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Hawaii FAQ

FAQ & Tips

Dolphin Quest Hawaii Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

  1. Where is Dolphin Quest Hawaii located?
  2. Do we have to pay for parking at the Hilton?
  3. Are you part of the Hilton?
  4. Do you have to be a hotel guest at the Hilton to participate in a Dolphin Quest program?
  5. How far in advance do you take reservations?
  6. How do you make a reservation if you are staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village?
  7. How quickly do your programs fill up?
  8. What are the minimum guest requirements for participating in a Dolphin Quest program?
  9. Does Dolphin Quest welcome guests with special needs?
  10. When and how do I pay for my program?
  11. What is your Cancellation Policy?
  12. When do I check in for my scheduled program?
  13. Do your program times ever change?
  14. Do you offer changing areas or lockers?
  15. Does Dolphin Quest provide towels?
  16. Do you offer a “wait list” when programs are completely booked?
  17. Can I take pictures with my own camera during the program?
  18. How can I purchase my photos?
  19. Do you offer video of the programs?
  20. Does Dolphin Quest have a gift shop?
  21. Can I use the Hilton pools while on property?
  22. Does Dolphin Quest have dolphin shows?
  23. When is the next dolphin feeding?
  24. How many Dolphin Quest locations do you have?
  25. How does Dolphin Quest care for its dolphins?

1. Where is Dolphin Quest Hawaii located?

Dolphin Quest Hawaii is located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, about 30 miles north of Kailua-Kona.

  • The address for Dolphin Quest Hawaii and the Hilton Waikoloa Village is: 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Dr., Waikoloa, HI 96738
  • From Kailua-Kona, please allow 45-60 minutes to travel to Dolphin Quest.
  • Click here for directions to the Hilton Waikoloa Village from the airport.
  • From the airport, please allow 30 minutes to travel to Dolphin Quest.
  • Please allow yourself about 30 minutes walking time from the hotel’s parking area to Dolphin Quest.
  • Dolphin Quest is located on the ocean side of the Lagoon Tower.
  • It is wheelchair and stroller accessible, but please feel free to ask for directions upon arrival to avoid staircases. 
  • Click here to view a map of the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

2. Do we have to pay for parking at the Hilton?

You do not have to pay for self-parking if you have a Dolphin Quest reservation.

  • The Hilton Waikoloa Village charges for self-parking and valet for non-Dolphin Quest guests.
  • You can call 808.886.1234 for current parking rates.
  • Guests who participate in Dolphin Quest programs may request parking validation from Dolphin Quest during check in.

3. Are you part of the Hilton?

  • No. Dolphin Quest Hawaii is a separate company from the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
  • The Hilton is our hotel partner.
  • Dolphin Quest is not owned or operated by the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

4. Do you have to be a hotel guest at the Hilton to participate in a Dolphin Quest program?

  • No. Anyone visiting Hawaii, including local residents, can experience a Dolphin Quest program.

5. How far in advance do you take reservations?

Reservations can be made up to one year in advance. 

  • Book now with our online reservation system, or call our Central Reservations office at 800.248.3316 (daily – view hours of operation).
  • For international callers please dial 540.687.8102.
  • For more information please fill out our Contact Us Form.  
  • Please note that some programs are not available through the online reservation system and must be reserved through our Central Reservations Office.

6. How do you make a reservation if you are staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village?

There are a variety of ways to make a reservation with Dolphin Quest while at the Hilton.

  • Call Dolphin Quest at extension 1216 or 2875 from your room phone or any hotel house phone.
  • Visit the Dolphin Quest check-in desk at DQ Village.
  • Book now with our online reservation system.
  • Call our Central Reservations office at 800.248.3316 (daily – view hours of operation).

7. How quickly do your programs fill up?

Our programs fill up quickly during the busy summer and holiday seasons.

  • We have a limited number of spaces for the various programs offered daily.
  • We occasionally have cancellations, so if you are unable to reserve a spot, contact the Dolphin Quest check-in desk and ask about our wait list.

