Dolphin Cove, recipient of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) Best Attraction Award for 2010, is expanding its operations to cater to both local and foreign patrons who contribute to making it a choice destination.
The expansion, which should see the newest Dolphin Cove being opened at Point in Hanover, is expected to create employment for many young Jamaicans in that area.
“We broke ground for this attraction in September last year, and it is scheduled to be opened in a few weeks,” Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Cove, Roger Kerr, tells JIS, pointing out that some $500 million was pumped into the development of the new Dolphin Cove.
A little girl gets a kiss from a dolphin at Dolphin Cove Attractions in Ocho Rios
He says that the attraction will be opened in stages, starting out with dolphins, sharks and stingrays but, in the future, it is expected to grow to equal or even surpass the offerings at Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios.
“We are establishing on 20 acres of land, so it is going to be a big park, and when completed we estimate that we will employ over 200 persons,” he says.
With the heat of summer already on, Mr. Kerr is confident that persons can look forward to a real “cool” experience at Dolphin Cove, where they can swim with the dolphins, pet the sharks, snorkel with the stingrays and enjoy the beach.
JIS News asked about the expectations in terms of visitors to Dolphin Cove during the summer. Mr. Kerr responds that the period should be a busy one. He said that he expects a lot of school groups making it part of their summer trips.
“We expect to have a lot of Jamaicans, as part of the experience Jamaica campaign that the Jamaica Tourist Board is having, to help encourage Jamaicans to experience the Tourism products,” he states.
“In terms of our overseas visitors, as long as the hotels are doing well then we will get the guests and with the steady arrival of cruise ships to the Ocho Rios Piers, we are sure that the tour companies will bring the visitors here as well,” he says, noting that the five -acre attraction has been gaining increasing recognition, because of the excellent customer service and programme offerings.
Employees at Dolphin Cove attractions in Ocho Rios, St. Ann interact with a pet shark as part of the entertainment package.
There are three dolphin programmes that persons can participate in.
“Firstly, there is the “Touch Programme” where you get to touch, pet and kiss the dolphin and the dolphin does tricks and splashes and jumps, and it is an intimate activity that brings you up close and personal with the dolphin and it is a great programme for children and persons who are non-swimmers to participate in,” Mr. Kerr says.
For the more adventurous and those who are comfortable swimming, he says that there is the “Encounter Swim”, which allows persons to swim in the dolphin lagoon for 30 minutes with one dolphin, still getting the opportunity to touch pet and kiss the dolphin, as well as enjoy a ride on the dolphin’s belly.
“Thirdly we have our ‘Swimmers Programme’, which is also for half hour in the lagoon, where you get to swim with two dolphins, during which time you get a foot push and a dorsal pull,” he says.
An adeventurous tourist is being given a ‘foot push’ by two dolphins at the Dolphin Cove Attractions in Ocho Rios.
“The foot push is when two dolphins come behind you while you are floating and they push you from the soles of your feet at high speed through the water, and elevate you above the surface of the water; and the dorsal pull is when you lie between the two dolphins, holding on to their dorsal fin, and they pull you around the lagoon for a few seconds,” he explains.
Apart from the aquatic adventure at Dolphin Cove, there is also a jungle trail that Mr. Kerr says it is a great learning experience, especially for the students who visit on school trips.
“On that jungle trail you get to see and interact with a variety of birds. We also have iguanas that you can see and pet and touch, and we have the Jamaican Yellow Boa here too as part of our attractions,” he tells JIS.
The almost ten-year-old attraction caters to everyone, including the physically challenged, Mr. Kerr points out.
Focusing on the fact that Dolphin Cove has been named the number one attraction in the island, the Public Relations Manager says that the achievement means a lot to them, and that they would seek to continue to provide excellent service to all who visit.
When JIS approached visitors to find out their views on Dolphin Cove, they gave kudos to the attraction.
“My friends and I travelled all the way from Kingston just to gain the Dolphin Cove experience, and we enjoyed every moment of it,” Alexandria Edwards said.
A visitor from Chicago, Coleen Campbell, told JIS News that every time she vacations in Jamaica, she visits Dolphin Cove.
“My kids get so excited, like it is their first time visiting all the time when we come here, and I can see why they get excited,” she says.
“They love the activities; the dolphin shows and the shark shows and getting the chance to pet the other animals. It is fun for them, it makes them happy and once it makes them happy then I am happy,” Mrs. Campbell adds.
Dolphin Cove is one of Jamaica’s North Coast marine attractions. It is located in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, adjacent to the Dunn’s River Falls and is open to the public daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.