Orlando, Florida just happens to be our family’s #1 vacation destination. In the past 5 years we have been there 4 times (and we live about 900 miles away!). We just LOVE it! There is so much to do in Orlando, so our family always has a blast! We were recently given the opportunity to visit Discovery Cove in Orlando and since it’s an attraction we hadn’t yet visited, we were all excited to check it out. Okay, excited is an understatement……you see, at Discovery Cove, you can SWIM WITH DOLPHINS!
Let me give you a little bit of basic info about Discovery Cove before I tell you about our experiences there. Discovery Cove is a magical resort where you and your family can have interactions with animals you probably wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to interact with. It is a day resort – what that means is that, like a resort, it’s all-inclusive. The cost of your ticket covers food, drinks, and most of the available activities. As a day resort it does not cover the cost of overnight accommodations. At Discovery Cove there are no crowds because admission is limited to no more than 1300 people per day. (Want to compare that to other parks — I’ve read that, on average, Disney’s Magical Kingdom welcomes over 50,000 people per day!) At Discovery Cove, you and your family can touch and swim with dolphins, wade with stingrays, snorkel among thousands of exotic fish, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary and relax on pristine beaches.
After getting suited up in our wet-suits, our day at Discovery Cove started with the dolphins. Maggie and I were lucky enough to be able to swim with a bottlenose dolphin during a 30-minute interactive adventure. This was, by far, the highlight of Maggie’s entire trip to Orlando this time around. From the moment she found out about the trip she told ANYONE who would listen to her that she would be swimming with dolphins: the Target cashier, the waitress at Denny’s, the hotel receptionist, etc.. She would just beam ear to ear when she told people about our trip. We’re going on vacation to Florida and I’m going to swim with dolphins! I couldn’t wait to see her in the water! She was not timid about her interaction with our dolphin at all. She loved the opportunity to pet, kiss, hug and eventually take a short swim with the dolphin. While swimming with dolphins has been on my personal bucket list for years and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience myself, I have to admit that the highlight of my trip was watching Maggie’s enthusiasm. It was the trip of a lifetime for her; I’m so happy I was able to be a part of that experience!
After our dolphin interaction it was time for lunch. Discovery Cove has a great selection of dishes to choose from, even the pickiest member of our family found something to eat. And, like I mentioned, the cost of all food is included when you purchase your ticket — even desserts and snacks later on throughout the day! The kids were thrilled that they had chocolate cake and Goldfish crackers, among a host of other great options.
We headed for the Grand Reef after lunch. The Grand Reef allows you to snorkel and swim among saltwater fish and rays. The water is clear and the fish are just stunning. This was my husband’s favorite part of Discovery Cove. He said he could have spent the entire day in this section of the park. Of course, we wanted to try out a little bit more of the park, so I managed to pull him away and we headed to the Freshwater Oasis area to finish out our day.
At the Freshwater Oasis you can enjoy face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets. The water here was the perfect temperature. I could have stayed in there for hours! The kids loved being able to get so close to the otters (who were behind glass) while they were swimming. They both just beamed from ear to ear the entire day and were sad when we told them it was time to head back to our hotel.
Our family had an AMAZING day at Discovery Cove. We can’t wait to go back and explore the other exciting experiences they have to offer there. There are lots of other great things to see and do at Discovery Cove. Find out more about this great resort and book your trip by visiting their website.
Our family was provided complimentary admission and travel expenses to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.