World’s Oldest Dolphin in Human Care Turns 58! | Urban Wildlife

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World’s Oldest Dolphin in Human Care Turns 58!
Urban Wildlife

Nellie, the world’s oldest dolphin in human care, celebrated her 58th birthday this morning with fish, cake, and fanfare.  Nellie splashed out the candle on her cake made of ice and frozen fish after her party guests were regaled with stories of her illustrious career.  A round of “Happy Birthday” led by Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts and his wife Priscilla, and Commissioner Milissa Holland, chair of the Flagler County Commission, sung by approximately 150 of her friends and fans followed.  More traditional birthday cake from Publix was enjoyed by those who visited to share in this special occasion.               

Having already lived more than twice the average lifespan of a female Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin in the wild, Nellie continues to eat well, socialize with the other dolphins, interact with staff and the occasional guest, and play with enrichment devices daily. Curator Kevin Roberts states, “Every staff member who gets to work with Nellie on a daily basis realizes how lucky they are. While we have four other dolphins in their forties here at Marineland, Nellie stands out as the poster child for geriatric dolphins. Each birthday that we celebrate with her means that much more to everyone in our field, and we hope to celebrate many more with her.”

Nellie starred in shows at Marineland's dolphin stadium during the 50's, 60's and beyond, as well as in Timex watch commercials in the 1960's. She continues to be the mascot for Jacksonville University and has received honorary undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school.  Marineland staff members are thrilled to celebrate each birthday with Nellie, and recognize that every day spent with this extraordinary animal is to be appreciated. 

Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center was acquired by the Georgia Aquarium in January 2011 and operates as a subsidiary of the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta.

For information on Nellie and Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center, or to make reservations, call (904) 471-1111 or visit For additional press information, inquiries or images please contact Francesca Allegra at or call (404) 581-4391.

Urban Wildlife

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