Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary

Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary

Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary
4.5
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
About
Experience dolphins, sea lions and penguins up close. Book a private land-based marine animal experience or swim with a dolphin and make incredible memories that will last forever. Be inspired to act and save marine animals and oceans. Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary is Coffs Harbour's best family experience. The Sanctuary (formerly known as Dolphin Marine Conservation Park) was established in 1970 as a rescue and rehabilitation centre for sick and injured marine animals and we continue this vital service today. Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary is the only place in Australia where you can experience marine mammals up so close including bottle-nosed dolphins, endangered Australian Sea Lions, Little Blue Penguins, Freshwater Turtles and local Reef Fish. Plus you can see our marine animal and rehabilitation hospital at work. We rescue, rehabilitate and release hundreds of sea turtles every year. Open 10-2 daily. Peckish Penguin Cafe open 8-2 daily. Open longer in school holidays.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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See what travellers are saying
  • Ann-Marie S
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Magical time with dolphins
    It was very special personal experience with the dolphins. It was a relaxing small seating area so we were close to the dolphins and could view them really well. The trainers had great relationships with the dolphins and gave interesting informative commentaries.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 28 October 2023
  • Susan T
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great visit
    We almost didn’t go as we had read the previous bad reviews, but are so glad we did go! We arrived in time for the turtle hospital, and saw the dolphin and seal show. We were happily surprised that we got to touch the dolphins and were impressed by the staff, their care of the animals and their knowledge in answering our many questions. The children around us were enjoying their experience. We thought it was worth the entrance fee.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 18 November 2023
  • nickfF1997
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ultimate Dolphin Experience (once in a lifetime opportunity)
    I booked the Ultimate Dolphin Experience via the website. When I arrived at the marine park everybody was very friendly and I felt very welcome to the marine park. The dolphin experience started at 10am. I was lucky enough that I was the only person that booked the Ultimate Dolphin experience that day. I met up with Matt (the photographer) and he gave a little introduction. After the introduction I met Jemma (the trainer) and she introduced me to Bella (the dolphin). Jemma started with some rules I needed to follow. After that she asked Bella to come and swim next to me so that I could cuddle and pet her. Jemma told me almost everything she could about Bella. After the cuddling and petting we started with some exercises. Bella made a lot of different noises because of all different hand signals that Jemma was doing. Jemma showed me a hand signal to let Bella make a sort a barrel role in the air. The first time I did the hand signal wrong but the second time Bella understood immediately and performed the trick. What a sight to see! Next up I was given a body board and was told to lay down on it and put my feet straight behind me. Bella then came up and pushed me across the poule with amazing speed. She also pushed me back the whole way. Last up was a diving exercise. I got handed a ring and goggles and was told to throw the ring in the water for bella to retrieve. In the meantime I could swim next to bella and witness her amazing beauty underwater. Sadly this was the end of the session and Bella waved me goodbye. A really big thanks to Bella, Jemma and Matt for this amazing, once in a lifetime, opportunity!
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 23 November 2023
  • Teena S
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely visit !! Memories for a life time
    I can’t thank the staff at Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, we visited quite late today on our long long travels but I wanted a special treat for my dolphin loving daughters before heading home to Victoria . The lady that served us went above and beyond to explain even tho we missed the main events today that we could do the behind the scenes tour! Totally worth it ! Book it in. The trainers and the up close experience you get will leave memories for a life time. Thank you to all the wonderful staff that make this place possible for our children and the education and experiences you provide. ❤️
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 January 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,502 reviews
Excellent
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Very good
327
Average
88
Poor
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Terrible
37

gizzmo0402
Stafford, UK67 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
Today's visit was really informative 👌 the Turtle 🐢 hospital 🏥 was really interesting to learn about and knowing they are being cared for at the different stages of progress ready to be realised back into the wild in their natural environment which is 80% success rate! Keep up the great work and thank you for an education visit.
Written 7 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jmi H
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
Regretful pricey experience that is not what was advertised. Pools are tiny and the tricks are not natural. Never seen wildlife hold paint brushes very cruel. Bella, Zippy and Jet are not rescued dolphins. A very sad experience in there.
Written 3 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Solo
No fun for the animals! These animals are enslaved against their will, forced to perform stupid human tricks, and kept in conditions that are unhealthy for their existence. See The Cove movie, or Blackfish to discover that support of these industries is absolutely cruel to the animals. Additionally, this facility is no 'sanctuary'. A sanctuary does not force animals to perform for humans. I even doubt many of these animals were even 'rescued'. Do your research, do not teach your children that cruelty to any being is acceptable.

These animals spend their entire lives confined to artificial pools. No matter how large these enclosures may appear to humans, the space the pools at marine parks or aquariums offer is not comparable to the vast oceans the animals would naturally travel across. Existing in confinement, they are also unable to create social bonds of their choosing, despite being highly social animals within their family and community groups in the wild.

