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.

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