Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

#6 in Best Things To Do in Destin
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park picture
Courtesy Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE

Price & Hours

$23.95 for adults and kids 13-17; $15.95 for k...
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.4

scorecard

  • 3.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

If you don't happen to spot any dolphins in the wild, or just want to learn more about some of Florida's marine creatures, you may want to pay a visit to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Though it does feature daily dolphin and sea lion shows, the Gulfarium is no SeaWorld (it doesn't boast large animals or rides). But even with its small size, the park is still a hit with travelers, especially those visiting with children.

When you're not watching dolphins jump through the air, you can learn more about the gators, reptiles, penguins, sea lions and stingrays that call the park home. You can even interact with the dolphins (touch, feed, play and give behavior signals to the animals) and snorkel with the stingrays, if you're willing to hand over a bit more coin for one of the park's Animal Encounters.

Recent visitors recommended spending a few hours here if you're interested in learning more about Florida's marine life; travelers found the staff to be extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Some felt it was a bit of a tourist trap and expensive, but conceded that it's an entertaining place to bring kids, even on rainy days.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is located about 6 miles west of downtown Destin. The best way to get there is by car. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m; the last admission is at 4:30 p.m. Admission for adults ages 13 to 61 costs $23.95; seniors 62 and older gain entry for $22.95; tickets for children between the ages of 3 and 12 cost $15.95. Animal encounters cost extra and can be reserved online prior to your visit.

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Type
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#1 Henderson Beach State Park

Perhaps the biggest draw to Henderson Beach State Park­ – aside from its relaxed atmosphere – is the sugar-white sand, mile-long beach, made up of pure Appalachian quartz. The sand not only remains cool in the summer sun, but it gives the pristine waters an emerald cast. Offering a welcome change of pace from the crowded and hotel-backed beaches closer to the resorts, this easily accessible, safe and clean oasis offers nature trails, spots for grilling, and picnicking and campsites.

Recent visitors loved the area's peaceful atmosphere and highly recommended travelers make a stop here. The park rangers and staff also received accolades for their helpful tips and vast knowledge of the area.

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Romona Robbins Photography/Getty Images
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