|The Dolphin Research Center|
|Wednesday, 18 February 2004 00:00|
It is clear and sunny but "cold" here today by southern Florida standards, only 10C (50F) when we got up and peaking at only 18C (65F). It was a fine day for a drive so we decided to go south into the Keys to Grassy Key, home of the Dolphin Research Center. We had seen it when we were driving to Big Pine Key last week and wanted to stop then, but we didn't really have time.
The DRC is a wonderful place to visit and learn about these beautiful marine creatures. There are many programs available from a casual observer's admission at $17.50 to half-day encounters at $155.00, hands on training at $100.00 and meeting and swimming with them for $15.00 plus admission. The DRC is a not-for-profit organization with the goal to promote a peaceful co-existence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals and humans and the environment we share through research and education. They also offer programs for people with special needs and a children's therapy program. Most of their dolphins were born there though some came to them from other parks. They are housed in large pens, which are there to protect them and keep wild dolphins out. We could easily have stayed there all day!
On the way back we stopped at the Hurricane Memorial in Islamorada. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of the civilians and war veterans whose lives were lost in a horrific hurricane that hit the Keys on Labour Day, September 2, 1935. They sustained winds of over 200 MPH and hundreds of civilians and WW1 veterans who were stationed there were killed. This hurricane, known as the Great Hurricane, wiped out most buildings as well as the Florida East Coast Railway and is still considered one of the most savage ones on record.