I'm going to get on my soap box for just a minute. Dolphins are highly intelligent, social, mammals. They would much rather be free in the ocean with their pod-families, than caged up so people can swim with them for big $$$. Many people consider these activities to be exploitive of the dolphins. Instead, go on a boat trip and see how happy the dolphins are in their natural environment.
Free Maui dolphins jumping just for the fun of it! -
There are some great snorkel trips that go over to lanai from Maui. about 80% of the time I have seen dolphins, mostly spinners. My favorite!
the best company I have found is maui adventure cruises. They go out of Lahaina. They use the larger hard bottom zodiacs which are fast smooth and close to the water. The bigger boats seem to be less intimate and I have seen more dolphins on the zodiacs
Another option is to rent a kayak in South Maui or take a tour with a company.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Sorry to disappoint your daughter, but she might have much more fun seeing them in action in the wild. Maui dolphins do like to jump because they are free
There are several spots on the big island where you can swim into the bay and wait and the dolphins come swim with you. It happened to us twice on our last trip. It was fantastic. I don't know about Maui.
I can definitely see where Denise is coming from, however I believe that swim-with-dolphins programs (and zoos) can serve a purpose other than just indulging us on our whims. It exposes young children to wildlife in a positive way and helps them appreciate animals, and hopefully ultimately protect them, in a way that they might not developed without that hands-on exposure.
After going to Hawaii with us this past summer, my teenagers were asked by Grandma what their favorite vacation was. Their immediate response: Swimming with the dolphins!!! That vacation was in 2001 and they were 7 and 9 at the time. That gives you some indication what kind of impression it made on them. My older daughter has been collecting dolphins ever since and she has dolphin photos in her room as I type. She also listed "Marine Biologist" on her career list for years (until she realized it would mean taking a lot of science classes.)
BTW, we saw plenty of dolphins in Hawaii and have been going on dolphin watch zodiak tours in Hilton Head island since they were babies. Nothing affected my children to the degree that swimming with them, and touching them, has done.
I am now opposed to taking dolphins from the wild to use them in these programs. But turning rescued and born-in-captivity dolphins that are not candidates to be returned to the wild into ambassadors for their species is not a 'bad thing' IMO.
So if you do want to swim with the dolphins, my suggestion is to research the sponsoring company and determine whether the pros will outweigh the cons.