Woburn Dolphinarium: 1973 - 1983


Woburn opened in August 1973 with two of it's dolphins "Bonny" and "Clyde" being obtained from the London Dolphinarium.

Whipsnade Zoo - Zoological Society of London: 1972 - 1988


Constructed in 1972 The Water Mammal Exhibit displayed bottle-nosed dolphins.

Windsor Safari Park: 1970 - 1992


The park was founded in 1969 by the Billy Smart's circus family who opened the dolphinarium in 1970. The park was sold by Smarts in 1977 and had various owners until till it closed in October 1992. The dolphins were relocated to Harderwijk Marine Mammal Park in The Netherlands. A more detailed history of the park can be found here and videos here.

Durley Chine and Weymouth Dolphinariums: 1970 - 1971

The photograph on the front page of the souvenir programme was taken at
the Queen Hotel Dolphinarium in Margate, Kent,

In 1970 a dolphinarium was constructed located on Durley Chine, Bournemouth and operated by a company called Orca International Ltd. The show listed four dolphins on display: Chipper, Mickey, Adonis and Nero.  The show producer, compere and director of training was Douglas Muir with Godren Panitzke also credited as a trainer. The show ran for one season.

Two dolphins, Chipper and Nero, were then acquired by the Chipperfield Brothers Amusement Park in Weymouth.

These dolphins performed in Weymouth for one summer season before being relocated to the Coventry Zoo which was also owned by the Chipperfield Brothers. The animals were housed in a purpose-built pool under a geodesic dome.

The animals remained at the zoo until 1976 when they were temporarily moved to Woburn Safari Park before continuing their journey to their permanent home at the dolphinarium at the Hackenbeck Tierpark in Hamburg, Germany.

Many of the photographs in the souvenier programme were not taken at Durley Chine.
Here the photographs are of Doug Muir at Windsor safari park.

This photograph may be have taken at the pool at Durley Chime

Three of the photographs are taken at the original dolphin pool
at Brighton Aquarium.  The other is at Windsor safari park with two at Vancouver Aquarium.

West Midlands Safari Park Dolphinarium: 1975


Margate Dolphinarium operated this seasonal dolphinariums which probably only ran for one summer. The pool was then used for trained fur seal shows supplied by the safari park.

South Elmsall Animal Training School And Dolphinarium : 1972 - 1974


This was old public swimming pool built in 1932 and was operated by Jervale Ltd a company owned by filtration engineer John Nolan and his wife. The pool was mainly used as a centre for holding and training dolphins from March 1972 (see picture below from the Yorkshire Post) until around 1974. The owners also operated the dolphin shows at Flamingo Park and Ocean Park in Sunderland and the pool was used in the early 1970's to house animals destined for the first dolphinaria operated by Etam (Trust House Forte) at Rhyl.

Southsea Dolphinarium - Portsmouth: 1973


Two dolphins 'Patsy and Lulu' were transported from Flamingoland for this summer season show. The animals were then sold to Windsor Safari Park.

Southend Dolphinarium - 1970 - 1975


Southend-on-Sea dolphinarium was a summer seasonal show operated by the owners of the Margate Dolphinarium. The dolphins were originally displayed in 1970 in the old disused Westcliffe-On-Sea swimming pool - the site is now the Westcliff Leisure Centre. When this site was acquired by a developer the owners of the dolphins then constructed a dolphin pool on the sea-front on land leased from Southend Council to the right of Southend Pier on Marine Parade. The dolphinarium closed in 1975. 

Skegness Dolphinarium: 1972 - 1975


Skegness dolphinarium was a summer seasonal show operated Queens Motel and Entertainment Ltd (Margate Dolphinarium) in conjunction with Skegness Urban Council. The first season started badly with dolphin 'Speedy' having to be returned to Margate as he refused to perform. Two animals were then supplied on loan from Pleasurama (London Dolphinarium etal) for this season. In 1973 the season had a false start with one of the dolphins playing with and breaking in filter inlet pipe that allowed water to empty from the pool. Fortunately, staff arrived to find the animals safely on a 'water'bed' created by the pool liner and they were moved to the companies Margate pool whilst the pool was repaired. The animal returned some weeks later. The dolphin pool's last summer season was in 1975.

