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 DCO-GuestRelations@discoverycove.com.

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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An Introduction to Discovery Cove

DISCLOSURE: My husband and I were invited guests of Discovery Cove, however all opinions are all my own.

Discovery Cove Welcome

An Introduction to Discovery Cove

Over the next few days I will be sharing more about my experience at Discovery Cove, and I wanted to start off by sharing and overview of the amazing Signature Experiences and Amenities that you can enjoy in the Park.

Discovery Cove is a unique reservations only, all-inclusive park where you can experience up-close encounters with exotic marine life and animals or just relax on pristine white sand beaches all day long.

While the park is quite spacious with a lush, tropical feel the daily attendance is limited to about 1,300 guests per day so the atmospehere is more intimate. It really provides a resort experience unlike any park in the world today.

Discovery Cove

 

Discovery Cove is a full day adventure with operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. Guest can begin the check-in process at 7:15 a.m., and I strongly advise you to get there as early as you can to maximize your time in the park!

Walking into the Discovery Cove lobby, you feel as if you have been transported to a tropical hideaway.

Discovery Cove Lobby Panorama

Once you are greeted you will be escorted to a check-in desk, and this is where you will be issued your passes for the day and have the opportunity to review your day’s plan to make any changes.

If you will be participating in the Dolphin Swim Experience, not included with your park admission, this is when you will receive your group information and time slot.

Other Discovery Cove amenities that are included with admission are freshly prepared breakfast and lunch at the Laguna Grill, unlimited snacks and drinks at several locations throughout the park, free equipment rentals, non-toxic sunscreen, towels, and a souvenir snorkel.

Discovery Cove Laguna Grill
Laguna Grill

 

It was a chilly morning, so it was really cool to take a moment to look out over the park from the back of the Lobby building.

Discovery Cove Early Morning Look Out

 

After you all checked-in for the day, had a little breakfast at the Laguna Grill, and have picked the perfect beach chair it’s time to get out there and explore Discovery Cove!

Discovery Cove Signs

Discovery Cove Signature Experiences

Our first stop of the day was the Explorer’s Aviary, a free flight aviary where you can hand-feed exotic birds.

Discovery Cove Explorer's Aviary

The Aviary has three separate areas for the birds, and each area has their own guide with specialty food for the birds in that area.

The birds in the Aviary eat often, and once you pick up a cup and stick your arm out you are sure to have one or more birds visiting you in no time!

Discovery Cove Aviary Peacock

While I am not a huge bird fan, the guides help make me comfortable with the process.

Meanwhile, I didn’t think that Dave was ever going to leave!

Discovery Cove Aviary Dave

After the aviary, we decided it was time to visit the marmosets and otters in the Freshwater Oasis.

I was extremely lucky to be able to attend the Grand Opening of this area a few years ago, so I was stoked to revisit some old friends!

Discovery Cove Freshwater Oasis Trail

Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below, the Freshwater Oasis is a way to relax and explore water-filled trails that lead you down windy offshoots, an island inhabited by adorable marmosets, and face-to-face with playful otters.

Here is a video of the Otters from when the area first opened that I adore!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfKQtHxWu20

I love spending time in the Freshwater Oasis!

Located near the Freshwater Oasis, you will find Serenity Bay and Wind-Away River.

Serenity Bay is your chance to slip into the refreshing 80-degree temperature water for a swim or a place to take a break and soak up some sun!

Discovery Cove Serenity Bay

Serenity Bay is a great areas for larger families to reconnect after activities that may take them in separate directions and for smaller children to really let loose.

After you’ve had your fill of splashing in Serenity Bay, grab your snorkel and head into the Wind-Away River.

Discovery Cove Windaway River

You can ride the smooth currents of a tropical Wind-Away River as it twists past sandy beaches, through a dense rain forest inside the Explorer’s Aviary, beneath the rocky terrain of cascading waterfalls, and through an underwater cave. If you glance down as you travel along, you might find some interesting artifacts.

 

I will mention that the Wind-Away River is quite long and can be draining! We did end up taking a break to catch a snack after one trip around the River.

