Dolphin Shopping Centre puts finishing touches to plans for roaming 50th Birthday Party

The Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has a weekend of celebratory activities planned for Saturday August 3 and Sunday August 4 to commemorate the occasion.


The Dolphin officially opened its doors on July 1 1969, known for the first two decades as The Arndale Centre, before a newly refurbished centre opened in 1989 under its new name, the Dolphin Shopping Centre.

Activities for the celebratory weekend include:

  • Free ice cream – Ice Chefs will be making fresh ice cream for shoppers, served on sustainable bamboo plates in celebration of the Dolphin’s sustainable ethos. The ice cream flavour will be ‘birthday cake’
  • Postal service – three postal workers will be roaming the centre to encourage shoppers to write a postcard which will arrive 12 months later to the specified address
  • Giant Pass the Parcel – keep a look out for giant parcels stuffed with prizes, which will be passed around the centre from cheerful parcel passers that will be dressed head to toe in bright and colourful outfits
  • Live music from The Summer of ’69 Birthday Band – complete with 1969 and Beatles-inspired costumes to get shoppers in full swing to celebrate
  • Cartoonist Rose Popay – Rose will be creating mini portraits for 50 shoppers, as well as creating a painting ‘Portrait of a Party’ for the centre to capture the spirit of the celebratory weekend
  • Walking birthday cake – characters dressed up as birthday cake will be roaming around the centre to bring laughter and entertainment
Dolphin Shopping Centre 1996

John Grinnell, centre manager at the Dolphin Shopping Centre, commented: “We’re so excited to officially celebrate the Dolphin’s 50th anniversary and hope to see as many of you as possible for our jam-packed weekend of activities.

“We’re particularly excited to bring you a very special snail mail postal delivery service. Our cheerfully efficient posties will be wandering around the centre encouraging people to write a postcard to others or even for themselves! This will then be sent on its way with much theatre – it’s the perfect antidote to our need for speed in the age of instant communications and a great reminder of the days without access to this.”

To celebrate the centre’s 50th anniversary, the Dolphin’s renowned wooden animals will be making a return to the centre for a limited period of time.

John added: “The hippo, turtle and whale are a cherished part of the centre’s heritage, so it’s only natural that these would return for our special celebratory weekend and several weeks following this.

“We understand that they hold great sentimental value for many people that spent their childhoods in the shopping centre. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to climb on the animals, but they will be in full view for people to enjoy.” Visit for further information .