I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever in Australia I may find myself.
Published September 8th 2013
Coffs Harbour is probably best known for being home to the The Big Banana. Yet when I think about this part of New South Wales, it's not the banana plantations and surrounding landscape that spring to mind. It's the water, and the beautiful stretch of coastline the area enjoys.
Visiting the city during winter recently, I didn't get the chance to make the most of the beaches. But on one spectacular day, I did head to Dolphin Marine Magic, where I found I was able to get closer to some of the ocean's most popular creatures than I ever would have out in nature. You don't just look at the animals at this attraction; you actually get to interact with them!
Kisses One of the best experiences you can have at Dolphin Marine Magic is getting a kiss from both a seal and a dolphin, and since all the activities take place in two sessions (morning and afternoon), if you time your visit well, it will also be the first thing you do. These kisses take place in the half hour before the main show and a professional photographer is on hand to make sure you have a lasting memory (the photographs do need to be purchased at an additional cost however).
The big event of the day, the Marine Discovery Presentation, features both seals and dolphins, and while the seals show off a few more skills than their fellow performers, the spectacular leaps out of the water by the dolphins are something I could never tire of. Hang around afterwards and you'll also get to pat the day's dolphin performer as it swims along the edge of the pool.
One of those trademark leaps
Feedings You're probably expecting to read about keeper feedings in this section, but most of the feeding sessions are actually about giving visitors the chance to feed the animals (and that means everyone, not just a chosen few). It all begins prior to the Marine Discovery Presentation, when you get the chance to feed one of the seals.
The main feeding sessions follow the presentation, with the first being the fish feeding. At this one, after a brief talk, trays of food and tongs are placed around the edge of the pool, with everyone getting at east one chance to hold out some food for a fish to take. A turtle feeding session takes place right next door afterwards (but this one isn't interactive), and then it's over to the Little Blue Penguins, where you get another chance to feed the animals yourself.
Reptile Show During the school holidays, Steve McEwan's Reptile World visits Dolphin Marine Magic with an educational show, where snakes are the main focus. It's less interactive than most of the other experiences, though you still get to pat the animals, and I noticed the crowd thinning quite a lot as the show went on. But it's far from boring and while I'd seen a reptile similar show not long before attending this one, I actually absorbed the first aid information that McEwan imparted (though it may have been just the fact I was hearing it all again).
The reptile show is still relatively interactive - if you're not too scared of these special guests, that is!
The Rest Other than all the interactive experiences at Dolphin Marine Magic, there isn't a lot else to do on your average visit, as the place is quite small and all the animals are involved in some sort of activity. There is the Creekside Cafe to enjoy though, and if you're somehow not satisfied with the interactive experiences included in the ticket price, or want to splurge for a special occasion, there are a few extra experiences you can book yourself into for an additional cost, such as the chance to swim with the dolphins (more information can be found here).