While I love the Freshwater Oasis, Dave’s favorite place to spend time at Discovery Cove was snorkeling in The Grand Reef.

Beyond the sandy and slightly rocky beaches of The Grand Reef, you will find a vivid and stunning habitat full of tropical fish and rays.

Wordless Wednesday Discovery Cove The Grand Reef

There really is no feeling like gliding next to a gigantic ray among a school of beautiful fish. I did have to stop several times on my first loop around, because my breath was taken away. I joked that my goggles didn’t fog up, because I was crying. It really was a truly amazing and peaceful experience.

Photo
Photo: Discovery Cove

 

Further out in the reef, and safely behind glass, we found sharp-toothed reef sharks.

Above ground around The Grand Reef, you can take paths and bridges to the reef’s islands and hidden grottos.

Discovery Cove The Grand Reef Walkway

While the above mentioned Signature Experiences are included in Discovery Cove admission, guests are able to add on two unique experiences.

The first experience, is the park’s signature 30-minute dolphin swim experience.

Before you enter the water, you will have to attend a short orientation session (10 minutes) led by Discovery Cove’s expert dolphin trainers to discuss safety and offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions.

Next, small groups wade into the shallow water of the Dolphin Lagoon for the in-water experience with the dolphins.

Discovery Cove  Dolphin Experience

 

At the end, one at a time, guests and a trainer will swim into deeper water for a personal “dorsal tow” back to shore.

Since you aren’t allowed to take photos during your Dolphin experience, afterwards you can view photographs and video of the interaction, talk about their experience with trainers, and ask any remaining questions.

Discovery Cove Shelley Dolphin

It is important to also know that Discovery Cove can accommodate guests with disabilities who are able to maneuver themselves with limited assistance (or with the aid of a personal assistant) during their dolphin experience.

I’ll be talking about this experience more soon, but let me tell you that I am KICKING myself for waiting so long to do this!

Another option to add on to your day is The Grand Reef’s innovative experience called SeaVenture, which is an underwater walking tour.

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience Grand Reef
Photo: Discovery Cove

In SeaVenture you wear a dive helmet, no SCUBA certification is necessary, to experience The Grand Reef by climbing down a ladder and setting foot on the reef floor.

During the journey, there are one-on-one touches with unique animals, schools of fish, velvety rays, and even unique sea life found along the way. The adventure ends with schools of fish feeding around the divers with the massive open reef as the backdrop.

The SeaVenture experience has been compared to ‘walking on the moon – but surrounded by fish.

SeaVenture sea star
Photo: Discovery Cove

The program is about an hour long including orientation (SeaVenture walking tour length is approximately 25 minutes) for groups up to eight people per excursion. The cost is $59 per participant.

I didn’t get the chance to experience SeaVenture, but I am really considering a return trip to give it a try!Discovery Cove Lobby Dolphins

There is one more extra perk that is included in the Discovery Cove Day Resort Package.

The package includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in Orlando (can be added for an additional charge) for 14 days surrounding your Discovery Cove park visit.

Discovery Cove Scenery 3

Currently, Florida Residents can take advantage of a Dolphin Swim Resort Package Special starting at $219.

The Florida Resident Dolphin Swim Day Resort Package includes:

  • A reserved 30-minute dolphin interaction*
  • Hand feeding exotic birds in a free-flight aviary
  • Encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets
  • Freshly prepared breakfast and lunch plus unlimited snacks and drinks
  • Unlimited admission to SeaWorld® and Aquatica ™ Orlando for 14 consecutive days. **

It is important to note that these packages are available with and without the Dolphin Swim Experience. Purchase by December 31, 2015. Blackout dates March 28-April 13 and June 22-August 17, 2015, subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. Not valid on previously booked reservations or in combination with other offers. Proof of valid FL residency for each adult is required at check-in.

**14 day ticket valid on visits surrounding your Discovery Cove day.

I can’t wait to share more about our Discovery Cove visit!

