Discovery Cove: Tips For Making The Most Of Your Visit

DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of Discovery Cove, however all opinions are my own.

Discovery Cove Tips Header

Planning a visit to Discovery Cove can be overwhelming as it is a place that you only dream of visiting.

Yesterday I shared an Introduction to Discovery Cove, and today I wanted to share some of my favorite tips that I learned from researching before I went and from being there for a day.

Pick Six: Tips For Making The Most Of Your Visit to Discovery Cove

1. Travel Lightly

While you may think that you being at the park all day means packing a huge bag, but before you break out the extra-large backpack let’s take a look at what’s provided, prohibited, and suggested first.

Discovery Cove Snorkel Bag

Discovery Cove provides each guest with wetsuits and/or swim vests, mask and snorkel,sample of specially formulated sunscreen that is safe for use in the animal habitats, towels, and beach chairs.

Since meals, snacks and drinks are provided with admission to Discovery Cove, no other food, beverages or coolers are permitted.

You will want to bring your own swimsuits, and, if you want, water socks or rubber pool shoes, hat, sunglasses, cover-up, and dry clothes (I will talk more about this one later).

And to be completely honest, I will be wearing water socks or rubber pool shoes on my next visit as the bottom of The Grand Reef and Dolphin Lagoon can be slippery. I may not look ‘cool’, but I will feel better!

Some other items that you may consider bringing are books and magazines, a mp3 player with headset or similar items to relax on the beach with, and a camera to catch all of your special moments.

I brought my phone to take care of all of the above, but you may want to invest in a waterproof case or pouch if you are planning on this option.

Please remember if you are participating in the Trainer for a Day program, you are required to wear footwear during some portions of their day.

Also, make sure that you leave any jewelry at home! With the exception of watches and wedding bands, Discovery Cove guests may not wear jewelry, for the safety of the animals.

2. Dietary Needs

You may want to research the Discover cove menus before you arrive, so you can view your options for any dietary needs before you arrive.

Discovery Cove Grill

You can view the menus here, and additional Vegan, Dairy Free and Gluten Free menus are available upon request by sending an inquiry to

If you do have dietary needs, upon arriving at a meal facility go straight to the cashier and ask to speak with a supervisor in order to discuss the severity of your allergens and determine a meal that will be safe for you.

Discovery Cove offers several allergen friendly prepackaged items for your special dietary needs. The supervisor at the main meal facility will have a list and location of these items.

It’s important to note that not all of the park meal facilities are free from cross contact. In order to ensure your meal is safe, make sure you discuss the preparation process for your meal with the supervisor as you place your order to ensure no cross-contact takes place.
3. Get to Discovery Cove Early

Discovery Cove has operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily, however guests can begin the check-in process at 7:15 a.m.

While the check-in process doesn’t take a long time, getting there early means that having breakfast and getting settled in for the day doesn’t eat into any of your useable time in the park.

Discovery Cove Breakfast

It really gave us the opportunity to settle in and enjoy breakfast!

4. Go to the Explorer’s Aviary First

Speaking of breakfast…Who doesn’t like to start their day off with a great meal?

Discovery Cove Explorer's Aviary Guide

Visiting the Explorer’s Aviary first thing is a great way to have a lot of interaction with the birds.

You will definitely make a lot of ‘friends’!

5. Wetsuits

I have never worn a wetsuit before so the thought of wearing one was incredibly intimidating, however the wonderful attendants were extremely helpful with sizing and tips for putting the wetsuit on.

Discovery Cove Wetsuits

You also have the choice of receiving a full wetsuit, short wetsuit, or a swim vest.

But what is REALLY important to know is that you can switch out your wetsuit at any time.

For example, I decided to sport a swim vest for most of the day but opted for a short wetsuit for my Dolphin Swim Experience since the water is a little cooler in Dolphin Lagoon.

6. Bring a Change of Clothes

After a full day at Discovery Cove, you will be absolutely exhausted! I mean it! All that swimming around can wear you out.

One thing that I was glad that I did was to take a few minutes before I left to run into the bath house for a quick shower to freshen up.

Each bath house has an ample amount of showers, is stocked with towels, and each shower has eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

Discovery Cove Bathing Suit Bag

They also provide plastic bags for you to put your wet suits and sandy shoes.

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Author: Shelley

When she isn't chasing her chihuahuas, daughter, or cheering for her Hokies you can find Shelley On the Go in the Central Florida Area and on-air with WDBO News 96.5 on Friday evenings!

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