Marineland partners with St. Augustine Historical Society for exhibit

Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Nellie squirts water on a fish birthday cake to celebrate her 54th birthday at Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center in 2007. Nellie, who was born at Marineland on Feb. 27, 1953, was the world's oldest dolphin in human care when she died at the park in 2014.

Thursday, June 23, 1938, was a big day for Marineland. Dignitaries from St. Augustine and Daytona Beach joined state officials, a former U.S. senator and more than 30,000 members of the public to celebrate the grand opening of what was then called Marineland Studios in a ceremony that was broadcast live on the radio.

Located south of St. Augustine, just over the St. Johns County border County on A1A, Marineland was billed as “the world’s first oceanarium” and featured tanks filled with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water with glass-viewing portholes where visitors could see an assortment of marine life, such as sharks, turtles and other local sea animals.

Shortly after celebrating its 83rd anniversary, Marineland partnered with the St. Augustine Historical Society to publicly display some of the items in its collection.

Visitors to Marineland watch as a dolphin jumps at the attraction in 2014.

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One of Florida’s first attractions

Originally built for filming underwater scenes movies, Marineland was the set for hundreds of films, including “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 1954.