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Discovery Cove Welcomes Baby Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

Discovery Cove Baby Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

Female Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Born at Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove in Orlando welcomes Dolphin Awareness Month with special news – sharing the birth of a beautiful bouncing baby girl born Feb. 7, 2015. The female calf now weighs approximately 44 pounds, is 3 feet 10 inches long, and is nursing and bonding with her mother, Coral. This is Coral’s second calf and the 29th dolphin to be born at Discovery Cove since it opened in 2000. Coral was also born at Discovery Cove in October 2000.

A week after the calf was born, the Discovery Cove Veterinary and Zoological Team performed her first neonatal wellness exam. Mom Coral kept a watchful eye close by as the team conducted the mini-physical. These examinations are part of the general health care given to all animals at Discovery Cove, which ensures the highest standards of care.

Discovery Cove Baby Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

The Zoological Team is excited to welcome this new addition to the family and is providing around-the-clock care for Coral and her new calf. The veterinary team is checking on the progress of the baby 24 hours a day to monitor her behavior, respirations and nursing. By observing Coral throughout her pregnancy, and now providing supplemental care for the calf, the team is able to gather necessary research to better understand the dolphin gestation process, and it also aids the Animal Rescue Team when rescuing ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned dolphins in the wild.

Discovery Cove will soon host a naming contest on its Facebook page where fans can help choose the new baby dolphin’s name.

Discovery Cove Baby Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive tropical day resort where guests experience awe-inspiring encounters swimming with dolphins, snorkeling among rays and tropical fish, hand-feeding exotic birds and relaxing on pristine beaches. For the second consecutive year, Discovery Cove was named the No. 1 amusement park in the world in the 2014 TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice™ Amusement Parks and Water Parks category. To learn more about Discovery Cove and to book reservations, visit the recently redesigned website DiscoveryCove.com, featuring a more user-friendly interface.

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Discovery Cove Offers Unique Valentine’s Day Experiences

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience

An extraordinary adventure awaits at Discovery Cove this Valentine’s Day 

Day resort offers VIP treatment, Florida resident discount and marriage proposal options

 Love is in the air, and the tropical paradise of Discovery Cove® awaits guests hoping to surprise their loved ones this Valentine’s Day. From intimate animal encounters and all-inclusive amenities, to VIP packages with private cabanas and marriage proposal options, there’s something for everyone looking to pull out the stops this holiday.

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience

Recently named the No. 1 amusement park in the world in the 2014 TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice™ Awards for the second consecutive year, Discovery Covemakes the ideal place to be awe-inspired with a loved one.  Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort experience where couples can enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays and tropical fish and hand-feed exotic birds.  Discovery Cove is a paradise of rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers, a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls, and pristine white-sand beaches.

DCO-Couple_at_dolphin_swim

Nothing warms the heart like an up-close encounter with an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Animal lovers will be wowed when welcomed by a kiss from their favorite flippered friend.

Florida residents can now gift a day of discovery starting at $219+ tax for the dolphin swim experience, and starting at $149+ tax for the day resort package.

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience Grand Reef

Planning to pop the question this Valentine’s Day? Discovery Cove is a one-of-a-kind marriage proposal venue, and offers two unforgettable experiences. Playful bottlenose dolphins can be part of a creative marriage proposal, and deliver a personalized “Will you marry me?” buoy. Another option is SeaVenture®, which immerses the couple underwater to explore the sea floor of The Grand Reef®, where guests can propose among thousands of tropical fish and rays.

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience Private Cabana

Visitors seeking to impress their sweetie with VIP treatment can reserve a Valentine’s Day package, which includes a private cabana with a personal host, planned itinerary, champagne, roses, snack, beverage and towel service, an additional animal encounter and much more. The Valentine’s Day VIP package is $799+ tax and is only available Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 14 and 15. Additional special occasion packages start at $159+ tax. All packages require a dolphin swim reservation. For more information, visit Discovery Cove special occasion packages.

SeaWorld Orlando Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience

Couples looking for weekend getaway can enjoy Discovery Cove’s sister parks. Admission to Discovery Cove includes unlimited admission for 14 consecutive days to SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark before, during or after Discovery Cove visit. At SeaWorld® Orlando, discover the thrills and chills of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin and find out what it’s like to fly like a ray on Manta while also enjoying world-class shows and up-close animal experiences. At Aquatica, adventurers can brave Ihu’s Breakaway Falls™, a watery free-fall on Orlando’s tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind.