Scarborough Marineland & Zoo: 1969 - 1984


The zoo was developed by business man Don Robinson who was also involved with Scotia Leisure one time owners of Flamingo Park Zoo and it's satellites. Scarborough also supplied dolphins for Blair Drummond Safari Park and had asscotions with the directors of Margate dolphinarium and others involved in dolphin displays at the time such as Gwrych Castle. The marineland closed in 1984. The site was then developed into Mr Marvel's Theme Park which ran until the early nineteen-nineties. The site is currently derelict.

Sandown Dolphinarium - Isle Of Wight


The dolphinariums at Sandown and Brean Down were both operated by Ted Cowell with all but one of the animals supplied by Aquatic Mammal Enterprises. Sandown was a converted swimming pool located at the Blue Lagoon area of Sandown sea-front.

Aquatic Mammal Enterprises was a dolphin supply and training company based in Key Largo, Florida, USA. It was operated by Charlie and Leigh Hradek. Riggs was former Vietnam veteran and pilot who became in involved in dolphin capture operation due to his flying skills. 

In 1973 he supplied the dolphins for the Mike Nichol's film 'The Day of the Dolphin'. In 1974 the company came to the UK with 4 bottle-nosed dolphins: 'Max'. 'Leigh', 'Little Charlie' and 'Peewee'. The animals were housed initially at the Margate dolphinarium but spent the summer season performing at Cleethorpes Zoo, Sandown Dolphinarium and Brean Down Dolphinarium. Riggs and all of the dolphins return to the US in 1975.
A Review of Dolphinaria states:

Owner: Performing Dolphins Ltd (Mr Cowell). Opened: June 1971 or 1972. Closed: after 1973 summer season. An adapted outdoor swimming pool, 24.38 x 6.10 x 2.44 - 3.05 m deep. The creditors of Performing Dolphins Ltd met in London in April 1974.
Dolphinarium marked by red square

The original swimming pool that many years later was converted into the dolphinarium at Sandown.

Royalty Folies - London- 1974


The Royalty Folies (later to be renamed The Great International Nude Show) was staged at the Royalty Theatre London in Holborn by Paul Raymond owner of the then famous Raymond's Review Bar. The animals were house in 10,000 gallon tank which weighed 65 tones. The two dolphins were called "Pixie" and "Penny" and they remain at the theatre for the 12 week run of the show from April to June in 1974. The animals were trained for the show over-winter at the Porthcawl Dolphinarium. They were relocated first to the dolphinarium at Woburn and then to the dolphinarium at Flamingo Park Zoo in Yorkshire. The show closed due to financial loss and not due to adverse criticism cited below in A Review of Dolphinaria.

Paul Raymond's life was portrayed in a 2013 drama 'The Look of Love' and features the 'Royalty Folies' and mentions the dolphins inclusions in the show.

Rhyl Dolphinarium: 1972 - 1974



The dolphinarium opened in June 1972 and was located in the Ocean Beach Fun Fair on the West Parade. Animals from Rhyl where over-wintered at Knowsley Safari Park Dolphinarium and later Woburn Safari Park. In Colin Jones 'Rhyl Life' blog it is noted that the dolphin pool still remains under the floor of the Breaks Snooker Club and Sports Bar (pictured above).

Porthcawl Dolphinarium: 1971 - 1974


The dolphinarium was sited at the Coney Beach Pleasure Park, Porthcawl, South Wales and originally built and owned by Joe Raber's company Marine Mammals International. The last two dolphins to be housed there were in the winter of 1974 undergoing training for the Royalty Folies show in London. The dolphinarium was then used for sea lions shows by Jervale Ltd in the summer of 1975.

