KINGSTON, Jamaica – Stafford Burrowes has wrapped up the $250 million expansion of his Dolphin Cove theme park, and is now planning a spectacular unveiling within weeks.
“Despite the delays, people, I believe, will be impressed with what we have done here at Dolphin Cove,” said Burrowes. “We promised a world-class facility and we have delivered.”
The expansion, he said, covers approximately 60,000 square feet and includes a new pier, a bathing beach, a beachfront restaurant and a number of shops.
“The town of Ocho Rios has benefited greatly from what we have been doing here and will continue to do so,” Burrowes noted.
“The facts are there to support this. What we are doing is to prepare to fill and meet the increased demand anticipated for the upcoming winter season for both the cruise shipping and land-based visitors to our island.”
The local investor says his facility, whose main attraction is the opportunity to swim with dolphins, will double his current complement of 140 employees.
The facility also houses a variety of marine animals, including sharks and stingrays.
Ocho Rios, the home of Dunn’s River Falls, is the premier spot for cruise-ship calls to Jamaica.
Built nearly eight years ago at a cost of US$3 million, Dolphin Cove, located in the vicinity of the falls, is nearly as popular.
The four-acre property not only boasts 15,000 feet of beach but comes with a pavilion, which provides information on the dolphins and instructions on how to swim with them.
There is also a restaurant and snack counter, gift shop, hair-braiding facility and an area where photos can be taken with the friendly sea mammals.
Burrowes sees new public infrastructure developments as a possible springboard to a bigger market for his park.
“The new highway has made Ocho Rios more accessible to Montego Bay passengers,” he said. “We are planning on establishing the largest artificial reef-ball project in the Caribbean. Ocho Rios marine park users will have free access to the new reef development.”
As for the dolphins, Burrowes said the new lagoon will be designed to allow the dolphins to swim in the open sea, similar to a facility in Israel.
“Our current facility has its barrier to the sea, which is submerged at high tide, so animals could freely swim or jump away if they wish,” he said.