Discovery Cove Orlando Valentine's Day Dolphin Experience Renaissance Orlando Interior

After a watery-filled day at Discovery Cove, couples can savor the luxurious amenities of partner hotels like the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®, where Valentine’s Day packages are also available, including dinner reservations and spa treatments. Visit RenaissanceSeaWorld.com for more details.

For more information, or to make a reservation, visit DiscoveryCove.com or call 1-877-434-7268.

 Discovery Cove

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment:

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires people to celebrate, connect, and care for the natural world through the power of entertainment. The company now owns 11 parks across the United States, playing host to more than 24 million guests a year and provide lasting memories through up-close animal encounters, world-class shows and rides, and high-quality themed attractions.  Locations include SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; the Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista, Calif.; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg. 

 

A global leader in animal care and conservation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment cares for more than 67,000 animals including 200 endangered or threatened species. This commitment extends to animals around the world.  The company operates one of the world’s most respected animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. SeaWorld has assisted more than 24,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over the last 50 years.

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Discovery Cove Baby Dolphin

Discovery Cove Baby Dolphin
Discovery Cove Baby Dolphin born November 30, 2012

Discovery Cove Baby Dolphin

A 3 ½ foot-long, 35-pound dolphin was born at Discovery Cove ® on Friday, November 30 at 10:22 a.m.
This birth is notable because it marks the first time a dolphin at Discovery Cove has successfully given birth to a calf conceived through the use of “sperm-sexing” research, which involves separating sperm carrying a female-producing X chromosome from sperm carrying a male-producing Y chromosome.  
 
This scientific advancement affords Discovery Cove the opportunity to manage its species’ genetic diversity and social environment. Scientists at the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center in San Diego, Calif., pioneered the ability to preferentially produce female or male dolphin offspring though sperm-sexing and artificial insemination. This recent birth represents the 15th dolphin calf produced worldwide using sex pre-selection technology.
The female calf is continuing to develop, nurse and bond with its mother; both are doing well. This is the 25th dolphin born at Discovery Cove since the park opened in 2000. Discovery Cove’s parent company, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, has one of the most successful dolphin breeding programs in the world.
 
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort experience where guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel with rays and tropical fish, hand-feed exotic birds and relax on pristine beaches. To discover more, visit DiscoveryCove.com
Discovery Cove
 
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The Week in Review: July 30 – August 3, 2012: Fashion, Celebrities, SUP, & Giveaways!!!

The Week in Review: July 30 – August 3, 2012: Fashion, Celebrities, SUP, & Giveaways!!!

It has been another amazing week here at On the Go, and now it’s time to look back at all that happened July 30th to August 3rd!!!

Let’s Go!

On Monday, Christa Dunbar helped us take a peek at the new Artist Collection for Target! I am going to go broke buying these awesome shirts!!!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLcUg-Id6GU

Also, I took a look at all of the activities you can find at Discovery Cove! This boutique park has a lot more to offer than just swimming with Dolphins!!!

The Dolphin Interaction at Discovery Cove!

We all have a new passion at On the Go, and that is supporting the Orlando City Soccer Club! Check out Aurora’s soccer adventures as she talks about the sport, culture, and fun of being a OCSC Fan!

Cheering For the home town boys!!!

For Wordless Wednesday, I took at a look at one of my favorite Hidden Mickeys at the Magic Kingdom! Arrrr!!!

Pirates of the Caribbean Hidden Mickey in the Gold!

On Thursday, we announced our latest giveaway! Enter to win a $50 gift certificate to the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores!!! Hurry!!!! Entries must be received by midnight on August 6th!!!!

Shalon put together an awesome video highlighting our experience at the Orlando City Soccer Club game against Stoke City!!!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo62GCoeHTE

CELEBRITY SIGHTING!!! Betsy shares her day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios complete with a Tom Cruise sighting at Toy Story Midway Mania!!!!!

Tom Cruise on Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

LEGOLAND Florida announced their Brick-Or-Treat Halloween Event that will take place later this fall! It looks like it’s going to be a really family-friendly way to celebrate with your favorite ghosts and goblins!

