“ Address: Bahar ic-Caghaq, Malta / Country: Malta / World Region: Europe/ Activities: Swim with dolphins „
A few years ago I went to Malta with my husband and two children for a one week holiday. During our holiday I was surprised to see an advertisement for the Mediterraneo Marine Park in Sliema, which offered the unusual opportunity of swimming with dolphins.
I loved the idea of this and so tried to book this event for my two children, believing it to probably be a great experience. But, unfortunately for us, this event is very popular and we couldn't be fitted in. I was told that this experience usually needs to be booked about a week or more in advance, especially in the summer when the marine park is at its busiest. The manager of the hotel where we were staying even went so far as to contact a friend of his who worked at the Marine Park, but sadly he was told that it was completely full for the next week. This was a disappointment but there was nothing we could do. We continued to enjoy our stay in Malta.
More recently we decided to return for another holiday in Malta. We booked for a two week stay at the Paradise Bay hotel. Once this was booked I decided I would once again try to book the dolphin swim but this time to secure the swim I would try to book well in advance and from England, months before our holiday date. And so, before even leaving for our holiday, I found the website for the Mediterraneo Marine Park and made enquiries. It was expensive but I felt it should be a memorable event and worth footing the bill.
It was quite easy to book. There was an exchange of a few emails between myself and the park. I was dealt with speedily and with politeness. I was informed that the cost would include a towel, flip flops (which had to be worn in the dolphin swim area for the sake of hygiene) a free soft drink, entrance to the park for the swimmers (spectators had to pay entrance fee) and transport for the four of us to and from our hotel. I was instructed to contact the park on my arrival to arrange a day and a suitable time.
After arriving in Malta and settling into the hotel, I rang the park and was given a choice of morning or afternoon for the dolphin swim, but advised that it would be a more comfortable day if I chose morning rather than the heat of the afternoon.
We were collected from the hotel early in the morning by a mini bus. The sun shone relentlessly, even though it had not long risen.The driver stopped to collect a few more holiday makers who were also looking forward to their adventure.
Malta is a small island and it doesn't take too long to travel from one end to the other so it didn't take too long to arrive at the park, which is on the outskirts of Sliema.
On arrival, we were greeted and taken to a dedicated room where my children were instructed as to what they should and shouldn't do around the dolphins. This was for the well-being mainly of the dolphins. They were spoken to about conservation and respect for sea life. We were asked about their abilities as swimmers. Although children of eight can participate stronger swimmers can go deeper into the pool. Both my children are good, confident swimmers.
I had already found out as much information as I could about the park and the dolphin swim but once again we heard that the dolphins were rescue dolphins. I think they had been kept in poor conditions in eastern Europe.
The children were supplied with their wetsuits, towels and flip flops and shown to the changing room. Everyone participating had to shower first. They were both excited and, understandably, a little nervous.
We then met them at the area where the swim was to take place. This consists of a large pool. The water, we were told, is kept a fairly cold because this suits these bottle nosed dolphins. There were staggered stone seats, a little like a Greek amphitheatre. From here my husband and I could watch the swim. We didn't choose to swim ourselves, mainly due to the expense, but were happy enough to enjoy the experience our children were having.
Small groups were taken to the side of the pool and one by one given close access to these beautiful creatures. My son and daughter were gradually encouraged to touch the dolphins and swim a few metres holding on to their fin. Once it could be seen that they were confident and sensible they swam, with the dolphin pulling them along.
At one point a dolphin laid on its back and a swimmer held a fin either side. The dolphin swam with them around the pool.
The swim ended with the dolphin 'kissing' its new friend!
My children returned to us, full of smiles and clearly moved by this incredible experience. They both said that this was a terrific experience, never to be forgotten.
The price for this experience is currently:
Swim Programme-120 Euros
Spectators-15 Euros (children and senior citizens-10.50 Euros)
For further information on the marine Park and the dolphin swin experience please see: