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->''"Did you know dolphins need to be in a pool with other dolphins? It's a law, because they're so social... like us... or me, anyway."''
-->-- '''Hazel''', ''Film/DolphinTale''

In most media, especially most fiction, dolphins are portrayed as playful creatures, who will easily befriend humans and like to play around in the water with them.

In real life, the extent of this varies. Domestic dolphins are usually trained to be like this. Stories of friendly behavior by wild dolphins abound and predate dolphin training, however wild dolphins are often hard to predict and like any other animal can be dangerous. Experts recommend keeping your distance from them.

See also HeroicDolphin, though dolphins can be portrayed as playful but not heroic, or heroic but not playful. Sometimes overlaps with SapientCetaceans, though cetaceans can be dolphins ''or'' whales, and also, dolphins can be portrayed as sapient but not playful, or playful but not sapient.
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!! Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:AnimeAndManga]]
* Keyop in ''BattleOfThePlanets'' befriends a playful dolphin.
* Haru from ''Anime/RealDrive'' loved to swim with a dolphin as a boy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Classical Mythology]]
* Boys riding dolphins were a common mottif in Roman and Greek art and literature and in latter art inspired by Classical themes. In some of the stories, the boys are in fact gods or demigods. [[http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Palaimon.html Palaimon]] and Cupid are common choices. However, there were also stories of mortal boys that befriended dolphins and rode them. Pliny the Younger's letter include [[http://www.bartleby.com/9/4/1107.html such a tale]] of a boy in the North African town of Hippo. According to the tale, while swimming, the boy was befriended by a dolphin that allowed him to ride it.
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Series/BloodDolphins'', Ric O'Barry claims that he brought a TV to the end of a dock, and the dolphins (that he had trained) would watch ''{{Flipper}}'' with him.
* ''Film/DolphinTale'' definitely applies this trope strongly to Winter, and indicates it for other aquarium dolphins as well.
* Averted in ''Day of the Dolphin'', when two dolphins are trained to assassinate the President.
* ''Eye of the Dolphin'' is about a 14 year old who bonds with a wild dolphin.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Into the Deep'' by Ken Grimwood a marine biologist learns from her dolphin friends that there is an earth threatening disaster.
* In ''Whispers from the Bay'' Mike Connely becomes friends with talking dolphins that show him their "top secret world".
* ''Dolphin Boy'' is about a boy who won't speak meets a lost dolphin. Trapped in loneliness, a bond of friendship grows between them that leads the way to happiness and freedom for both the boy and the dolphin.
* ''Dolphin Boy Blue'' takes place in the sparkling blue waters of the Australian ocean, a boy and a dolphin develop a very special friendship
* In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'', this trope is why dolphins are a SuperiorSpecies - while humans went around having wars and inventing the wheel, dolphins just splashed about in the water having a good time. Their final message to humanity[[note]]So long, and thanks for all the fish[[/note]] was misinterpreted as 'a sophisticated attempt to jump through a hoop while whistling The Star-Spangled Banner'.
* In ''Literature/TheMagicTreehouse: Dolphins At Day Break'', Jack and Annie are saved by friendly dolphins that allow Jack and Annie to ride them.
* ''Dolphin Tale: The Junior Novel'' is, as is apparent from the title, based on [[Film/DolphinTale the movie]].
* ''Riding the Storm Dolphin Diaries 3'' involves a girl finding buried treasure with her dolphin friend.
* ''Dolphin Song'' is about a girl a becomes friends with dolphins and learns how to communicating with them.
* There's also another book called ''Dolphin Song'' which is the second book in ''The White Giraffe'' series. The main character, a girl called Martine - who holds a special gift with animals - falls overboard during a storm while on a school trip aboard a boat. Several other students also fall overboard, and they are all rescued by a pod of dolphins who remain friendly to them throughout.
* A diver becomes friends with a dolphin pod after saving one of their babies in ''Dolphin Freedom''
* ''Fast-Talking Dolphin'' is about a boy who befriends a dolphin that can talk and needs the boy to use his skills to save his life.
* In ''Dolphin Knight'' a girl bonds with a dolphin knight who helps her overcome her fear of water
* Johnny Clinton is taken on an under sea tour by intelligent dolphins in ''Dolphin Island'' by {{Arthur C Clarke}}
* In ''Aka'' by Tristan Jones the protagonist Conan is saved from drowning by dolphins
* ''Maddy's Dolphin'' is about a girl who bonds with a talking dolphin. They have been friends ever since the dolphin saved Maddy from drowning.
* The young adult novel ''The Music of Dolphins'' features a [[WildChild girl raised by a pod of dolphins]]. Discussion of dolphin behaviour and social structure ensues.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' portrays the dolphin mind as playful. The gang sometimes have trouble getting control over the morph for a few minutes because it wants to play.
** This even becomes a bit of a plot point in the final book of the series - [[spoiler:Jake is suffering from some pretty heavy PTSD, so his friends trick him into morphing a dolphin as a kind of intervention.]]
* In Discworld/{{The Last Hero}} Evil Harry Dread (a wannabe {{Evil Overlord}}) was conned into buying a pod of these for his {{Shark Pool}}.
-->"I should've known better when Johnny No Hands ''told'' me they were sharks that hadn't grown all their fins yet, but all they did was swim around squeaking happily and start beggin' for fish. When I throw people into a torture tank it's to be torn to bits, not to get in touch with their inner self and be one with the cosmos."
* ''The Dolphins of Pern'', part of the DragonridersOfPern series, is about a group of people discovering the fact that "shipfish" are actually genetically engineered dolphins[[note]]They had been enhanced to have speech capabilities, as well as near-human intelligence[[/note]] who had been brought to Pern as colonists. They are hard workers when it's something they consider important, but otherwise they are carefree and love to play with each other and humans.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-ActionTV]]
* Darwin the Dolphin on ''SeaquestDSV''
