A girl might kiss a lot of frogs searching for her prince, but kiss a dolphin and you know you’ve met a king.
At least, that’s how it feels when Pepe, the biggest male at Dolphin Cove, Grand Cayman, swims up and plants you a smacker. He’s known to be a ladies’ man and all the girls – ‘dolphin and human’ – love him. So it’s quite a treat to dance with the most popular chap in the lagoon. And, boy, does he have some groovy moves as he wiggles to the trainer’s whistle!
An Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin, Pepe is 7.8 feet long and weighs in at 309 pounds. He adores hugs and kisses and so gets very excited about taking part in the daily programs with visitors at Dolphin Cove. He also likes to have his tummy tickled, but the ultimate thrill is when he lets you hold onto his fins for a high-speed swim through the lagoon.
Pepe is one of six dolphins at the attraction, with the two other males called Nemo and Ziggy and three females named Lucea, Luna and Sally. Guests can choose from three educational programs in which to swim and play with the dolphins and can watch them being fed on their diet of fish such as mackerel and squid. Non-swimmers and anyone who is nervous can have fun too while standing waist-deep in the water to make friends with the dolphins who each have their own distinctive character and charms. There are other sea creatures to see as well, such as the lobster, shrimp, starfish, crabs, conch and urchins in the touch tank and you can even have a hermit crab race in a sandpit.
But Dolphin Cove isn’t just about attractions of the deep: there also are colorful and friendly birds on a nature trail between the main building and the car park. Gasper and Zuzu are umbrella cockatoos, while Arvie, Lulu, Sol, Bruno, Peque and Luna are blue and gold macaws and Lalo is a Camelot macaw. The highlight is hand-feeding the sweet little peach-faced lovebirds in their breeding enclosure.
- You can become a dolphin trainer for the day, at the end of which you’ll be given an authentic dolphin trainer uniform, whistle and a certificate of completion.
- Taking part in any of the dolphin programs entitles you to a free visit to Cayman Turtle Farm or a trip to Stingray City (see MACOCaribbean website features).
- Dolphin Cove, Grand Cayman offers Rapid Development Therapy, a program for special-needs children and adults which involves interaction with the dolphins.