As you can probably tell from my profile picture, I love dolphins. I was absolutley over the moon when my boyfriend booked us a day at Discovery Cove on our holiday to Orlando, I did do a lot of hinting though!I can honestly say that this was the best day of the holiday and one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!
Discovery Cove is located adjacent to Seaworld and Aquatica. If you are not driving (as we weren't), there is a free shuttle that will take you from Seaworld directly to the park. If you are staying on International Drive, take the I-Ride trolley to the entrance of Seaworld, next to the bus stand is a telephone which connects straight through to Discovery Cove, they will then send someone to pick you up within minutes. The park is open for check-in at 8am and closes at 5:30, all year round.
ABOUT THE PARK
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive package set in 30 acres of tropical surroundings, where you can experience amazing animal encounters in a relaxed, peaceful environment. This park makes a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, as entrance is limited to 1,000 guests per day.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted at the check-in desk, where they will provide you with a photo ID, which you must wear around the park. If you have a dolphin swim booked, the time of your dolphin swim and cabana name will appear on this. A little tip though, make sure your ID has this printed on it before you enter the park, ours didn't as the lady put us through as a non-dolphin swim, which then caused a bit of confusion for us and the staff. Once you have entered, you can then make your way through the park to recieve your wet suits or swim vests, snorkelling equipment, towels and lockers. These are all complimentary and you will also recieve a sample of suntan lotion which is safe to use in animal habitats. So all you really need to bring with you is your swim suit and a change of clothes (oh, and some money for the gift shop).
This is the highlight of the day! You will make your way to the cabana printed on your ID, it will either be the Sandfish, Sea Horse or Sand dollar, for your brief introduction and safety talk. You will then make your way down to the water in your group of eight, where you will meet your dolphin and the trainer. I must warn you, the water is cold!, but you soon get over that once you are inches from the dolphin. The dolphin we had was Diego, he was absolutley amazing and made us all laugh so much with some of the things he did! You will start off by having an introduction with your dolphin followed by your 'dolphin kiss'. This is such a lovely moment. Next is the 'dolphin swim' where you will swim out into deeper water with one of the trainers in pairs. The dolphin will then come and collect you and swim you on a magical journey back to shore. If you do go out to the deep water, make sure you are able to tread water well as you could be out there for a few minutes while waiting for the dolphin. If you don't feel too confident in the water, there is a shallow swim option, but rest assured that you will still recieve the same experience. The trainer will tell you lots of facts about the dolphin during this time which is a really nice touch. The whole experience is filmed for you and photographs are taken at every opportunity, to capture your perfect moments.
THE REST OF THE PARK
There are so many things to do at this park, aside from the dolphin swim. There is a lagoon in which you can snorkel amongst tropical fish, massive rays and sharks (don't worry, they are safely housed behind a glass partition, but still very scary!). There is also a shipwreck in this lagoon which you can explore to your heart's content.
Another really nice feature is the stingray pool, you can go in the water and explore these magestic creatures. We also got to feed them giant prawns!
There is a long wind-away river, which is just a nice, relaxing journey around the park (in warmer water aswell, bonus!). Some parts can get quite deep, so if you're not a strong swimmer or you have children with you in the water, there are lifejackets avaliable by the entrance of the river.
My favourite part of the rest of the park is the Explorer's Avairy. You can pick up little pots of fruit, which tropical birds eat right from you hand! This was such a nice part of the day, at one point I had one bird on either hand and one on my head (great photo opportunity!).
FOOD AND DRINK
All food and drink is included in the ticket price, which includes breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. The Laguna Grill is where you recieve your main meals. Breakfast includes a selection of cereals, pastries and fruit served with tea, coffee or fruit juices. The menu is really good for lunch, with mains such as Salmon, Burgers and Jambalaya (I had the Jambalaya and it was really nice) followed by a selection of desserts. The Laguna Grill also takes dietary requests such as vegetarian and kosher meals. These can be pre-booked or you can visit the restaurant in the morning to make your request.
This is where prices can tend to mount up. The dolphin swim pictures are something which you should really have to remember your perfect day. A 6x8 photo is priced at $10 each, with various photo packages on offer starting at $59. The DVD of your dolphin swim experience will cost around $50. These are quite expensive in comparison to other theme parks, but they are worth having.
