From the cute and cuddly to the scaled and not so cuddly, there are tons of amazing things to do in Florida that get you up close and personal with the native wildlife. In tropical Islamorada, you’ll find the usual attractions: dolphins, sea turtles, alligators. But there’s something extra special to check out here — at Theater of the Sea, you can actually swim with sea lions! These water puppies are friendly, boisterous, and even great artists.

There are several different sea lion interactions to choose from at this marine mammal facility, including getting in the water and swimming with them for $155, meeting a sea lion for $95 which is perfect for those who would like to stay dry, and even painting with one for $95.

All animal interactions include general admission.

Theater of the Sea is one of the oldest marine parks in the world and has been a pioneer in many animal experiences.

The park holds three acres of natural salt-water lagoons that bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, tropical fish, sharks, stingrays, crocodiles, and alligators call home.

Many of their animals are rescues that have been unable to return to the wild, and Theater of the Sea strives to provide experiences that encourage education, awareness, and conservation values in their guests.

The sea lions are super intelligent and fun-loving, not unlike your household doggo. And how can you not love those big buggy eyes that make them look just a little bit dopey?

The different encounters let you learn about their capacity for words and commands, their natural behaviors, and even let you take home a one-of-a-kind piece of art if you pick the painting interaction.

The care and health of their animals is a top priority at Theater of the Sea, and each animal is provided with stimulation, daily examinations, regular veterinary physicals, and a personalized diet.

As for the various shows, you can check out here, the training that goes into each animal is based on operant conditioning techniques and positive reinforcement.

The natural behaviors the animals would display in the wild are shaped with kindness and rewards into a conditioned response, while undesired behavior is simply ignored, not reprimanded.

No matter what animal interaction you choose to check out at Theater of the Sea, you’re sure to leave with new knowledge, appreciation, and unforgettable memories.

Sea Lion Interactions

Price: $155 to swim, $95 to meet, $95 to paint

Address: 84721 Overseas Hwy Islamorada, FL

Why You Need To Go: These sea lion interactions are fun, interactive, and educational experiences you can't get anywhere else.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


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