Swimming With Dolphins In Hawaii – Kahala Dolphin Quest Review – Live and Let’s Fly


One thing that makes the Kahala Hotel & Resort in Honolulu unique is its on-site dolphins, which have delighted children and adults for decades. My son had the chance to experience the Kahala Dolphin Quest program during our last visit and I offer the review below.

Kahala Dolphin Quest Packages

The Kahala has six dolphin residents in a lanai that stretches around much of the hotel’s outdoor common areas. Packages available include:


  • Dolphin Adventure – a one hour experience including swimming with dolphins and feeding
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  • Dolphin Encounter – a “play-date” 30-minute experience that includes feeding and feeling the dolphins
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  • Kids Aquatic Adventure – includes interaction not just with dolphins, but fish, turtles, and other aquatic creatures onsite.
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  • Premier Experience – a private swim with dolphins
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  • Dolphin Dip – a 15-minute experience including in the shallow water lagoon
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  • Wee Family, Fins and Fun – a dockside experience for parents and their young children
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  • Family Swim Program – a 30-minute swim with dolphins for up to six family or friends
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  • Trainer For A Day – shadow the trainers for a day, taking total care of the dolphins
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  • Trainer For a Week – five days of being a trainer

More details and pricing here.

Kahala Dolphin Quest Wee Family, Fins and Fun Review

We decided the “Wee Family, Fins and Fun” package was most appropriate for three-year-old Augustine. While Augustine never got to fully submerge into the water with dolphins, he did have a chance to see two of them up close, feel them, listen to them, and feed them.

Having only seen pictures of dolphins in books, Augustine was over the moon to actually see one and delighted about how smart these majestic creatures were.

If you have young children, our program was just perfect for an initial acclimation to the dolphins. We were together with one other father-son family visiting from Japan.

Ethical Concerns

Let’s address the dolphin the room…isn’t it cruel and inhumane to subject these beautiful creatures to captivity?

I’m not going to try to win you over, if that is your attitude. The Kahala’s programs and habitat are certified by American Humane and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums. Furthermore, I fundamentally believe animals are meant for humans, not equal to them or worthy of certain rights and protections reserved for the human race…that is why I eat meat and that is why I do not picket zoos.

And yet I recognize the moral dilemma…I have never hunted in my life and find it perverse, though I cannot reconcile that feeling with my willingness to eat mass-produced meats under even more inhumane (and there’s that word again) conditions.

You’re free to convince me I am wrong in the comment section below, but the dolphin experience made me appreciate the beauty and intellect of dolphins even more and took place in a way that would have been impossible to experience in the wild.


One of the things I love about the Kahala Hotel & Resort is the dolphins in-residence. Children, including my son, love dolphins and while a guest the Kahala you have a chance to better appreciate their beauty and intelligence in an up-close encounter. Thus, I recommend the Dolphin Quest experience.