TICKETS AND PRICES
Ticket prices vary on what time of the year you are going and which package you decide you choose. It is worth mentioning that we travelled when prices were classed as mid-season but managed to find a day during our stay classed as low-season, which was a lot cheaper. You can book directly with Discovery Cove or with your tour operator. We booked with Virgin Holidays in which a dolphin-swim package cost between £129-£179, a non-dolphin swim between £69-£129 and a 'Trainer for the Day' package between £265-£315 (I'm going to hint for this next year). This package includes behind the scenes interactions and education with the dolphins and the trainers. If you are travelling in high season, I would recommend booking at least a month in advance to secure a place as this is such a popular destination.
Also included in the price is a 'Welcome photo' and 14 day admission to your choice of Seaworld, Aquatica or Busch Gardens. If you do choose Busch Gardens, you also recieve free transport to the park.
Overall, Discovery Cove is a fantastic, magical day and well worth the money. I can't recommend this park enough.
Discovery Cove is an unforgettable day which offers an unrepeatable opportunity to get up close to dolphins and other sea creatures as well as offer a peaceful contrast to the hectic theme parks of Orlando. A day at Discovery Cove costs about £200 per person depending on season although I booked direct online with Discovery Cove and got it slightly cheaper as the exchange rate at time of booking was in my favour. You can buy admission for some members of your party without the dolphin swim for about half that price but I would recommend that the whole party does the dolphin swim as it is such a crucial part of the day's experience.
When you check in in the morning you are given photo ID passes to wear around your neck which you can use to charge additional items to your credit card. You are told what time your dolphin swim will be and where to report to for the slot. Then you are able to change into your swimwear and put everything else into a free locker for the day. Towels are provided as well as sun tan lotion, snorkels and a wetsuit - a choice of shortie wetsuit or just a zip up vest. Then you can have a buffet continental breakfast - this plus lunch and drinks and snacks throughout the day are included in the admission charge.
There is a long lazy river around the park - no inflatables and not loads to look at and very lazy but quite relaxing. We were so impressed with the amount of lifeguards posted along the way, I really don't think there was any point along the river that they weren't watching which was very reassuring for us as one of our children is a weak swimmer.
There is a large freshwater pool area connecting to the lazy river where the water was really very warm which laps onto a sandy beach and also another saltwater pool - noticeably cooler! - where all the tropical fish and stingrays (stings removed) can be viewed. This was a really impressive feature and a fantastic opportunity to see shoals of beautiful tropical fish and some impressively large stingrays which you are invited to stroke. You can also dive down and view small sharks and barracudas through glass.
The highlight of the day is your dolphin swim. When your time slot comes around you have a brief safety talk and explanation of what will happen from knowledgeable staff and are then introduced to your trainer and taken to the dolphin pool in groups of about 8 people. Our family was put together with some unaccompanied children. This family had some non-dolphin swimmers in it and although they did get some fabulous photos I'm sure their children didn't get as much out of the experience as they might have as the younger one couldn't touch the bottom and struggled to follow the instructions of the trainer. This pool is the coldest yet, not cold like the British seaside but is a great contrast to the other pools at Discovery Cove. I think the temperature of the water spoilt the experience for the youngest child of the unaccompanied group who was asking to get out before she had her dolphin swim.
We were introduced to one dolphin who swam past the group allowing us to stroke him and then another more mature dolphin replaced him. She swam past us a few times and the trainer showed us the hand signals we would need to get the dolphin to "wave" and to leap out of the water. In turns we were taken out one at a time to a deeper part of the lagoon and shown how to lightly hold onto the dolphin's fins who then swam with us to the group. Individual photographs are taken plus a family picture with the dolphin which you then view afterwards and can buy to take home. This was the only part of the day I felt slightly resentful about - having spent the best part of £1000 on our day out I think they should throw in at least one picture of the family with the dolphin, I'm sure many would pay for enlargements on top of this.
As I mentioned food and drink is available throughout the day - including ice cold beers and ice creams and a cafeteria style lunch was served between 11 and 4. However our children enjoyed snorkelling around the pools so much they missed lunch altogether. The choice of food was good and of reasonable quality but nothing really special, the usual Florida selection of burgers, hot dogs and pasta with tomato sauce with a couple of salad choices.
A surprise bonus was being given a 14 day pass to Busch Gardens as well which was included. We could have chosen Sea World or Aquatica but had a fantastic day out at Busch Gardens which was near Tampa.
To sum up our Discovery Cove day was a memorable part of our fantastic family holiday to Florida and the whole organisation was welcoming, safe, high quality and I didn't really have any qualms about the life led by the animals there.