* {{Flipper}} the dolphin is a playful friendly dolphin, apart from being a helpful HeroicDolphin.
* ''Dolphin Cove'' introduced a man and his son and emotionally-disturbed daughter who move to Australia, where the daughter develops a special rapport with two wild dolphins.
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[[folder: Toys]]
* Flash the Dolphin was one of the original nine Toys/BeanieBabies, and at least three have followed (Docks, Echo, Starboard). There are also several orca Beanie Babies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the {{Sierra}} game ''EcoQuest'', befriending a dolphin is what leads the main character on his adventure.
* ''VideoGame/{{Petz}} Wild Animals Dolphinz'' is about training and taking care of dolphins. ''Petz Dolphinz Encounter'' allows the player to swim with wild dolphins.
* ''Aquapets 101 Dolphin Pets'' is a game where you can raise 101 different types of dolphins and play with them
* The ''VideoGame/EndlessOcean'' games naturally feature dolphins and larger cetaceans from various locations. You can befriend certain dolphins.
** ''Endless Ocean Blue World'' allows much more interaction with dolphins. You can tame them and take them with you on dives, where they can tow you faster than you can swim and help find items. You can also teach them to do tricks and put on shows at your island. You tame two species during the story, and can tame more with sidequests later. This game is also somewhat notable for simply having dolphins other than Bottlenose dolphins.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has a dolphin that will help you get to Junon.
* ''[[VideoGame/WaveRace Wave Race 64]]'' has dolphins appearing in certain courses, most notably in Dolphin Park, in which the tutorial consists of following a dolphin. A code allows you to ''ride a dolphin'' in that course.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Banjo-Kazooie}}'', there's a dolphin that's [[AndroclesLion trapped under an anchor]] ''[[NoKillLikeOverkill in grimy toxic water]]''. Swimming up into the ship and slamming the button to drag the anchor off of him causes him to thank you by leaving behind a [[{{Macguffin}} Jiggy]].
* Mike rescues a dolphin in the second stage of ''VideoGame/StarTropics''. [[spoiler:[[AndroclesLion It returns the favor at the end of the game]]]].
* Helena swims with a dolphin in her ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive 3'' ending cinematic.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' has yellow dolphins that swim alongside the train while it's going over water. They squeak and jump out of the water when you blow the whistle, and they are ''adorable''. If you keep blowing your whistle, they give you hearts to heal your train.
* In ''RobotUnicornAttack'' a dolphin appears for each 5.000 points you earn. [[spoiler:(They don't do anything.)]]
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' features dolphins that jump around you in Sonic's Stage One, Emerald Coast, if you're looking in right place at the right time. The appearance of these dolphins and their numbers seems to be performance based, or it might be random.
* The first two EccoTheDolphin games nearly avert it (the lone exception being Ecco being challenged to jump really high by a podmate), since the dolphins in question are in the middle of a war with space aliens, but ''[[OddballInTheSeries Ecco Jr.]]'' is about baby dolphins romping around, and ''Defender of the Future'' has a few playful minigames.
* Goggle-wearing dolphins actually show up in the game ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Initially played straight in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' when a pod of dolphins rescues Agent Bearclaw from the middle of the ocean. [[spoiler: Averted when they shoot him after reaching land. To be fair, he deserved it.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Hank Hill meets an OVERLY friendly playful dolphin in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill''.
* Aquaman's dolphin in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold.''
* In ''Flipper and Lopaka'' Lopaka is Flippers best friend and they go on many adventures together.
* ''Zoom the White Dolphin'' is about a white dolphin who is freinds with two children who live with their sailor uncle.
* Averted in one of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' Treehouse of Horror episodes, where an army of dolphins kill and kick everyone out of Springfield.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some scientific explanations of wild dolphin behaviour subvert this. For example, male dolphins typically leave the pod when they mature to pursue a solitary life or a life with other males. Sometimes, when males refuse to leave the pod, the females will push the males above the water line and expose them to the sun. Too much sun-exposure can be very uncomfortable for the dolphins, so this convinces the males to swim away. Sometimes, they will do the same thing to humans, possibly mistaking the humans for males that refuse to leave the pod. Of course, humans aren't threatened by prolonged exposure to the sun, so they think the dolphins are swimming with them, when really the dolphins are trying to drive them away.
** Interestingly, as one of the most advanced species of animals, dolphins also happen to occasionally kill and rape for fun. Much like humans.
* Dolphins blow [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMCf7SNUb-Q bubble rings]].
* There was an Australian surfer who went under the breakers and lost his board, only to be saved by a lone dolphin who not only kept him afloat and guided him towards the shore, but also chased off a shark.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opo_%28dolphin%29 Opo]] the friendly dolphin of Opononi.
* [[http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950830&slug=2138965 Tiao]] started out friendly but eventually killed a swimmer who was harassing him.
* [[http://www.dodingle.com/Activities/fungi_dingle_dolphin.html Fungie]] the Dingle Dolphin.
* There are a number of instances of orcas (which are a species of dolphin) behaving friendly and playfully toward humans. One notable example is Keiko, the orca who starred in ''FreeWilly''. Even after he was released to the wild, he was very friendly toward humans, and even let children ride on his back.
** Despite this, captive orcas can still be dangerous animals if maltreated. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilikum_(orca) Tilikum]], for example, has killed three people while in captivity.
*** Ironically two of these deaths were caused because he wanted to play with humans, but did not know that they were easily breakable and couldn't survive long underwater.
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