Dolphinaris charity efforts remain cloudy despite corporate assurances

A view of one of the female dolphins at Dolphinaris Arizona prior to opening. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

A view of one of the female dolphins at Dolphinaris Arizona prior to opening. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

Through online and print advertisements, the Dolphinaris Arizona facility set to open Oct. 15 has publicly stated that it donates a portion of ticket sales to ocean and marine life conservation.

The Scottsdale Independent has confirmed with the local entity that funds are given through its parent company, Ventura Entertainment, to research and restoration facilities and to universities, but there isn’t a specific amount per ticket that is donated.

Dolphinaris Arizona is a dolphinarium located to the east of Loop 101 on Via de Ventura Boulevard in the OdySea facility on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It consists of three connected pools containing nearly 1 million gallons of filtered salt water, which houses a handful of inshore Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins.

The company states money is given to:

  • The Dolphinaris Educational Program;
  • Laguna de Terminos Campeche (research on wild dolphin populations);
  • Manos de Apoyo (Helping Hands);
  • Seed of Life (restoration);
  • Centre de Transfomacion para joyenes (transformation center);
  • And research with Texas A&M University and the University of Carmen

In an Oct. 6 phone interview, Dolphinaris Arizona General Manager Dr. Grey Stafford confirmed the corporate entity is where the funds are donated from.

“Those numbers are all corporate numbers, and I’ve asked those questions,” said Dr. Stafford. “Ballpark, when you factor in cash contributions, staffing and in-kind support it is upwards of $200,000. That number is probably an under estimate with the additional labor that was included.”

Dr. Stafford contends that the amount of money the Arizona location will donate is contingent on how well the business does.

“We haven’t made any donations here in America through Ventura Entertainment LLC because we’re not open yet,” he said. “Honestly I think those are great questions, I just don’t know the answer to it because a lot of it will be determined by the finances.”

Dr. Stafford says there isn’t an exact amount per ticket.

“It’s with the caveat that it’s not 5 cents per ticket,” he said. “There is a historical track record there but it’s from our Mexico parent company. The intention is to go on with that plan.”

Dolphinaris Arizona maintains its main focus it to teach guests about the importance of marine mammals and ocean conservation, and to study the animals in order to better understand the intelligent mammal.

The Mexico-based Dolphinaris locations are: Cancun, Riviera Maya Park, Cozumel, Tulum and Barcelo.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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