Dolphin Experience

Dolphin Discovery

Experience the Dolphins Like Never Before

Dolphin Discovery, the Aquarium's largest exhibit, first opened in 1990 and is home to our colony of six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins

This exhibit is open for visitors to stop in as many times as they'd like. Guests get a glimpse into the daily life of a dolphin—how they learn, play and interact with each other—and can chat with our marine mammal experts to discover what it's like to care for, teach and build relationships with these incredible animals. On the day of your visit, download the free mobile app on your Apple or Android device, or check the digital screens located at the entrance, in Harbor Overlook and just across the bridge in Pier 4 for the most up-to-date talk times.

The Animals

  • Four females: Jade, Spirit, Bayley and Chesapeake
  • Two males: Beau and Foster

All six dolphins at the National Aquarium were born in an aquarium or zoological park. Chesapeake was the first dolphin born at the National Aquarium, and she is the mother of our youngest dolphin, Bayley.

Bottlenose dolphins live in a matriarchal society, due to the level of care that females provide to their young. Males live in separate, smaller social groups called bachelor groups or alliances. Here at the National Aquarium, the animals live in what we call a nursery group, which consists of the females and pair-bonded males. For all bottlenose dolphins, the colony structure represents a complex social group that provides essential relationships.

Exhibit Staff

Our marine mammal specialists are responsible for the everyday care of our dolphins, including medical care, diet and nutrition, teaching and learning, research and of course a lot of playtime.

We have staff who work in this exhibit full time, and we have additional team members who assist with the veterinary care of the colony.

While some of the work our staff does with our dolphins takes place behind the scenes, most is done throughout the day while guests are enjoying the exhibit. Our marine mammal experts facilitate a number of different sessions: Some are focused on teaching brand new behaviors, others are dedicated to husbandry and some consist entirely of playtime.

Animals in This Exhibit

  • Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

    This dolphin has a robust body with a short stubby rostrum (beak), which earned it the name "bottlenose."

    Atlantic bottlenose dolphin

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Animal Rescue Program

National Aquarium Animal Rescue has successfully rescued, treated and returned more than 100 animals to their natural habitats.

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