Get a glimpse into the daily life of a colony of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Dolphin Discovery, the Aquarium's largest exhibit, is home to our colony of six Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. From the amphitheater or the underwater viewing area, guests can watch these intelligent, playful marine mammals and observe how they learn, play and interact with each other. Daily talks led by our marine mammal experts focused on feeding and enrichment lend more insight into what it’s like to work with and build relationships with these animals.
There are four females—Jade, Spirit, Bayley and Chesapeake—and two males—Beau and Foster—in our colony of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The social structure of the dolphins at the Aquarium is modeled after life in their natural habitats. Females live together most of their lives in a social group, and male calves leave their mom's group after five or six years, forming bonds with other males and traveling from female group to female group.
Learn more about the residents of Dolphin Discovery.
When the National Aquarium's Marine Mammal Pavilion debuted in 1991, it became a model for dolphins in human care. More than 25 years later, we now know far more about the unique needs of dolphins. In appreciation of their intellect and resilience, we continue to evolve our care to best suit their needs. Our future goal for these animals is to maintain the highest standards of health and welfare, while creating a more natural, ocean water sanctuary in which they can thrive.
Through the creation of North America’s first dolphin sanctuary, the National Aquarium is introducing a new option for human care of dolphins. Learn more about our journey so far.