Celebrate Halloween this fall with Brick-Or-Treat at LEGOLAND Florida

This Friday all of us sat down to share our favorite ways to Beat the Heat in the Parks just in time for the dog days of summer in our latest Roundtable discussion!

And we rounded out our week, with Megan looking back at the first in our Florida Adventures Series with our Paddleboarding, SUP, experience with East Coast Paddle in New Smyrna Beach, Florida!

East Coast Paddle with Megan and Shelley
Shelley and Megan Paddleboarding in New Smyrna Beach, FL!

Thanks for joining us this week at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!!

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And if you don’t already, follow us on Twitter!

 

 

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Discovery Cove Is More Than A Park For Swimming With Dolphins!

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive adventure set in a paradise of rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers, a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls and white-sand beaches in which guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays, and tropical fish, interact with exotic animals, and hand-feed exotic birds.

Reservations are required, and daily attendance is limited to approximately 1,000 guests, ensuring no overcrowding. Guests are greeted at a luxurious reception center and proceed down a nature walk for their day of discovery.

The all-inclusive adventure of a day at Discovery Cove includes a continental breakfast and freshly-prepared lunch, snacks and beverages, including wine and beer throughout the day. Each guest is also provided his/her own swim vest or wetsuit, towel, and swim gear, including a snorkel, mask, fins and eco-friendly sunscreen. Private lockers and dressing areas feature Crabtree & Evelyn bath products.

The park’s animals include Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Southern and cownose rays, thousands of brilliantly colored tropical fish and sharks, and more than 250 exotic birds in a free-flight aviary.

The Discovery Cove Dolphin Interaction is one that the whole family will enjoy!

Dolphin Lagoon

The highlight of a visit to Discovery Cove is the opportunity to swim with an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin during a 30-minute interactive adventure. Accompanied by a trainer, groups of six to eight guests wade into shallow water and become acquainted with their dolphin through hugs, kisses and rubdowns. Then, taking the adventure one step further, guests interact with their dolphin in deeper water for an exciting dorsal fin tow ride back to shore. Guests must be at least 6 years old for the dolphin swim experience.

Freshwater Oasis

The Freshwater Oasis is an all-new attraction featuring wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.  Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below, guests can relax and explore. They’ll wade, wonder, swim and float in the water-filled trails and discover marmosets and playful Asian otters. No matter where guests turn, they’ll find endless discoveries.

The Grand Reef

This imersive experience features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze, to snorkeling among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.

The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove is a beautiful and amazing experience! We had a blast swimming among the fish and rays!

SeaVenture

Part of the Grand Reef, SeaVenture is an underwater walking tour where guests, wearing dive helmets, find up-close encounters with sharks (safely behind massive panoramic windows), one-on-one touches with unique animals and schools of fish and gentle rays.

Wind-Away River

This waterway meanders through the park, encountering beaches, palm-covered walkways and rocky lagoons. Guests swimming through theWind-AwayRivertravel through different environments: a sunny island beach, a dense tropical forest and an underwater cave. Swimmers going under a waterfall will emerge inside the immense free-flight aviary. Flotation devices are provided as the river varies in depth.

Explorer’s Aviary

This free-flight aviary is home to more than 250 exotic birds.  Guests can hand-feed hundreds of tiny birds and interact with birds as tall as four feet. Guests enter the aviary’s lush, tropical environment by way of the park’s beaches or drifting under the refreshing waterfalls in the Wind-Away River.

Inside the Aviary at Discovery Cove you get the chance to get up close to some beautiful birds.

Serenity Bay Beaches and Pools

Sugar-white beaches are lined with swaying palms, tropical foliage and quaint thatched huts. Guests can claim their own spot among the tall shady umbrellas, lazy hammocks, sunning lounges and beach chairs. Buckets and sand toys are sprinkled along the beach for kids to enjoy. (All amenities are included with admission.

