Several hundred people are protesting at a popular marine animal park on the French Riviera, urging it to free the dolphins kept in its pools.

The animal rights activists waved picket signs in English and French at the entrance to the parking lot of the Marineland park in Antibes, trying to persuade visitors to sign petitions or go home.

Visitors at the park, popular with tourists from around Europe throughout the summer season, can swim with dolphins and see penguins, polar bears and the endangered Steller sea lion. Marineland park management says it works to protect the environment and protect threatened species through special reproduction programs.

Among the protesters was Richard O'Barry, a marine activist who trained dolphins for the 1960s TV series "Flipper."