Ocean Park - Seaburn - Sunderland: 1973 - 1975


This site was built and developed by local fair owner John Colins and animals supplied in partnership with Jervale Ltd a company that from 1975 until early 1977 operated the dolphinarium at Flamingo Park Zoo. The dolphin pool was seasonal outside facility with animals displayed returning to Flamingo Park during the winter. The dolphin display appears to have only operated for no more than two summer starting in 1973. A news article on the Ocean Park and it history and a possible documentary film can be found HERE.

Marineland - Morecambe: 1964 - 1990


Billed as Europe's first oceanarium Marineland was the brain child of zoo-man Robert Jackson owner of the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay North Wales in partnership with George Cansdale - former Superintendent at London Zoo and owner of Natureland Marine Zoo on Skegness sea-front. They setup Marineland with a company called Marineland Ltd and opened the aquarium in 1964. Unfortunately they had financial difficulties and were taken over by Morecambe Council a year or so later.

Queen's Motel Dolphinarium: Margate: 1969 - 1977


The dolphinarium was owned by Louis Holloway and Keith Franklin and situated in the converted swimming pool of a former Butlin's Hotel which became an entertainment complex and motel. As well as the dolphinarium at Cliftonville, the company Queens Entertainments Ltd ran a number of seasonal dolphinariums at Skegness, Southend on Sea and West Midland Safari Park; or one season in 1971 the company presented a show at Salonika in Greece. It also toured dolphins in shows in public swimming pools the Midlands, north of England and Bristol. In 1974 the dolphinarium also house four dolphins belonging to Aquatic Mammal Enterprises which in that summer supplied the last dolphin display to Cleethropes Zoo. The company also supplied one or more dolphins for one summer season display in the nineteen-sevenies to Flamingo Park Zoo. At one time Queens Entertainments had business connections with Marine Mammals International. The Hotel was demolished in November 1978 and Queen's Court housing development now stands on the site in the late 1970s.

London Dolphinarium: 1971 -


Opening on the 1 April 1971 the London Dolphinarium was located at 65 Oxford Street in London and owned by the Pleasurama Leisure Group. At this time the company also owned Marineland in Mallorca and a temporary dolphin holding and training pool located in the Pleasurama's Amusement Park at Ramsgate. In December 2012, 65 Oxford Street and any of the remaining infrastructure from the original dolphinarium were demolished for redevelopment. 

Knowsley Safari Park Dolphinarium: 1972 - 1985


The dolphinarium opened in June 1972 and housed various dolphins over the years including two animals that where acquired from a drive fisheries in Japan which were acclimated at Ocean Park, Hong Kong prior to that trip to the UK. The story of these animals capture and transport were the subject of a special programme in the BBC animal series 'Animal Magic' featuring Terry Nutkins, who was also the general manager for the Etam groups dolphinaria (see Radio Times article below). Nutkins acquired the last remain dolphins owned by Etam when they ceased dolphinarium operations in 1983. These two animals, Clyde and Sooty, where displayed at Blair Drummond Safari Park for one season returning to Knowsley in 1985. In September 1985 Knowsley were granted permission by the Department of the Environment to buy the animals from Terry Nutkins.

Gwrych Castle: 1970


Scotia Investments who at this time owned Flamingo Park and various other attraction had a small seasonal dolphin pool sited at the castle which is located at St Asaph in North Wales for one summer in the early nineteen seventies. The castle is actually a folly and is currently a waiting restoration. Wikipedia Link

Flamingoland: 1963 - 1993


Flamingo Park opened on 28th June 1961 by Pentland Hick as The Yorkshire Zoological Gardens. In 1963 it was the first to display cetaceans in the UK followed closely by Marineland Morecambe. The original dolphin pool was a small figure of eight facility in the reptile house. As well as bottlenosed dolphins other whales were imported including a young white whale in 1964 and a young pilot whale in 1966. In 1965 Hick decided to float the zoo on the UK Stock Exchange and became Associated Pleasure Parks. The success for the pioneering dolphins exhibits was due to the insight of the zoo professional Reg Bloom who later was involved in similar developments at Windsor Safari Park, London Dolphinarium and Clacton Pier.