8. What are the minimum guest requirements for participating in a Dolphin Quest program?

Our goal is to make all encounters safe and exciting for the dolphins and guests, so we have some basic requirements for all participants:

  • Participants must be able to follow directions and instructions provided by the program trainer and other Dolphin Quest Crew Members.
  • Participants must be able to move about freely within the water environment.
  • Guests must be comfortable in the water and be able to manage their movements as instructed in and around the animals while wearing required water safety gear.
  • Participants must be able to physically move from one location to another by walking in sand, climbing stairs, walking across floating platforms, crossing slippery and uneven surfaces both in and out of the water, and be able to transition between standing and sitting positions.
  • Local weather conditions vary, so individuals should be able to handle heat, humidity, direct sun exposure, wind, and torrential rains.
  • Participants can expect to be around large marine mammals as well as other marine animals within the natural environment.  Our dolphins have been trained for interactions, but as wild animals, their behavior can still be unpredictable.
  • Guests under the age of five are restricted from participating in our standard encounter programs. However, we do offer the Wee Tots program for children ages 2-4 years old. Please call our Central Reservations office at 800.248.3316 for details.
  • For assistance in making a reservation contact our Central Reservations at 800.248.3316 (daily – view hours of operation).

9. Does Dolphin Quest welcome guests with special needs?

Our goal is to make sure your visit is safe and enjoyable for both you and the dolphin.

  • We welcome guests who may require additional assistance in our programs due to a disability or special need.
  • Each encounter is customized to the comfort level of our guests while also ensuring safety for our guests and animals.
  • To discuss making dolphin encounter reservations for a guest with special needs, please contact us directly at Central Reservations at 800.248.3316.
  • For more information, please fill out our Contact Us Form.

10. When and how do I pay for my program?

All program fees are charged in full to the credit card used when making a reservation.

  • If you are already checked in to the Hilton, you may also charge the program fees to your room.
  • If using a Dolphin Quest Gift Card for payment, this can be processed online or through a reservations agent.
  • For any other payment questions, please contact Central Reservations at 800.248.3316 (daily – view hours of operation) or Dolphin Quest Hawaii directly at 808.886.2875 (daily from 8:30am – 5pm HST).

11. What is your cancellation policy?

Guests that do not show up on time to check in for their reserved program will be charged full price.

Reservations for parties up to, and including 6 participants

  • There are no fees or penalties for cancellations/rescheduling made prior to 48 hours of the scheduled program time, and a full refund will be issued.
  • Any cancellations within 48 hours of the scheduled program time will be charged the full price of the scheduled program.
  • Any rescheduling made within 48 hours of the scheduled program time will be charged an additional re-booking fee of $75 per guest.

Reservations for 7 or more participants

  • There are no fees or penalties for cancellations/rescheduling made prior to 2 weeks of the scheduled program time, and a full refund will be issued.
  • Any cancellations within 2 weeks of scheduled program time will be charged the full price of the scheduled program.
  • Any rescheduling made within 2 weeks of the scheduled program time will be charged an additional re-booking fee of $75 per guest.

To cancel or change a reservation 

  • Please contact either our Central Reservation office at 800.248.3316 (daily – view hours of operation) or Dolphin Quest Hawaii directly at 808.886.2875 (daily from 8:30am – 5pm HST).

12. When do I check in for my scheduled program?

Check-in time for all programs* is 30 minutes prior to the scheduled program start time.

  • *Wee Tots and Dolphin Moments check-in time is no later than 20 minutes prior to the scheduled program start time.
  • *For the Trainer for a Day and Discover Dolphin Babies programs, you may check in at 7:30am at the Dolphin Quest check-in desk at Dolphin Quest Village.
  • Please check in at the Dolphin Quest check-in desk at Dolphin Quest Village, located on the ocean side of the Lagoon Tower, for all programs.
  • It is wheelchair and stroller accessible, but please feel free to ask for directions upon arrival to avoid staircases. 
  • Click here to view map of hotel grounds.

13. Do your program times ever change?

Yes, on occasion, program times are changed.

  • If guests are booked in programs whose times have changed, we will contact them directly.
  • Otherwise, all information on our web site is up-to-date.

14. Do you offer changing areas or lockers?

Yes, changing areas and lockers are available for use.

  • We offer changing areas along with complimentary and secure lockers in Dolphin Quest Village for Dolphin Quest participants.
  • We hold your rental car key or room key (from any local hotel) for the duration of your program while you use our locker.
  • It is suggested, if possible, to come to Dolphin Quest with your swimsuit on and ready to go into the water.
  • You may wear sunscreen while in the water, and we encourage you to use ocean-safe products.
  • An outdoor, fresh water shower is available for program guests to use.
  • Dolphin Quest is not liable for lost or stolen items.

15. Does Dolphin Quest provide towels?

  • No. Dolphin Quest does not provide towels so we ask our guests to bring their own.
  • Towels are also available for purchase in our retail area.