I had always wanted to swim with dolphins and had the chance before visiting Florida to do this - however this was with wild dolphins in the open sea! But me being a wimp and scared of being to far out in the sea i didnt bother doing it.
I had planned to go to Discovery Cove as soon as I had booked to go to Florida to get my ambition done of swimming with dolphins! Although I thought at first the price was bit much I didn't want to miss my chance!
For anyone that has been to Florida you will understand it is not so much of relaxing holiday when you are hitting the theme parks everyday. However with this park they only allow a certain amount of people a day to visit (so book in early!). It is much more of a relaxing day.
I stayed on International Drive and was able to get the I Ride (tram) to Sea World which takes about 10 minutes. When you get to Sea World there are phone booths which say Discovery Cove on and you press the button for the operator which then lets them know you are there and a little shuttle bus comes for you! This then takes you to Discovery Cove (literally a 2 minute drive)
When you arrive you receive your pass for the day and they advise you of your time that you will receive your reserved 30 minute dolphin swim.
Aside from your dolphin swim the rest of your day there is a bird aviary to visit, Wind away river where you receive your goggles & snorkle to practice your under water swimming! You also receive unlimited access to the tropical reef and stingray lagoon where you can snorkle with the stingrays and fish..which i admit found scary! There is then also a man made beach where you can unwind and do a bit of sunbathing!
There are also free lockers provided to keep your belongings safe.
With whatever package you get your breakfast, lunch and unlimited drinks (inc alcohol), there is also a selection of snacks included throughout the day. There are a few packages to to choose from all include a ticket of your choice to either Seaworld or Busch Gardens - for either one of them you choose it gives you 14 days admission. This is the package I took which inc the 30 min dolphin swim which cost about £180.
A package is also available for the non dolphin swim which is a little cheaper roughly around £140. But to be honest I don't see the point in not doing the dolphin swim!
When it came to our dolphin swim you are in a group of around 6 - 8 and it starts with the trainer showing you a video about dolphins and the way the live, there intelligence etc they also cover the health & safety aspects of the swim. Once in the water the trainer starts showing you how to do tricks with the dolphins and you are able to feed them. You then begin to have your photos taken with the dolphin. They also show you how to kiss the dolphin (photo taken) which is very sweet! You then take it turns to swim with the dolphin. The trainer will show you how to hold on to them and then they take you out for a swim! All in all Im glad I paid the money for this day out as to me it is once in a lifetime. At the end of your day you get to view your photos and choose which you would like to have. This does make the total of your day more as of course you have to pay for you pictures! But they really are worth it. The dolphin experience is also filmed and you are able to buy the disc for this however we just decided on the photos!
I would advise before hand buying an underwater camera, we forgot to buy one and had to buy one on site, where it was a little pricey!
For the best prices for tickets I would try www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk , this is who we booked with.
All about the Ticket
Discovery Cove Tickets
* Choice of Adventure Ticket -includes:
o Discovery Cove Package
o Plus 14 days admission to SeaWorld Orlando OR Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
* Ultimate Adventure Ticket includes:
o Discovery Cove Package
o Plus 14 days admission to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Aquatica
SWIM ticket includes:
* Enjoy a reserved 30 minute dolphin swim experience with a swim ticket.
* Unlimited access to the Tropical Reef, Stingray Lagoon, Wind-away River, Explorer's Aviary and Serenity Bay.
* Delicious Food - All Inclusive
o Enjoy an amazing freshly prepared 3 course meal for lunch.
o Plus receive a continental breakfast and snacks such as nachos, fresh fruit and smoothies throughout the day.
o Drinks are also available including water, sodas and Anheuser Busch products for those of you over 21.
o All food, snacks and drinks at Discovery Cove are included in the cost of your ticket.
* Digital photographers and videographers are in the water during your dolphin interaction. Photos are at an additional cost and paid for locally.
Non-Swim ticket includes:
* A non swim ticket includes everything highlighted above apart from the 30 minute dolphin swim.
Although the dolphins are not in there natural habitat you can see they are extremely well looked after and seem really happy!
A definate day out if you go to Florida!
