Marineland turns 80 years old

World's first Oceanarium celebrates iconic Flagler County landmark


FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Marineland is celebrating a monumental milestone as its Dolphin Experience turns 80. The first Oceanarium opened in 1938 along A1A just south of St. Augustine Beach and is still entertaining the masses with trained dolphins and other marine life.

There are currently 15 dolphins at Marineland. And the trainer said there's much more to see and a whole lot of fun in store. It’s a place to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most amazing creatures like Lily the dolphin. 

The Marineland iconic arches were just rebuilt and the park has a lot of meaning for many people including Julie Snyder, who is a frequent visitor and calls the park a sentimental spot for her and generations before her. She has pictures of her brother, her dad and herself as a child at Marineland.

Snyder lives in Orlando but comes to the park often and wouldn’t miss the 80th anniversary.

"All these others are just basically copycats. This is the original. I’m glad I’m able to make it here for the actual anniversary date," Snyder said.

Marineland first opened in June of 1938 and it actually started as a marine studio so the movie industry could get underwater footage of these animals.

Terran McGinnis is the director of education for Marineland.

"It's a big deal. And we are here only because of how much this community has continued to love us and support us year after year after year. There’s really this sort of neat mutual relationship that we have," McGinnis said.

Their mission revolves around education and conservation, something the park’s leaders want to continue for many more years.

"We’ve had hurricane struggles along the way. And we had some financial issues at one particular time. But we are a nonprofit organization and with the passion of the community and the employees. We have over 40 employees and 80 volunteers here. Marineland is well today and is going to be even better tomorrow," said Gary Inks, general manager and vice president of Marineland.

If you and your family members want to get involved with the fun, you can take part in Sunday fun day. There will be a lot of activities and events for the kids. And on Monday, tickets are buy one, get one free. 

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