Conservation Cabana

Guests at Discovery Cove enjoy a rare and unforgettable glimpse into the lives of endangered and exotic animals through personal interaction and experiences that are as enriching as they are fun. At Conservation Cabana, visitors can dig into the animal world by touching replica bones, reading from resource books, and searching on computer terminals about the animals they will spend the day with and the park’s conservation partners. Educators are stationed at the Cabana to answer questions, provide animal information and showcase feathered and furry friends throughout the day.

Fantastic Fare

Included with admission, guests at Discovery Cove enjoy unlimited access to a fantastic selection of food and drink all day long. A full, hot breakfast is served at Laguna Grill until 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From familiar fare to chef specials, all dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and incorporate healthy elements, with daily seafood selections, salad options, and vegetarian dishes available.

Snack Stations                 

Snack stations throughout the park provide all-day service, and offer everything from yogurt and soft pretzels to fruit smoothies and gourmet coffees. Ice-cold beverages, including bottled water, juices, sodas, wine and beer are also offered all day.

If you are looking to take your experience at Discovery Cove to the next level, there are several extras that you can add to your day at Discovery Cove!

Trainer for a Day

For a truly extraordinary experience, up to 24 guests a day can spend additional time with dolphins with three personal interactions, plus behind-the-scenes time with Discovery Cove’s trainers to learn more about the animals that call the park home.

The Trainer for a Day package includes all features of the standard Discovery Cove package plus the behind-the-scenes activities starting at $398 plus tax, depending on the season. Guests between the ages of 6 and 13 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

The Trainer for a day experience at Discovery Cove is a great way to have an experience you will never forget!

Special Occasions

Discovery Cove has created a number of unique Special Occasion packages that include the delightfully unexpected assistance of a bottlenose dolphin. Discovery Cove dolphins have assisted in countless watery wedding proposals, launched love notes, and been a splash at the best of birthday celebrations. For each Special Occasion package, a bottlenose dolphin delivers a personalized message on a keepsake buoy, putting a fantastic end to the already memorable dolphin experience. In addition to the special dolphin delivery, each package features an array of other impressive touches. Call for details.

Private Cabanas

Tucked away behind lush foliage, private cabanas (available for an extra fee) overlook the secluded Dolphin Lagoon. All come complete with table and chairs, chaise lounges, towels, fresh flowers and a refrigerator.

If you are wanted to add a touch of luxury to your trip to Discovery Cove, a private cabana is a great option.

Discovery Cove is located on Central Florida Parkway, at the Intersection of Interstate 4 and FL 528 (the Beachline Expressway), 10 minutes south of downtown Orlando and 15 minutes from Orlando International Airport.

For an all-inclusive experience like no other, admission to Discovery Cove includes:

  • Reserved dolphin-swim interaction
  • Unlimited access to The Grand Reef, free-flight Explorer’s Aviary, Serenity Bay and Wind-Away River
  • Freshly prepared breakfast and lunch plus snacks throughout the day
  • Beverages throughout the day, including select alcoholic drinks
  • All swim gear (mask, snorkel, and swim vest or wetsuit), towel, locker, sunscreen and other amenities
  • All day self-parking
  • A complimentary photo portrait of guest and their party upon entry to park
  • A pass for 14 consecutive days of unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica in Orlando before, during or after Discovery Cove visit.

Admission prices throughout 2012:

  • Seasonal rates for Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim Day Resort package start at $229 (Day Resort package, and for guests age 3-5, rates start at $129)  *Prices vary seasonally.

Discovery Cove is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Guest check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Due to the exclusive, limited-attendance nature of Discovery Cove, advance reservations are required. Reservations and information are available by visiting DiscoveryCove.com or by calling toll-free at 1-877-434-7268.

 

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A Day At Discovery Cove Now Includes Admission To SeaWorld Orlando And Aquatica

Discovery Cove is offering the ultimate vacation for Orlando visitors with the introduction of a new, all-inclusive package: A day at Discovery Cove now includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark.
These three parks — Discovery Cove, SeaWorld and Aquatica — are now known collectively as SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, the only place in the world that features unique adventures that connect families with animals, the sea and each other. It’s the one destination in Orlando where animals are the highlight and includes preferred hotel stays and exclusive benefits.
 
