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Everyone loved Flipper, but they love Nellie too. Popular Marineland dolphin turns 61 tomorrow

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm





By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

One of Florida’s best loved mammals is celebrating a birthday this week.

Nellie, the world’s oldest dolphin in human care, will turn 61 Thursday. Nellie lives at Marineland Dolphin Adventure, near St. Augustine.

Nellie is a bottlenose dolphin that has far exceeded the average life span of free-ranging dolphins, as well as those in aquariums and zoos Nellie’s long life is a testament to the extraordinary level of care she has received since birth, say Marineland officials.

Since Nellie’s birth at Marineland on Feb. 27, 1953, she has inspired and educated millions of people and is also helping to shape the zoological community’s research and training methods. Nellie quickly became a celebrity and starred in several TV shows filmed at Marineland’s original dolphin stadium, was featured in a Timex watch TV commercial in 1961 and is Jacksonville University’s mascot.

The Marineland website features a timeline with historical moments in the life of the popular dolphin at

You can also tweet happy birthday wishes to Nellie at Twitter  at  #NellieTurns61.