Explore Nani’s world

nani-headshotThe National Aquarium is home to a dynamic group of 10 healthy Atlantic bottlenose dolphins ranging from six months to 37 years. If you follow our blog, you know that the trainers and dolphins are currently preparing for the opening of our new dolphin show, that will explore the power, beauty, and grace of a dolphin’s world. Let’s a take a closer look into the world of Nani.

Nani is 37 years old, making her the oldest dolphin at the National Aquarium, and the most dominant. She came to the National Aquarium in 1990, when the Lyn P. Meyerhoff Amphitheater opened to the public.  Nani has given birth to six calves in her lifetime. Two of her calves live at the Aquarium, Spirit and Beau, and she is very protective of the both of them. 

Nani, meaning “beautiful” in Hawaiian, weighs approximately 500 pounds and is also the largest dolphin of the group. She currently eats about 25 pounds of fish a day! And with the trainers she is like a big huggable teddy bear in the water.

You can see Nani perform in our new dolphin show, Our Ocean Planet.  We invite you to join us on March 28 or 29 for a special preview of the new show. Visitors to the Aquarium on those days will have an opportunity to register on-site to win a Dolphin Encounter, for the chance to get up-close and personal our dolphins! We hope to see you there!

9 Responses to “Explore Nani’s world”


  1. 1 Beth Lacey March 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I like Nani because she has a double chin. And she rocks it!

  2. 2 Kim Hersh March 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Nani helped my husband propose to me, so she’s my favorite dolphin at the aquarium. I have a few pictures of it on my web page (though I now need to fix it – I spelled her name wrong! Oops!)

  3. 3 Lauren March 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Much love to Nani, I hope she lives a long healthy life. I’ll never forget playing with her and Chinook during my dolphin encounter :] I’d love to see lots of posts like this about all of the dolphins!

  4. 5 Amanda Payne March 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I LOVE NANI! As well as all of the other dolphins at the aquarium. I have had the chance to meet Nani twice, as well as Shiloh and Spirit. She’s such a big sweetheart!

  5. 6 JessicaAPISS March 30, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Wow, a dolphin encounter would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. As a teen I was obsessed with Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Ring of Endless Light” where a girl communicates and swims with dolphins. Still a total dream!

  6. 7 elizabeth April 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I was wondering where do u keep 10 dolphins, cause it looks like there is hardly any room. my favorite dolphins would have to to be Chesapeake and Nani

    • 8 National Aquarium April 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm

      The dolphins live in 4 pools in our amphitheater that collectively hold 1.3 million gallons of water, reaching depths of 24 feet! This is equal to about 70 household swimming pools! Our pools exceed the USDA standards for size and depth. Using the dolphins’ behavior as a gauge we feel confident that their physical and mental needs are being met. In the wild, dolphins travel to find food and mates. Our dolphins don’t need to search to either of these, and have plenty of room to swim and interact with each other.

  7. 9 Pinky Sammet April 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Nani is a sweet one, though my favorite is Chessie.
    You know, I think it’s amazing that NAIB let the public know the names of their dolphins, not just stage names (that you don’t even use!) and also facts about them. Congrats for this, it means a lot to me and others.


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