We're so excited to finally be selling tickets to Discovery Cove. This park is consistently ranked as one of the top attractions in Orlando, and for good reason — this all-inclusive experience is a tropical paradise unlike any other. We spent the day at Discovery Cove on our last visit to Orlando and were truly amazed by how fun and relaxing the visit was. Today, we want to spend a little time introducing you to Discovery Cove.
First of all, know that the daily capacity is capped at 1,200 people. This is key to your relaxation, because even during the busiest travel times, it won't feel crowded inside Discovery Cove. You can leave the hustle and bustle of the real world behind, which makes Discovery Cove perfect for a day between theme park visits!
Inside this lush, water paradise, you can swim with dolphins, feed tropical birds inside Explorer's Aviary, snorkel in the Grand Reef, take an underwater walking tour and get up close with tropical fish, explore the Freshwater Oasis with otters and marmosets or while away the hours along the exotic Wind-Away River. Of course, you can also spend your day, lounging on the beach or enjoying Discovery Cove's many pools.
Breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks, including a selection of alcoholic beverages, are all included in the price of admission, so you don't have to want for anything!
On this visit, we had the additional luxury of a secluded cabana, with covered and uncovered seating, overlooking the Dolphin Swim area. It was absolutely fabulous, outfitted with lounge chairs, snacks and drinks. We had our own locker, so we could leave all of our gear and it served as the perfect "home base" during our visit. For many, a cabana falls into the "splurge" category, but the cabanas are perfect for families, especially those with babies or young children who are still napping, or for those who want a little more privacy.
Your Discovery Cove ticket also includes 14 day unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica (and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay if you choose one of the ultimate packages), so it's also a terrific value if you're planning to visit those parks. Upon arrival, you'll be ushered into the serene lobby, where one of the many employees will check you in. Depending on when you arrive, you'll then be assigned times for any experiences that require reservations such as Dolphin Swim or SeaVenture. After that, you're free to explore the park or grab breakfast.
Mornings are a great time to visit Explorer's Aviary, since the birds will be hungry. You can grab different types of bird grub and see if you can lure a few flying friends to your perch!
This was one of our very favorite experiences during our day at Discovery Cove. Even though we're surrounded by plenty of wildlife around the Frog Pond, it was absolutely amazing to get so close to so many winged creatures and so many of them rare species.
Along The Grand Reef, you can spend quality time with the stingrays or snorkel alongside the tropical fish.
Lily and Tad both especially loved this, as they are absolutely obsessed with petting the stingrays, and then Tad and Leap headed out to explore the Grand Reef on their own!
Of course, we wanted to take part in the Dolphin Swim, one of the key park experiences. The swims take place in small-group settings at reserved times throughout the day. After a brief presentation, we waded into the chilly waters in wet suits, and our instructor introduced us to several of Discovery Cove's dolphins. Since participants have to be at least 6 years old, Leap and I split up. Tad and I went first as Leap and Lily watched us nearby from the shore.
We learned a bit about dolphins, including how to touch the dolphin, which was key since we had many opportunities to touch the dolphins while we were in the water! Even better, our instructor showed us hand signals to make with the dolphin so that we could give it a kiss. While you can't take your camera in the water, don't worry, because Discovery Cove photographers are on hand to catch it all! Yep, I have a pic of my dolphin smooch!
Each person in the group also had the chance to swim with a dolphin across the lagoon. Less proficient swimmers have the option of swimming with a dolphin from a shallower area, but this really wasn't an issue since the dolphin did all the work! This was my favorite part of the experience because it was so much fun to watch everyone's expressions as they sailed across the water holding onto a dolphin!
Next, it was on to SeaVenture. In this experience, guests can go down, down, down 12 feet below in The Grand Reef for a walking tour. You don't need SCUBA certification, you just need to be prepared to have fun!
You'll wear a special dive helmet that feeds you oxygen as you tour with a small group. Guests must be at least 10 years of age to participate, need to be in good physical condition, not be flying within 4 hours of participating and should not have had any alcohol for the 12 hours prior to the tour.
I won't lie, as comfortable as I am in water, I found the initial moments down below quite unnerving, but the instructors down below made sure everyone was OK, using the hand signals we were shown in our brief training beforehand.
Down below, you'll have prime views of the shark tank, while the tropical fish swim freely around you.
You'll also get hands on with some of the sea creatures.
After SeaVenture, we spent some quality family time exploring the Wind-Away River. This lazy, tropical river that has a rocky bottom in places and reaches depths of eight feet, winds past sandy beaches and waterfalls. Life jackets are available for all ages, so even non-swimmers can enjoy these tranquil waters. While you can float down it on noodles, more intrepid explorers will want to make use of the complimentary masks and snorkels to explore the underwater depths.
If you go to Discovery Cove ...
Since the experience is all-inclusive, you really don't need to bring much with you. Discovery Cove will provide you with towels, beach chairs, wetsuits, masks, snorkels and even sunscreen. We recommend wearing water sandals, since some of the water surfaces are rocky. You may want to bring a set of clothes to change into, along with a camera and maybe music and a good read if you plan to relax on the beach, but all you really need is a bathing suit and maybe a hat! Plan to spend a full day at Discovery Cove, and make sure to get to the park early so you have time for breakfast!
All in all, it was an incredible day at Discovery Cove, and we cannot wait to return. What makes us even happier is knowing that you can now purchase Discovery Cove tickets directly from us! What questions do you have about Discovery Cove? Share them in comments below! Have you visited Discovery Cove? Tell us about your experience!