Dudley Zoo - Dolphins & Whales: 1971 - 1974


Dudley Zoo spent a period of time owned by Scotia Leisure who also at this time owned Flamingo Park. The dolphin and whale pools were modified seal and sea lions pools with the walls being built up to create more depth. However, these plans fell foul of the local planning laws and the zoo was ordered to return the pools to the original state. As the zoo was not prepare to invest in new purpose built pools the whale 'Cuddles' was put up for sale. Sadly the whale died 6 February 1974 before being moved from long-term gastro-intestinal problem. The pools were return to their original design and now house sea lions.

Coventry Zoo Dolphinarium: 1972 - 1975


The Coventry Zoo was opened in 1966 by cousins of the Chipperfield family. It was notably famous for a large fibreglass Zulu warrior standing at the main gates. Coventry Zoo housed two bottle nose dolphins, 'Chipper' and 'Nero' for a number of years in the early nineteen-seventies in a geodesic dome. The animals had been originally imported from Florida for a dolphinarium in an amusement park in Weymouth in Dorest for one summer season in 1971 before being moved to Coventry. The animals eventually left the zoo and where re-homed at Tierpark Hagenbeck's dolphinarium Hamburg, Germany.

Cleethorpes Marineland & Zoo: 1966 - 1974


Cleethorpes Zoo & Marineland was founded by Pentland Hick and was operated as a satellite zoo to Flamingo Park both of which was later owned by Scotia Leisure. The marineland complex compromised of three fibreglass pool; two pools 6 feet deep and a free standing pool with underwater viewing window in the region of 12 feet deep. The display of dolphins at this park was not continuous with some years presentations being from sea lions only. The last dolphins to be displayed here was in the summer of 1974 with animals supplied by Aquatic Mammal Enterprises. The zoo closed in 1977 and was later redeveloped into Pleasure Island Theme Park.

Clacton Pier Dolphinarium: 1971 - 1985


The pool complex on Clacton Pier was a former outdoor swimming pool. It converted and operated by Reg Bloom and his family; he was responsible for the introduction of dolphins and later whales to the UK at Flamingoland.The main residents were the bottlenose dolphins, Bubbles and Squeak, and later young killer whales. When the dolphins and whales left the pier their continued to be displays with sea lions and fur seals and also a marine aquarium. Their continues to be a marine aquarium on the pier The SeAquarium.

Brighton Aquarium & Dolphinarium: 1968 - 1990


Detail of the hostory of the aquarium can be found in the guide books displayed below on this page and also in A Review of Dolphinaria published in 1986.

The aquarium last remaining dolphins "Missy" and "Silver" became part of the controversial Into The Blue project and were eventually release into the sea in the Caribbean in September 1991. Their fate remains unknown.

Brean Down Dolphinarium - 1974


Brean Down Dolphinarium was a seasonal facility of 'in ground' breeze block construction and plastic liner.

Blair Drummond Safari Park Dolphinarium: 1974 - 1984

Picture of the pool in its opening season; a roof was added the following year and can be seen of the picture at the foot of this page. The pool is now used for sea lion displays.


Blair Drummond was a satellite dolphin show originally operated by Scarborough Marineland & Zoo.

Blackpool Dolphinarium - 1969

Photo taken from 100 Years of The Seaside: Twentieth Century in Pictures published by Ammonite Press/Press Association copyright.


A seasonal temporary show ran for only one summer at Blackpool in 1969 by Joe Raber's
Marine Mammals International with two dolphins name "Simbad" (pictured) and "Pronto". "Simbad" was later transferred (along with a number of animals) from Marine Mammals International (Battersea Park Dolphinarium, Royalty Folies) to the company who owned Margate Dolphinarium and other seasonal dolphinaria. These two companies did have business links at one point and the transfer of some animals to Queens Entertainments was agreed when they ceased joint business operations.

Battersea Park Dolphinarium: 1971 - 1973


The dolphinarium was housed in an existing building in the Festival Gardens, Battersea Park. It opened in March 1971. Press reports at the time detail the head trainer as Jean Tiebor with three dolphins called Flipper, Skipper and Buddy. It is reported that these animals were collected from the Florida in January 1971.