Dolphin Marine Conservation Park

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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us and one of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.

General

Can I take my own photos?

Yes, private photos and videos can be taken of any public activity at the park.  Please respect our animals and other visitors and allow plenty of space for our animals. All requests for images and video for commercial use must be approved by management. Please email info@dmcvp.com.au

Do I need to print off my receipt when I buy tickets or vouchers?

No, you do not need to have a printed receipt, just show us the image from your smart phone or quote the receipt number and the name of the guest who bought the tickets or voucher.

Do you have food available on-site?

Yes we do, the Creekside Cafe overlooks Coffs Creek and is open from 8 am weekdays and 7:30 am on weekends for breakfast, and then lunch. Through select school holiday dates, we also offer a Sausage Sizzle in the park at a very reasonable price.  

Check out the Creekside Cafe here >>
Do you have group rates?

Yes we do.  We offer reduced rates for groups of 10 – 25 people and for groups of 26 or more. If you arrive in a coach the driver is free of charge. Please call 02 6659 1910 for group bookings so that we can reserve seating.

How much time should I allow to experience everything at the park?

Please check the daily schedule link on our website before you arrive to check the most up to date & current times.

Is your Marine Dreamtime presentation on every day?

Our main Marine Dreamtime presentation is on every day.

Please head to our daily schedule for the most up to date times.

When are you open?

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is open from 10 am to 2 pm every day. Please check our Facebook page for updates and school holidays. We welcome you to come and meet our animals and support our conservation programs.

Creekside Cafe is open from 8 am to 2 pm weekdays and 7:30 am to 2 pm on weekends to eat in or take away. Fully licensed from 10:30 am so you can enjoy a beer, wine or cocktail with your meal.

Where are you located?

We are located at 65 Orlando Street, Coffs Harbour, NSW which is on the beautiful Mid North Coast 6 hours by car from Sydney or only 4.5 hours from Brisbane. Find out more about getting to our park here.

Which days are the busiest?

Our busiest days are Saturday and Sunday.

Can I bring my assistance dog into the park?

Unfortunately, no. Assistance dogs are not permitted. Due to safety and welfare concerns for our resident animals, and in compliance with NSW government regulations, assistance dogs are not permitted in our marine conservation park. However, you are welcome to attend the park with a carer and one of our team can care for your dog during your visit. You are also welcome to attend our Creekside Cafe with your assistance dog. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please chat with our bookings team on 02 6659 1910 if you need more information.

What do we do at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park?

At Dolphin Marine Conservation Park we inspire visitors to care for marine environments through unique experiences and education.

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is privileged to care for the amazing marine animal ambassadors that call our park home and share them with visitors. And we’re proud to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured marine animals and release them back to their natural ocean homes.

Aside from sharing our animals with visitors, we educate and inspire the next generation to change their behaviour through unique, hands-on education programs at the park. School children of all ages interact with our animals in lessons they will remember forever.

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park also leads the way within the local business and industry community through our partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in their Sustainability Advantage Program. Through these programs, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park helps local businesses to go ‘green’. Our park was recently honoured with a Bronze Partner Award and achieved ‘Zero carbon footprint for waste to landfill’.

For more information on what we do at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, please continue reading our website.

Animals

Do you breed dolphins?

No. We stopped breeding dolphins on the14th March 2018 in response to changing public opinions and to align with our vision as a world class marine conservation organisation.

The dolphins in our care are the prodigy of rescued dolphins that lived in our park and were deemed unreleasable. To ensure optimum welfare all dolphins participate in a comprehensive range of behavioural programs from play to mock foraging for their food. They also voluntarily participate in their health care. While reproduction is no longer part of their lives, the dolphins will continue to experience dynamic and enriching social interactions.

There is strong scientific evidence that supports the link between breeding and the positive welfare of animals under human care that cannot be released back to the wild. We work closely with the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) to ensure that our animals’ welfare remains positive in the absence of our females rearing young.

Are your dolphins captured from the wild?

No. It is against the law in Australia to bring healthy marine mammals into captivity for public exhibition. Dolphin Marine Conservation Park does not support the live capture of any species of wild marine mammal for display.

All our dolphins and seals have either been born under human care or rescued and rehabilitated and deemed unsuitable for release by an independent body, usually National Parks and Wildlife Services. These animals must remain in our care to survive.

We strive to return all rescue and rehabilitation cases to the ocean if possible.

Do you breed any animals at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park?

Many animals have been born at the park including Little Blue Penguin chicks and sea lion pups. Breeding plans for these species are carefully developed in collaboration with organisations such as the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and other zoological facilities within the region. These plans ensure a healthy gene pool and that every animal born or hatched in Australia has a home.

Does Dolphin Marine Conservation Park meet the standards for keeping dolphins?

Every year we must renew our licence from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Does Dolphin Marine Conservation Park rehabilitate marine animals?