“This new offer is incredible for guests because it allows them to explore Discovery Cove for the day and also enjoy SeaWorld and Aquatica during their Orlando vacation, so they can experience the amazing animal connections that all of our parks deliver in their own way.” said Toni Caracciolo, Marketing Vice President for SeaWorld Parks & Resorts. “It also solidifies the Discovery Cove reservation as a true, all-inclusive package,” she added.
 
At Discovery Cove, guests can enjoy a perfect day swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with rays and tropical fish, hand-feeding exotic birds, and relaxing on pristine beaches … and that’s just the beginning.
 
Opening later this summer at Discovery Cove is Freshwater Oasis, where guests can wade, relax and come face-to-face with new animals — playful otters and curious marmosets. Plus, with unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica for 14 consecutive days, guests have the ultimate flexibility to live the 3D 360 journey at TurtleTrek, SeaWorld’s newest attraction, and then cool off at Aquatica, a one-of-a-kind waterpark that immerses them in the playfulness of the sea.
Starting at $229, Dolphin Swim Day Resort Packages at Discovery Cove now include:
  • Reserved dolphin experience
  • Unlimited access to signature experiences including:  The Grand Reef, free-flight Explorer’s Aviary, Serenity Bay, Wind-Away River and coming soon Freshwater Oasis
  • Freshly prepared breakfast and lunch plus snacks throughout the day
  • Beverages all day long, including sodas, water and alcoholic drinks
  • All swim gear (mask, snorkel, and swim vest or wetsuit), towels, locker, sunscreen and other first-class amenities
  • All day self-parking at Discovery Cove
  • A complimentary photo portrait of guest and their party upon entry to park
  • A pass for 14 consecutive days of unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica in Orlando before, during or after Discovery Cove visit.
 
Guests that have already booked Discovery Cove reservations on or after May 22 and who have selected SeaWorld Orlando or Aquatica with their reservation will automatically have access to both parks during their vacation.  For reservations and to learn more, visit DiscoveryCove.com or call 1-877-434-7268.
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SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove Expansions for 2012 and 2013

Earlier this morning SeaWorld Orlando had a HUGE announcement about new attractions and experiences coming to both SeaWorld and Discovery Cove in 2012 and 2013, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about them!!!

These new attractions represent the biggest attraction expansions in the history of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the parks’ parent company.

Terry Prather, president of the company’s Orlando parks, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, said, “With TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando and Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove, travelers will have all new reasons to visit Orlando. What we’re creating will take you places you’ve never been before, places only SeaWorld can take you.”

 

 

While creating TurtleTrek (opening at SeaWorld Orlando in spring 2012), designers stayed true to SeaWorld’s unique blend of nose-to-nose animal encounters and state-of-the art entertainment.

Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, one filled with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles.  Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team.  Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and more than 1,200 sea turtles.

Moving on from the habitat, guests enter a domed theater, and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world.

Coming to life is a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome theater film that is completely immersive. The dome allows a hyper-realistic 3-D movie to be shown all around guests and even above them – not just in front them or on only one screen. It’s this unique and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic and astounding journey that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.

TurtleTrek is as inspirational as it is astounding. There’s a call-to-action at the end of the experience:  SeaWorld calls on guests to join them in conserving the world we share. “Do a little, do a lot, but join us and do something to help the world and its animals,” said Brian Morrow, the attraction’s chief designer. “TurtleTrek is about the everyday heroes who can make a difference in nature.”

 

Opening at Discovery Cove in spring 2012 is Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction featuring swimming and wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.

Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below, Freshwater Oasis is a natural fit within Discovery Cove’s tropical vibe. Guests can relax at the In-Water Relaxation Station and explore in the unique water ways and water-filled trails to discover marmosets and playful Asian otters. No matter where they turn, they’ll find endless discoveries.

Admission to the Freshwater Oasis is included with admission to Discovery Cove, a limited-admission, all-inclusive tropical resort where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colorful fish and rays and relax on pristine beaches.

 

 

Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin

Also announced was SeaWorld Orlando’s biggest-ever attraction expansion, Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin, opening spring 2013.

Through the years, SeaWorld Orlando has taken guests to far-flung corners of the globe, immersing them in the character and feel of exotic places and introducing them to unique worlds of adventure.

