We briefly mentioned the Pet Porpoise Pool (now actually known as Dolphin Marine Magic) at Coffs Harbour in our recent blog, but it’s such a unique hands on experience when you visit this place that we thought we’d share some more photos and information about it.
The Pet Porpoise Pool is the only facility in NSW which is endorsed by the government’s regulating bodies to exhibit dolphins. The thing that sets this place apart from other animal parks is that they actively engage and encourage visitors to have up close and personal interaction with the animals. Every person has the opportunity to have a dolphin or seal kiss before each show … for free (you just pay for the professional photos if you chose to purchase them). Although there is no obligation to purchase, all profits do go towards helping build and maintain new enclosures.
The park is split up into different sections as shown below. As we visited during the school holidays, they also had a reptile show at various times throughout the day, which showed and talked about various snakes, reptile advice and first aid. Believe this only runs during school holiday periods though.
Marine discovery presentation
This is the main deal, the thing you visit for! This show is interesting, entertaining and informative for children and adults alike. The dolphins and seals are the star of the show, performing tricks which showcase their natural abilities.
The Dolphin Lagoon is one of two large pools which house the dolphins. After the show you can still stay at the pool area and see the dolphins swimming around, playing with balls, jumping and spinning all by themselves, just for fun! If they come up to the edge of the pool you can pat them and even throw the ball for them, it’s amazing to have this personal interaction with the dolphins, purely on their own terms.
Seal Shores is where the Sea Lions live. Again you can sit here for ages watching the seals playing in their enclosure. These adorable little creatures are so playful!
In this area you can see various species of fish, coral and other marine animals which are found within the local Solitary Islands Marine Park area. In this area you can view the marine life from above the tank and also walk below to the underwater viewing area.
‘Plugga’ the turtle
Plugga is a Green Sea Turtle who was born in the 1990’s. When he was rescued he was about the size of a 50c coin. He had lost majority of one of his rear flippers and because of his injury he probably wouldn’t have survived in the wild, so he moved in to his new home at the Pet Porpoise Pool. He’s lived there ever since and is now a happy, much much larger, turtle!
This is home to a colony of cute little penguins and where you can sit and watch them waddling around and swimming. They also hold penguin feeding in this area.
Many of these penguins have been rescued from local beaches in the area and due to their various injuries they couldn’t be released back into the wild.
Swim with animals encounters
For an extra charge there are various different encounters where you can enter the water to pat and play with and learn about the dolphins. There are more in-depth encounters you can have where you spend a lot more time in the water. There are even ‘trainer for a day’ experiences …. this is something we’d like to do at some stage.
So yes we recommend a visit to this park if you are visiting Coffs Harbour. If you want an up close and more hands on experience then this is the place for you. Entry prices aren’t cheap, but it’s probably comparable to any other zoo or facility like this. We have thoroughly enjoyed our visits over the years and although some of the surroundings could do with an update, you can’t really fault it in any other way.