The first time in my life I saw dolphins was at the Dolphinarium on the beachfront of the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Dolphinarium with its big stadium, large dolphin pool with underwater viewing arena, and the performing bottle nose dolphins (the most common dolphin species) - made a lasting impression on me.
The dolphin daily show at the Dolphinarium ( part of the Aquarium housed in the great Bayworld Oceanarium complex) , was a very popular attraction amongst local and international visitors. People, and especially children, were fascinated by the beauty, and grace of the dolphins's acrobatic jumps, flips, breaches , tail waving etc..
It's amusing to know that these performing creatures sometimes have to be put on diet. Despite the fact that they excercise a lot and display great energy in their acrobatics, if they overeat they develop fat stomachs which affect their abilities in their aquatic performance. So, no fatty mackerel for you guys, only white, lean fish.
(It's a bit like in humans; exercising is helpful in maintaining normal weight, in preventing weight gain, but if you're fat, you'll first have to do something about your food intake, excercing alone won't make you slim).
Dolphins , like humans, recognize themselves in the mirror - sign of self-awareness and that's great! Well, they do have what to see in the mirror: cute, friendly faces and an intelligent look.
Speaking of intelligence, dolphins are considered the most intelligent animals and this trait is very appealing to humans who make use of it and interract with dolphins in various fields: medical (therapeutic swimming of dolphins with handicapped children and adults) , military (dolphins are trained to locate sea mines by producing sounds and listening to their echo), fishing ( dolphins cooperate with fishermen by driving fish into their nets), rescue (dolphins can save people from drowning by raising them to surface). Dolphins adapt well to human companionship and are easily trained to perform tasks, provided the trainer shows them respect.
Relationship between mother dolphin -baby dolphin and that among grown-up dolphins seems similar to relarionship in humans.
As for dolphins in general they appear to be quite social creatures, they're seen ganging together like humans.
Here's a lovely 'dolphin' poem by Horace Dobbs, I've found on the Web: