Discovery Cove Seaworld – Orlando, Florida
At Discovery Cove, SeaWorld’s exclusive, limited-admission sister park, getting up close and personal with animals has nothing to do with luck. Every guest is guaranteed hang time with dolphins, stingrays, exotic birds, and other creatures.
Part water park, part SeaWorld attraction, part hands-on, real-life adventure, Discovery Cove offers a unique respite from the typical theme park frenzy. With daily attendance capped at 1000, guests are free to snorkel in the simulated coral reef, float around the tropical river, and explore the lush 33-acre park without being elbowed or waiting in any lines. Groups of no more than six swim and play with the dolphins, ensuring guests one-on-one quality time with the animals.
Discovery Cove’s amenities and level of service resemble a posh resort more than a theme park. At about four times the going rate for theme park admission, the fee for all of this exclusivity is not insignificant.
Discovery Cove Information
You’ll know that this is not your average day in the theme park as soon as you pull into Discovery Cove. Veering away from the throngs queuing at SeaWorld’s entrance plaza across the street, guests can choose valet parking or self-parking in the relatively cozy lot. They register in a spacious welcome center that looks like an upscale hotel lobby.
Well-appointed bathrooms off the welcome center include individual cloth hand towels. Inside the park, the bathrooms double as locker rooms and include stall showers, oversized terry towels, blow dryers and other features you might expect to find in a fancy spa.
“Adventure guides” lead guests from the welcome center through a nature walk where they might encounter sloths, anteaters and other land animals. The guides also provide a lay of the land and show guests the cabanas to which they will report at their assigned times for the dolphin swim.
It’s All about the Dolphins
Clearly, dolphins are the star attraction here. Three lagoons each accommodate four “pods” of six guests, three trainers, and the dolphins. Each group of guests spends approximately 30 minutes petting the dolphins, learning hand signals, being pulled by the animals’ dorsal fins and cavorting with the friendly creatures. Similar programs in Key West, Hawaii, and other locations are popular but none are as elaborate as Discovery Cove’s.
Guests can also jump into a pool and swim with stingrays. (Discovery Cove handlers routinely clip the animals’ stingers, so you’ll have nothing to fear beyond the stingrays’ slimy exteriors.) There is also an aviary with 300 exotic birds. Some eat out of guest’s hands. Guests can walk into the aviary or swim in via the river. Waterfalls at either end of the river entrances keep the birds inside.
The all-inclusive price includes swim and snorkel gear, lockers, and a 14-day pass to SeaWorld or Busch Gardens. It also includes a full-course meal with dishes like chicken pesto and fajitas. The only upcharges are swanky doodads from the gift shop and personalized photos and videos of guests’ dolphin experiences.
No crowds. No turnstiles. Imagine a place where you and your family can touch and swim with dolphins, wade with mysterious rays, snorkel among thousands of exotic fish, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary and relax on pristine beaches. Discover an all-inclusive day resort experience that’s one of a kind.
Your Dolphin Swim Day Resort Package includes:
•A reserved 30-minute dolphin interaction
•Snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish and rays
•Hand feeding exotic birds in a free-flight aviary
•Floating along our scenic Wind-Away River
•Freshly prepared breakfast and lunch and unlimited snacks, drinks and select alcoholic beverages
•Lockers, sunscreen, snorkel gear, changing facilities
•All day self parking at Discovery Cove
•Unlimited admission to your choice of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay during your vacation is included.
2 Park Plus Package: For just $30 more, receive unlimited admission to BOTH SeaWorld and Aquatica for up to 14 days surrounding your day at Discovery Cove. To book, along with your Dolphin Swim Day Resort or Day Resort Package, call Discovery Cove reservations at 1-877-434-7268 and upgrade to the 2 Park Plus Package.
Ultimate Package: For just $50 more, receive unlimited access to all three parks SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica AND Busch Gardens Tampa Bay . To book, choose the Ultimate Package.
•The highlight, of course, is the dolphin experience.
•The simulated coral reef, with its explosion of tropical fish and colorful grottos, is another highlight.
•Wind-away River- Its lush landscaping takes the concept of a lazy river to a whole new level.
•A huge aviary allows lots of interactive opportunities with colorful birds.
•Stingray Shallows- Although they are not nearly as intriguing as dolphins, it’s nonetheless fun to cavort with stingrays.
•The Grand Reef- Another reef teeming with marine life.
At Discovery Cove:
Visitors will be able to explore Freshwater Oasis, an interactive animal adventure.
The park has The Grand Reef, which features snorkeling among rays, starfish, and–yikes!–sharks as well as a unique underwater walking tour with dive helmets.