As a Bradenton native, I know Southwest Florida is sometimes called the “Cultural Coast” for all our world-class museums, art education, and performing arts organizations.
But as an outdoorsy, saltwater kid, I know our coast itself puts on a pretty amazing show, too. Just check out the crowds at a beach sunset appreciating that show.
So if the water is our AMI performance stage, then the dolphins are some of our most popular rock stars. They are Bruce Springsteen. They are Taylor Swift. People shout and point when they come out. Everything stops. Everybody wants to see the dolphins.
And even though dolphins are wild animals we can’t (and won’t try to) control, you don’t have to leave your dolphin sighting to chance. You can have your own private dolphin cruise if you have the right guide to take you. And that’s the exclusive ticket I offer through my AMI Excursions Dolphin Cruises.
What to Expect on Your AMI Dolphin Cruise
My dolphin cruises are just about hanging out and having fun—for my guests on the boat as well as the dolphins in the water.
I’ll pick up your party at one of our go-to Manatee County boat ramps, and we’ll make sure everybody’s comfortable on the boat. I’ve got cold water already, and you’re welcome to bring beverages and snacks (for yourselves, not the dolphins). And then we head out!
An AMI Dolphin Cruise, just like all of my boat trips, is fundamentally a chance to have the best possible time on the water. Sure, we have a specific goal in mind, but remember: I grew up here, I’ve known these waters all my life, and I’ve been working them professionally for a decade.
In addition to dolphins, I’m happy to chitchat and answer questions about all kinds of local water features and wildlife, weather patterns, history, and anything else that comes up. For the entirety of your dolphin tour, you’ve got a local Bradenton captain at your service.
How Do We Find the Dolphins?
Well, finding the dolphins is my proprietary secret…
Actually, it’s just about knowing our local waters and also understanding dolphin behavior.
Where and how we find dolphins will depend on the time of year, the time of day, and the weather, as well as other variables.
The best news is that dolphins love boats. They love to play in the wake and the bow waves, and they may even see the boat as a larger creature that can protect them.
Once I see signs of dolphins on our cruise, I’ll do my best to provide loads of opportunities for photographs. I may also try to safely maneuver the boat to get them interested in us.
About the Southwest Florida Dolphins You’ll See in AMI
Bottlenose dolphins are native to Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida. They’re adaptable to all kinds of waters and habitats, from deep, open ocean to coastal areas highly populated by humans. They eat all kinds of fish and crustaceans, and they can live at least 40 years in the wild.
Bottlenose dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Check out more information from the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the longest-running study of a wild dolphin population in the world.