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Animal Care & Wellness

A Top Priority at Dolphin Quest

Dolphin Quest was founded in 1984 by Dr. Jay Sweeney and Dr. Rae Stone, veterinarians specializing in marine mammal care, who are recognized throughout the world as leaders in marine mammal medicine, scientific study, and animal management.

Their dream of creating enriching and educational marine animal interactive programming was made possible through strong partnerships and connections to the local community and in the field of marine mammal science. Dolphin Quest, through the conviction of its crew, operates under the guidance of the mission, vision, and core values.

Dolphin Quest's Goals

  • Provide spacious and naturally enriching dolphin habitats
  • Maintain strong training philosophies, resources, and crew
  • Provide state of the art healthcare and training
  • Innovative educational programs
  • Opportunities for people to explore the fascinating world of the dolphins and other marine life
  • Support for vitally important marine mammal conservation and science
  • A fun and professionally rewarding environment for crew members
  • Sensational service, giving our visitors the best possible experience
  • Accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)

Animal care and wellness are achieved in a wide variety of ways at Dolphin Quest. Read more about our work below!

brushing dolphin teeth
swimming dolphin

Mental and Physical Wellness

  • It is an everyday goal for all Dolphin Quest marine mammal specialists to provide all our animals with positive mental and physical stimulation.
  • This is accomplished by training, marine mammal specialist/animal relationships, physical exercise, and environmental enrichment.
  • Dolphin Quest has developed a training program that enhances our animal’s lives by providing opportunities for problem solving, game playing, physical exercise, and a great deal of variability.
  • Through our teacher/learner model of training, our animals are cooperative partners in their learning. They are empowered by the ability to choose how they participate, when they participate, and what level of engagement is reinforcing for them. This positive learning model fosters engaged and interested animal partnerships.
swimming dolphin

Animal Health and Wellness

  • Animal health and wellness are paramount in the Dolphin Quest community.
  • The most important set of behaviors that are conditioned and maintained are the ones that directly relate to animal health and wellness.
  • Preventative health care behaviors that are conditioned range from voluntary measurements, weights, and full body examinations to voluntary blood and urine sampling.
  • By conditioning these medical behaviors, collecting biomedical samples on a regular schedule and carefully assessing our family of dolphins, we can provide our animals with the best preventative medical care possible.

Interactive Programming and Animal Partnerships

  • Interactive encounter programming is at the core of Dolphin Quest operations.
  • These hands-on experiences are managed to be enriching for the guests, marine mammal specialists, and animals.
  • Our animals are managed according to their strengths, taking part in elements that fit their abilities, interest levels, and skill set.
  • As this is just one facet of an animal’s day, their time is tracked daily to ensure their participation is monitored and developed.

Habitat and Social Enrichment

  • Dolphin Quest habitats are natural open water systems that maintain a variety of natural marine plant and fish species.
  • This natural environment provides our animals with a magnitude of mental and physical stimulation.
  • The social structure of our animals is managed to provide an enriching social group for all animals.
dolphin with hula hoop

Enrichment Devices (Toys and Props)

  • The environmental enrichment program at Dolphin Quest is a well thought out and essential part of our animals’ lives.
  • Marine mammal specialists use their creativity and spontaneity for the creation and use of different toys and props.
  • Any enrichment device found in the Dolphin Quest lagoons has been carefully reviewed for animal safety and reinforcement value.
dolphin with hula hoop


  • As part of our commitment to global stewardship, Dolphin Quest is dedicated to conservation and the advancement of marine mammal science to assist to provide the highest standard of care to our animals.
dolphin lung study