Over our 50 year history, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park has rescued, rehabilitated and released thousands of sick or injured marine animals. We are the only facility in NSW licensed to rehabilitate dolphins (cetaceans) on site. In the last 12 months Dolphin Marine Conservation Park was involved in the rescue of over 60 marine animals including dolphins, seals and sea turtles.

These rescue and rehabilitation services are conducted by our charitable trust, Dolphin Marine Rescue Animal Rehab Trust – DMRART – formerly known as the Coffs Harbour Animal Rescue Trust – CHART.  DMRART focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured marine wildlife.

DMRART works closely with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and is currently raising funds to build a specialised triage hospital for both native wildlife and marine animals.

How much time do the animals spend interacting with people at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park?

The ‘Standards for Exhibiting Seals in NSW’ are among the most stringent marine mammal standards in the world. They allow seals to interact with people for up to two hours each day. Presently the NSW dolphin standards do not place any limits on the number of time dolphins are allowed to interact. However, at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park we limit the interaction time to a maximum of two and a half hours a day. This limit includes any time when the animals participate in presentations, educational lessons, swims and other water-based programs, feeding and other interactions with visitors.

It is important to note that these are maximum limits. In reality, the animals spend much less than two and a half hours a day interacting with visitors.

What should you do if you find a sick or injured marine animal?

Contact Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, Dolphin Marine Rescue Animal Rehab Trust (DMRART), or National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) immediately.

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park can be reached on (02) 6659 1910 during office hours.

DMRART can be contacted 0455 591 901

NPWS can be contacted on (02) 6652 0900.

It is important to remember that seals regularly haul to rest on beaches and rocks.  This is not a sign that they need help, but if you are worried about them please contact either Dolphin Marine Conservation Park or National Parks and Wildlife Services on the numbers provided above.  Please do not approach these animals and make sure you keep your domestic animals at bay. Wild animals may have an illness that might be transferable to you or your pet.

What experience and qualifications do your team members have?

Our team members come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Roughly half of the marine team come from a marine science background and have studied at university before beginning their career in the care of animals. Other members of the team have previous experience at other parks and have formal zoo keeping and animal management qualifications which is the benchmark qualification for anyone working in a zoological facility in Australia. In all, the small team of animal carers at the park have over 100 years of combined experience in the care of marine animals.

No matter their background, the one thing that all our team members have in common is a passion for marine conservation and a love for the animals in their care. Not only do the marine team frequently volunteer their own time, day or night, to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured marine life at the park but many members of the team also volunteer their time to help other animal rescue groups or voluntarily assist organisations such as the New South Wales National Parks And Wildlife Services in scientific research.

Why can’t your animals be released into the wild?

The animals at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park are unable to be released into the wild due to either injury that they have previously sustained in the wild (the reason they were rescued) or because they have been born under human care and don’t possess the necessary skills needed to survive in the open ocean.

Past attempts that have been made to retrain animals that have lived under human care for release into the wild have not only been notoriously expensive but also has a very slim track record of success. Even Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, noted in his article “The cult of Animal Celebrity” (Animal People: June 1995) that money spent attempting to release high profile animals back into the wild is wasted money that could have been better spent highlighting other major environmental issues.

Many famous release attempts have ended tragically for the animals released including Keiko, the Orca made famous in Free Willy, who died suddenly after tens of millions of dollars were spent attempting to train him for release back into the wild or the dolphins from the Atlantis Marine Park in Western Australia who either vanished upon release and are assumed to have died or had to be returned to human after being found in extremely poor health.

Although our animals cannot be released, we provide our animals with the best possible care at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. And, by offering close-up experiences with our animals, guests are inspired to conserve and protect the wild animals that live in our oceans.

In-Water Experiences

Can my children get in the water with the dolphins?

Yes they can. They do have to meet specific age requirements, and advanced bookings are essential. Please call bookings on 02 6659 1910 for more information. Please note that seal swims are currently unavailable. 

Do I need to print off my receipt when I buy tickets or vouchers?

No you do not need to present a printed receipt, just show us the image from your smartphone or quote the receipt number and the name who bought the tickets or voucher.

If I am pregnant can I get in the water with the dolphins?

No. 

Although our animals are all well trained and very friendly, some weigh more than 150 kilos and could accidentally cause harm or injury if they were to bump against you during your program.

If I have a disability can I get in the water with the dolphins?

Yes. Provided safety conditions are met, people with special needs can enter the water with our dolphins. We need to know if you are mobile and can follow directions from our team. If not, your personal carer can assist you in the water, free of charge. We offer special experiences all year round. Ask our friendly bookings team for more information on 02 6659 1910.

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Aboriginal Artwork

We acknowledge the Gumbaynggirr people
who are the traditional custodians of this land.
We pay respect to the Elders, both past and present,
of the Gumbaynggirr Nation and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. 

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