16. Do you offer a “wait list” when programs are completely booked?

  • Yes. Please contact Dolphin Quest Hawaii directly at the Dolphin Quest check-in desk at Dolphin Quest Village or call Central Reservations at 800.248.3316 during our normal business hours from 8:30am-5:00pm HST daily.

17. Can I take pictures with my own camera during the program?

Personal cameras and GoPros are not allowed in our program areas.

  • Someone with you who is not doing the program may take pictures or video your interaction from the spectator side of the ropes and railings.
  • Dolphin Quest’s photographers will be taking posed and candid photos throughout your program.
  • Your program photos are available for pre-order or as a post-program purchase.

18. How can I purchase my photos?

Your program photos are available for pre-order or as a post-program purchase.

  • Pre-order pick up, viewing, and post-program photo orders is located in the DQ Gift Shop at Dolphin Quest Village.
  • Your program photos are available for purchase onsite at Dolphin Quest Hawaii up to 5 days after your program from 8:30am-5:00pm daily in the DQ Gift Shop at Dolphin Quest Village.
  • If you are unable to purchase your photos directly from Dolphin Quest Hawaii, on-line photo ordering will be available for 14 days from your program date.

19. Do you offer video of the programs?

Yes, Dolphin Quest Hawaii offers video filming of all programs.

  • Dolphin Quest videographers can film your encounter using GoPro cameras.
  • Video is taken both above and below water when appropriate.
  • Videos are provided to you via electronic download to your computer, tablet, or phone, within 24 hours of your encounter.
  • Or, you can receive your encounter video on DVD or jump drive for a small additional charge.
  • To secure the video product, you should pre-purchase and reserve your video online during the encounter reservation process.
  • These videos are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please be advised that other guests in your encounter will also appear in your video.

20. Does Dolphin Quest have a gift shop?

Yes, Dolphin Quest Hawaii has a gift shop located within Dolphin Quest Village.

  • The gift shop is filled with Dolphin Quest and marine-themed items.
  • Items available include: plush animals, t-shirts, rash guards, towels, jewelry, ornaments, toys, books, hats, and much more.

21. Can I use the Hilton pools while on property?

The pools at the Hilton Waikoloa Village are reserved for hotel guests only.

  • The Hilton pools, jacuzzis, and water slides are reserved for Hilton guests only.
  • The beaches and lagoons are also reserved for guests staying at the hotel.
  • Everyone is welcome to visit the stores and restaurants while visiting the Hilton property.

22. Does Dolphin Quest have dolphin shows?

Yes, Dolphin Quest Hawaii will sometimes offer free dolphin demonstrations throughout the year for special events and holidays.

  • Contact the site for exact show times or visit Current Events for more information.
  • The general public is welcome to watch all programs from the lawn area overlooking the lagoon.
  • We also conduct various educational talks and activities when visiting our Encounter Club area in DQ Village.
  • During regular business hours, our Crew Members are available to answer questions.
  • If you would like to host a group function, or schedule your own demonstration, with Dolphin Quest, please contact us.

23. When is the next dolphin feeding?

We do not have set times for dolphin feedings.

  • Our dolphins are positively reinforced with food, touch, play, and other reinforcers throughout the day both during programs and training sessions.

24. How many Dolphin Quest locations do you have?

Dolphin Quest has three beautiful locations worldwide on the islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Bermuda.

25. How does Dolphin Quest care for its dolphins?

Our dolphins are well loved and well cared for at Dolphin Quest.

  • We provide each dolphin with learning opportunities, loving affection, high-quality food, enriching environments, and top-notch veterinary care.
  • Each dolphin receives daily health assessments by our marine animal specialists and veterinarians to ensure they are healthy and demonstrating normal dolphin behavior.
  • Our dolphins participate in their own healthcare by learning a variety of behaviors which allow us to collect important medical samples, conduct ultrasound, and ensure their health is a top priority.
  • Our dolphins thrive in their protected ocean water sanctuaries.
  • They are a coastal ecotype of the common bottlenose dolphins and are well adapted to living in shallow coastal areas and bays in the wild.
  • The majority of our dolphins are first and second generation dolphins born under human care.
  • The dolphins under our care live as long or longer than their counterparts in the wild.
  • Dolphin Quest facilities meet all of our dolphins’ needs and exceed both US government regulations and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums professional animal care standards.
  • Dolphin Quest locations are all Humane Certified by American Humane assuring the facility meets the highest standards of animal care.
  • Learn more about Dolphin Quest’s animal care and wellness
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