The last time we were in Orlando we took a day out from making the rounds at Disney World and hopped a cab to Discovery Cove. It turned out to be a magical day playing with dolphins, swimming with stingrays and relaxing in the most amazing lazy river we have ever experienced. If you are planning a spring trip to Orlando consider splurging on a day at Discovery Cove. Our teen and tween thought it was the highlight of the week.
A Quick Discovery Cove Overview
For those not familiar with Discovery Cove, it is an idyllic, all-inclusive, capacity controlled resort that features a 30-minute dolphin encounter, up close and personal snorkeling and swimming with tropical fish, stingrays, and sharks and interactions with free flight exotic birds in a state of the art aviary. The price of admission also includes all required equipment and meals – just bring your swim suit and sun tan lotion. Rates range from $199 to $299 a day per person during the winter and spring depending on demand. Rates are lower for kids under 6, who are not permitted to swim with the dolphins, or for anyone else who opts out of the dolphin encounter.
This is one resort where it is definitely worth booking ahead to make sure you get the day you want. In planning your visit to Discovery Cove we recommend booking your dolphin encounter early in the day, when you don’t have worry about tearing yourselves away from something else and will have plenty of time to find your way around the complex. Check in begins at 8 am and we arrived shortly thereafter. We were able to find appropriate wet suits and get our bearings and still be in one of the first groups out with the dolphins.
Small groups of 6 to 8 people venture into waist deep water to touch and kiss the well trained dolphins. Then its into the deeper water for a little bit of a ride. We found the trainers to be very friendly and helpful. And we had plenty of photo opportunities as well. After the dolphins it was on to snorkeling and swimming with the stingrays and multiple trips around the park in the lazy river.
Coming Soon – The Grand Reef
It has been about two years since we visited Discovery Cove so we were excited to learn that the resort will be expanded in June 2011 with the addition of The Grand Reef, which will provide new opportunities for both shallow and deep water animal interactions. The most unique element of The Grand Reef will be the SeaVenture underwater walking tour wearing dive helmets to allow for extended underwater encounters.
Discovery Cove frequently offers discount ticket packages that include passes to one or more of its sister parks: SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. You can have a whole week of water adventures with this family of Orlando Parks. The teens and tweens are sure to love them all.