Captive marine animals have been known to behave with abnormal, repetitive movements, such as head-bobbing, and circling or spiralling swimming patterns. These movements, known as stereotypies, indicate stress and boredom. Stereotypies are also noticeable in some captive land animals used for ‘entertainment’ in zoos and circuses.
Written 15 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Teena S
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
I can’t thank the staff at Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, we visited quite late today on our long long travels but I wanted a special treat for my dolphin loving daughters before heading home to Victoria .
The lady that served us went above and beyond to explain even tho we missed the main events today that we could do the behind the scenes tour! Totally worth it ! Book it in. The trainers and the up close experience you get will leave memories for a life time. Thank you to all the wonderful staff that make this place possible for our children and the education and experiences you provide. ❤️
Written 5 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Asif R
Sydney, Australia2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
The family had a great day with a dolphin encounter as the highlight. The actual encounter was amazing, but the disappointment came from the included encounter photos. Out of 10 pictures, only 4 were in focus. The family photo had people passing in the background, ruining the shot. Individual encounter photos were taken at an angle where one family member consistently blocked others, and the lack of guidance on posing naturally added to the frustration.
Written 4 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nickfF1997
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
I booked the Ultimate Dolphin Experience via the website. When I arrived at the marine park everybody was very friendly and I felt very welcome to the marine park. The dolphin experience started at 10am. I was lucky enough that I was the only person that booked the Ultimate Dolphin experience that day. I met up with Matt (the photographer) and he gave a little introduction. After the introduction I met Jemma (the trainer) and she introduced me to Bella (the dolphin). Jemma started with some rules I needed to follow. After that she asked Bella to come and swim next to me so that I could cuddle and pet her. Jemma told me almost everything she could about Bella.

After the cuddling and petting we started with some exercises. Bella made a lot of different noises because of all different hand signals that Jemma was doing. Jemma showed me a hand signal to let Bella make a sort a barrel role in the air. The first time I did the hand signal wrong but the second time Bella understood immediately and performed the trick. What a sight to see!

Next up I was given a body board and was told to lay down on it and put my feet straight behind me. Bella then came up and pushed me across the poule with amazing speed. She also pushed me back the whole way.

Last up was a diving exercise. I got handed a ring and goggles and was told to throw the ring in the water for bella to retrieve. In the meantime I could swim next to bella and witness her amazing beauty underwater.

Sadly this was the end of the session and Bella waved me goodbye.

A really big thanks to Bella, Jemma and Matt for this amazing, once in a lifetime, opportunity!
Written 23 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan T
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We almost didn’t go as we had read the previous bad reviews, but are so glad we did go! We arrived in time for the turtle hospital, and saw the dolphin and seal show. We were happily surprised that we got to touch the dolphins and were impressed by the staff, their care of the animals and their knowledge in answering our many questions. The children around us were enjoying their experience. We thought it was worth the entrance fee.
Written 18 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sherilea T
3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
On the website it’s advertised opening hours are 9.00am. It doesn’t open until 10.00am. We are from Queensland and arrived at 9.30. We had young child and had to wait around until 10.00.
We found the park to be very disappointing and overpriced. If you are willing to pay at least an extra $120 for a photo or more for an up close experience then this is the place for you. We will not be in a hurry to return and would not recommend visiting. We visited other attractions in Coffs Harbour and found them fantastic. The butterfly house the staff are fantastic.
Written 12 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jojo H
2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
Very very very very disappointed. Had previously visited 9 years ago and was disappointed to learn the attraction had stopped offering various experiences (unless you paid hundreds of dollars $$$$)
The staff were dismissive and uninterested in providing and promoting an experience worth remembering. The excuse Covid was repeatedly used when asking questions, also that the Park is allegedly under new management.
There was no offer of a ticket or even a receipt on arrival after checking in, the staff member said she would remember us. There were no souvenirs, other then over priced plush toys.
The animal enclosures where difficult to view due to height restrictions, glare, and scratches on the viewing windows.
The park has become more about the environment and less about the animals. We watched the penguin talk and considering the age of the audience, was bored by the depth of information yet didn’t see the penguins being fed.
We were looking forward to having our photo taken with the various animals but upon departure was told this had stopped due to Covid. (The decision seems more motivated by financial gain). The website states the park is open 0900-1500, but this is certainly not the case. After arriving at 0930 we were very rudely told the Park doesn’t open to 1000, we then proceeded to stand around like browns cows waiting.
We were in and out in an hour as seeing the animals was at an additional cost, the entry fee for $44 was definitely not worth the experience we had today.
Would not recommend
Written 10 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vickie P
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
We had an awesome doing Dolphin Shallow Water and Seal Experience and all the other exhibits. Definately will be back.
Written 31 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary

Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 3:00 pm