Grassy Key

An aerial of Grassy Key. Photo taken by the Federal Government on October 7, 1987. From the Wright Langley Collection.

Grassy Key, Florida, is an island in the Middle Keys of Florida. Grassy Key is part of the City of Marathon and is located on the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1), at approximately mile markers 57—60, below the Conch Keys and north-west of Boca Chica Key. The entire island was incorporated into Marathon in 1999.

The island contains several family resorts such as oceanside and bayside, as well as many private residences. There is a state park on the key as well as the Dolphin Research Center. An education and research facility and home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. The Dolphin Research Center is located at mile marker (MM) 59 and is on Grassy Key.

Milton & Donald Santini were well-known residents of Grassy Key. He started a Porpoise Training School having learned that the Miami Sea Aquarium was paying $100 per Porpoise delivered to Marathon or Tavernier.

Milton’s nephew, Donald, states that they had been capturing porpoises for about two years when they found Mitzi, later known as Flipper who starred in the 1963 TV Show Flipper and later in the 1964 TV Show Flipper’s New Adventure.

Santini’s Porpoise Training School is the Dolphin Research Center (mile marker 59) at Grassy Key.

Historical names include Ellis Island, Desolation Keys and Dissolution Keys.

Swimming with Dolphins, Dolphin Research Center – Grassy Key