Centre’s new look amazes

Phil CoulthardSouth Western Times
Record numbers of dolphins have been visiting the Interaction Zone.
Camera IconRecord numbers of dolphins have been visiting the Interaction Zone. Credit: Henderson Photographics

It’s finally ready! The new and improved Dolphin Discovery Centre will open its doors to the general public for the first time on Saturday and I can assure all of you that the interior is just as impressive as the outside architecture.

The work put in by the architects, engineers and builders has been nothing short of spectacular and the DDC staff and volunteers are now working around the clock to get the centre ready for the Christmas holidays.

And it appears the dolphins are also excited about the new facility with record dolphin visits to the centre’s Interaction Zone recorded throughout November and December.

For those who are new to Bunbury, the Interaction Zone is a designated area where people and dolphins have interacted for almost 30 years.

It is located directly in front of the centre and is under licence from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

As part of the conditions of licence, the centre has maintained daily dolphin visit records since 1990 and last month recorded 174 visits from 20 different dolphins over 28 days.

This easily surpasses the previous record of 156 visits recorded in November 2012 and 131 visits in 1996.

Incredibly, a similar record was set earlier in the year during preliminary groundwork construction of the new centre.

With the constant movement of machinery, noise and vibration generated from the construction work, the response of dolphin attraction rather than avoidance took us all by surprise with record breaking visits in both February and March.

Initially we thought this was simply a coincidence, however the record-breaking months of November and December suggest the dolphins are just as curious and no doubt as equally impressed as we are.

Either way, the boom in dolphin visits is a huge bonus leading into another busy summer school holiday period and more importantly, for the opening of Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre this weekend.

General entry into the centre cafe/restaurant, grounds and beach Interaction Zone is now free of charge and the view is nothing short of world class.

Of course there are costs to enter the interpretive area which boasts state-of-the-art aquariums, a new theatre, feeding presentations and hands-on interactive displays.

The dolphin sightseeing Eco-Cruises and swim tours are also operating daily with boat tours running from 8am until 3pm weather permitting.

There will also be a fun-filled school holiday program for the kids starting the first week of January and the Bunbury City Tram Tours will also kick off after Christmas.

For more information on the centre’s redevelopment, facilities and program of events, visit the website or Facebook pages or better still, head on down this weekend to meet the dolphins and enjoy the best food, coffee and views in the South West.

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