At the park’s “Wild Arctic” guests ride a simulated jet copter to the frozen north, into a habitat of polar bears, beluga whales and huge walruses. “Key West at SeaWorld” sets guests down in the funky ambience of the Florida Keys, with dolphins, stingrays and colorful birds. The rocky northern California coast is found at “Pacific Point Preserve,” with dozens of seals and sea lions. The park’s other attractions take guests into the worlds of sharks, sea turtles and manatees, or let guests soar like a ray on the Manta roller coaster or ride the back of a mythical beast, the Kraken.

But no journey is bigger — or as incredible — as the one to come in 2013. It’s a voyage to the bottom-of-the-world, to the coldest and windiest continent, to a place of ice more than 9,000- feet thick. It’s a journey to Antarctica and to the empire of the penguin.

Guests will be surrounded by the sights, sounds and awesome encounters found in this frozen place, embarking on a one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible family adventure.

They’ll experience the mystery and wonder of life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin, sensing the beauty and drama of their sometimes-dangerous habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin combines closer-then-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.

It’s an all-family experience that could only come from SeaWorld and can only be found at SeaWorld Orlando. And, it’s safe to say Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world.

A year-and-a-half from opening at SeaWorld Orlando, details are few. For now, SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica will stay as mysterious as its namesake continent. “Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you,” said Prather. “We’re excited about what the future holds for our parks and our fans.”

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A First Look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef – Opening June 2011

Continuing on our week of firsts, I take a look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef opening this June.

Opening in June 2011, The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove in Orlando features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches, to snorkeling among thousands of tropical fish and rays in canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.

Discovery Cove is the boutique of boutique parks in Orlando. It is an all day resort-like experience that only allows in 1,000 guests a day to participate in up close encounters with birds, rays, and of course dolphins.

A view of a group during the Dolphin Experience in the Dolphin Lagoon.

It is hard to imagine, but The Grand Reef is really going to be cherry on top of what is already a really amazing place!!!

Construction on the Grand Reef is moving non-stop and around the clock!

The Grand Reef will be 2.5 acres with sandy beaches and almost a million gallons of salt water that will be home to approximately 10,000 animals representing 125 different species of fish), rays, and sharks. Another unique and exclusive part of the Grand Cove will be the removable coral which will be repositioned to create new experiences every visit.

A close of up of the removable coral that will be inside of The Grand Reef.

Thousands of colorful fish will dart and school through crystal clear waters creating a rainbow under the sea. The fish include angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasses and tangs, and larger hogfish and filefish that will eat almost 150 pounds of food a day!!!

Spotted eagle rays, who are usually found in Caribbean and Pacific waters, will take their place among the dozens of rays who will call the reef home.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nb5tialgCE]

There are three showcase moments when you will come face to face with a few guys that belong behind glass! The first moment happens when you can get a new perspective on the venomous and invasive lionfish. Then you will come face to face with a not so pretty or friendly group of eels who will make their home with grouper and triggerfish. And finally you will get an exciting view, both in and out of the grand reef, of Zebra/Australian leopard, nurse, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks.

Some say it's like walking on the moon - but surrounded by fish. SCUBA certification is not required.

SeaVenture will be the crown jewel experience of the Grand Reef! This innovative experience is an underwater walking tour where guests, wearing dive helmets, will be able to walk the reef as an inhabitant. After climbing down a latter, guest will set foot on the reef floor where they will come face-to-face with sharks through a full, 8 foot talk, 21 foot long panoramic window. Along the way, guest will be able to really explore the reef, its showcases, and be able to touch starfish & sea urchins along the way. The adventure will end with schools of fish feeding around the divers with the massive open reef as a backdrop. This hour long program will be for groups of up to six people per excursion, and cost $59 per participant.

The dive helmet looks heavy, but it has been designed to be extremely light under the water.

The Grand Reef will also offer eight new cabanas for rent as the water’s edge to add a touch of luxury to an already amazing day!!!

I personally CANNOT WAIT to experience the reef and the SeaVenture!!! It is truly going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what it is like to live under the sea!!!

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