This practice goes back to the nineteenth century when in 1860 a pair of belugas whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were held in the Museum of New York. Although Belugas are not precisely dolphins, the event marked a before and after in the dolphinarium industry. Several years passed until in 1938 the Marine Studios opened a dolphinarium in Florida, with the business model as we know today, this is, the one in which an audience pay to see dolphins doing tricks, and at that time they began with a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).
Marine Studios of Florida, later became Marineland and it has the title of being the first dolphinarium in the world. In 2011 the Georgia Aquarium purchased the park.
When this park opened, people realized that dolphins were able to learn tricks and perform stunts if trained, so this created a whole new industry that grew over time, and many other dolphinariums opened to the public. By 1970, there were about 36 dolphinariums in the United Kingdom alone.
Keeping dolphins in captivity is a practice not approved by conservationists and animal rights protectors.
It is important to say that captive dolphins are not only in dolphinariums and water parks to amuse people who pay to see a show. Sometimes dolphins are there for the purpose of being studied or protected if they are in danger of extinction.