort Walton Beach: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

 

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach Florida

 

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida is an award-winning marine park that allows visitors to discover the beauty and power of the ocean. With exhibits featuring dolphins, sea lions, penguins, otters, sharks, turtles and more - Gulfarium offers an engaging educational experience suitable for all ages.

Established in 1955 by J.B. "Brandy" Siebenaler, an icon in animal care and welfare, Gulfarium has since blossomed into one of the most progressive and interactive marine parks worldwide. Their mission is to conserve marine life while offering visitors an unforgettable experience.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is an incredible destination that immerses visitors into the world of marine life. From its humble beginnings as a six-sea aquarium, it has blossomed into a premier marine park featuring various exhibits showcasing different marine animals from around the globe.

The park's dedication to animal welfare and conservation efforts make it one of Florida's top tourist destinations. Its innovative educational programs and hands-on experiences make it the ideal spot for families or school groups to learn more about marine life while having a great time at the same time.

No matter if you're into dolphins, penguins, sea lions or any other marine creature - Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park offers something special for everyone. It's a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts who want to learn more about our planet's stunning oceans.

In this article, we will examine Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in great depth: its history and development; current exhibits and attractions; education programs offered to visitors; conservation initiatives undertaken by the park; and much more.

 

Exhibits

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with many marine animals from around the world, such as dolphins, sea lions, penguins, otters, sharks, turtles - you name it! Visitors will love getting to meet dolphins, sea lions, penguins, otters sharks turtles and much more at their exhibits!

Dolphin Show

Gulfarium's dolphin show is undoubtedly its crowning glory. Visitors can marvel at these remarkable creatures as they perform incredible acrobatic feats such as high jumps, backflips and tail walks. Plus, during educational segments hosted by trainers within the park, guests learn about dolphin behavior patterns and conservation initiatives being implemented there.

Sea Lion Show

In addition to the dolphin show, there is also a sea lion show which showcases these playful animals performing tricks such as balancing balls on their noses or playing catch with trainers.

Penguin Habitat

Visitors can observe these curious birds playing in their icy habitat, complete with snow machines to simulate their natural environment.

Otter Oasis

At Gulfarium, these cuddly creatures are always a hit with visitors. You can watch them happily swimming around their habitat while nibbling on fish snacks provided by trainers.

Shark Pool

For those who enjoy getting up close and personal with predators, an exhibit offers visitors a rare chance to observe sharks swimming behind thick glass walls.

Turtle Bayou

This exhibit showcases rescued sea turtles from all over Florida that have been rehabilitated after being injured or sickened due to human activities like fishing nets or boat strikes. In addition, the park actively participates in sea turtle conservation initiatives by working with local organizations to raise awareness about the significance of protecting these animals.

Education Programs

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park strives to educate visitors on the significance of marine conservation and animal welfare. To this end, they offer a range of educational programs for all ages - from guided tours to hands-on experiences.

Guided Tours

Visitors can join guided tours led by knowledgeable staff members who provide comprehensive information about the exhibits as well as the history and philosophy of Gulfarium. These tours are an ideal opportunity for guests to gain more knowledge about marine life while having a great time with family or friends.

Interactive Programs

Gulfarium offers an immersive experience for those seeking a more close-up encounter with marine animals like dolphins, sea lions and penguins. Visitors get up close and personal with these amazing creatures while learning about their behavior patterns and natural habitats.

Conservation Initiatives

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is dedicated to conservation initiatives that protect marine life and their habitats. To this end, they collaborate with local organizations like the Gulf Coast Turtle & Tortoise Society, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), among others.

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Program

The park's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Program strives to provide medical care for injured or sickened sea turtles that have been rescued from the Gulf of Mexico. Once recovered, these turtles undergo rehabilitation until they are healthy enough to be released back into their natural environment. Since 1980, Gulfarium has successfully rehabilitated hundreds of sea turtles before releasing them back into their wild environment.

Marine Mammal Stranding Response Team

Gulfarium plays an essential role in responding to reports of stranded marine mammals along Florida's panhandle region. Their Marine Mammal Stranding Response Team consists of trained professionals who collaborate with other agencies like NOAA Fisheries Service, FWC and local animal rescue organizations to provide medical care and rehabilitation for these rescued creatures.

Research

Gulfarium not only supports conservation efforts, but it also participates in research studies to better understand marine life behavior patterns and factors affecting their survival. Park staff members collaborate with scientists from various universities and research institutions on topics such as dolphin communication, sea turtle migration patterns and shark population dynamics.

 

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park: Ideal For Both Kids and Adults?

Yes, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is an ideal destination for both kids and adults. The park offers a wide variety of attractions and exhibits that cater to different age groups and interests.

For children, the park's interactive programs such as dolphin encounters, sea lion encounters, and penguin encounters provide a fun and educational experience. They can get up close and personal with these amazing creatures while learning about their behavior patterns and natural habitats.

In addition, the park's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Program which aims at providing medical care for injured or sickened sea turtles that have been rescued from the Gulf of Mexico can be an eye-opening experience for children. They can learn about the importance of protecting marine life and how human activities impact their survival.

Adults will also find plenty to enjoy at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. The park's guided tours led by knowledgeable staff members provide detailed information about various exhibits as well as the history and philosophy of Gulfarium. These tours are an excellent way for adults to learn more about marine life while enjoying a fun day out with family or friends.

In addition, adult visitors can participate in interactive programs such as dolphin swims or scuba diving with sharks for a more immersive experience. These experiences allow adults to get closer to marine animals than they ever thought possible while learning about their behavior patterns in their natural habitat.

Overall, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park has something to offer everyone regardless of age or interest. It is a great place for families or groups of friends looking to spend quality time together while learning about our planet's beautiful oceans.

 

Which Days and Hours of Operation Are Available?

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is open seven days a week throughout the year except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The hours of operation vary depending on the time of year. Here are the current operating hours:

- January 1 - February 28: 9 am to 4 pm
- March 1 - May 27: 9 am to 5 pm
- May 28 - September 6: 9 am to 6 pm
- September 7 - November 30:      9 am to 5 pm
- December (except for Dec.25):      10 am to ~4pm

It's important to note that these hours are subject to change without notice, so it's always a good idea to check the park's website or call ahead before planning your visit.

The park may also close early due to inclement weather such as thunderstorms or hurricanes, so visitors should keep an eye on weather reports and plan accordingly.

Additionally, some of the park's exhibits and attractions have limited schedules or require reservations in advance, so visitors should check with the park about availability and booking requirements.

 

History

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park first opened its doors to the public in 1955 as one of Florida's earliest aquariums. At that time it featured only six species - dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, redfishes and mullet - but soon expanded to include other creatures like manatees and seals as well.

J.B. "Brandy" Siebenaler began his career as a dolphin trainer at Marineland of Florida (now Marineland Dolphin Adventure), where he worked for several years before establishing his own facility. He believed that marine mammals could be trained through positive reinforcement techniques rather than punishment or coercion methods commonly used at that time.

Siebenaler's approach was groundbreaking in its day, setting the bar for modern animal training practices around the globe. His philosophy focused on cultivating trusting relationships between trainers and animals based on mutual trust and respect.

Under Siebenaler's leadership, Gulfarium continued to blossom both physically and philosophically. He was an outspoken supporter of animal welfare, leading the park to be recognized as a pioneer in marine mammal care.

After Siebenaler's passing in 1991, the park underwent several ownership changes but maintained its founder's legacy of innovation and compassion towards animals. Nowadays, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is owned by Premier Parks LLC and remains one of Florida's top tourist destinations.

Where To Stay

if you are looking for a place to stay in Fort Walton Beach, Find Rentals.com offers a wide range of vacation rentals to choose from.  Click on Find Rentals Fort Walton Vacation Rentals.

Other Things To Do

Another great place to visit while in the Fort Walton Beach area is The Camp Walton SchoolHouse Musuem

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