If you've been to Floriday before, you'll know exactly how hectic the holiday is with so much to do and see. If you've not been before but are going, you'll soon learn! This day is an absolute must for anyone who wants a break from all the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. For a whole day you'll feel like you are on an island all of your own. Discovery Cove only admits 1000 people per day. It sounds alot but it really is a huge space so much of the time feel like you are alone. Your day starts when get your scuba diving gear and a photgraphic pass for the day and then you go off to discover! There are loads of pools with beutiful fish, one shallow pool with sting-rays (minus their stings) and an avery where you can feed exotic birds-all of this is included in the price, as is lunch. The sands are littered with hammocks and loungers so when you've had enough of swimming/floating, you can bathe in the sun for a while, again, still very private as the people are spread far and wide. For those wanting to go the full hog and book the dolphin experience, I'd definately recommend it. You get called in small groups of about 10-15 if I remember correctly so its a real close up experience. You'll get to touch the dolphin, interact by doing tricks and then you swim out and get 'pulled' back to shore. Even non swimmers will enjoy the entire day as life vests are issued to everyone. The staff are extremelly friendly and helpful and you'll probably encounter more of these than other guests! It really is a fantastic day and a brilliant way to break up the holiday and give your feet a rest!
Discovery Cove gives you the opportunity to interact with tropical birds, marine life and to swim with dolphins. It is a very expensive day out, but one you will remember forever. My trip to Discovery was one of the best days of my life... let me explain why...
Anybody that has been to Florida on the theme park circuit will know that although it is a holiday of a lifetime, it is exhausting and you are constantly dealing with crowds and queues. However Discovery is a theme park with a difference, because the owners have a set limit of people that they will admit into the park. This means that you can relax without competing with lots of other people in order to enjoy the facilities.
It goes without saying that you have to pay for this level of exclusivity and during peak season it is approximately $289 (per person) to experience the dolphin package at Discovery Cove. This is a lot of money - especially if you are looking to take the children - however this is a once in a lifetime day and, without sounding too much like an advert, you will treasure your memories forever.
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive attraction, so all of the amenities are covered by your indicial entrance fee. This means that you have entered the park you don't have to worry about lockers, wet suits, snorkelling equipment, food and drinks. The food is really tasty and is usually barbequed. A range of soft drinks are on offer, but alcohol isn't covered, so if you want to drink a beer then you will have to pay a supplement.
Within the park you can snorkel in the tropical reef - while you are surrounded by tropical fish and stingrays - you can also sun bath, swim, walk along a white sandy beach and explore the bird statuary. However the big highlight of the day is swimming with a dolphin.
My family and I all swam together with our dolphin that was called CJ. I was apprehensive at first because I didn't know what to expect, but the dolphin was so friendly and playful , so I was put at ease straight away. The trainer let us all individually swim and play with CJ and we also all posed for photographs, which now take pride of place on my bedroom wall.
Being in the water with dolphins is magical, I know it isn't a natural environment, but I can honestly say the animals seemed very happy and well treated.
I would highly recommend the Discovery Cove experience. I hope that one day, if I have children, then I will be able to take them along to experience this park.
Swimming with dolphins is magical and I can't think of a better location to do it.
Five out of five stars.
Discovery Cove is a theme park in Orlando, Florida where guests swim with a variety of marine animals. The centre piece of the park are the bottlenose dolphins. The park is located adjacent to its sister parks SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica. At discovery Cove guests can interact with exotic birds, tropical fishes, rays, and land mammals.
Discovery Cove contains a coral reef, where guests can use snorkeling equipment (Free of charge) to observe and interact with thousands of tropical fish, sharks and barracuda (Shark and barracuda are behind protective glass) Guests can also swim with dozens of rays (up to 4-feet wide) There is also a heated Tropical River that runs directly through the aviary and circles the park.
Discovery Cove's centre piece is the Dolphin swim where you can "talk, touch, play and swim" with bottlenose dolphins. You will have a trained dolphin adventure guide who will provide information and facts about the dolphins. You are shown how to use hand signals and positive reinforcement to encourage the dolphins to perform tricks before participating in a one-on-one swim. The dolphin interaction is between a single dolphin and a group of around eight people. The one-on-one swim is for about 30 seconds.
The admission for this park is all-inclusive, including food, drinks, equipment rentals, and even a ticket to SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
There are three different admission options, These are dolphin-swim package, non-dolphin-swim package and "Trainer for a Day" package. Prices start at $250 per person. You must be fast to make your reservations as a maximum of 1000 guests can be present in the park at any one time.
This is a one off exsperance that everyone should do. The food is excellent and the relaxation is bliss. But if you can do the dolphin swim you must you will not exsperance this again.
Discovery Cove is essentially a theme park where guests can interact with a variety of marine animals. The star attraction for this park is the fact that you can swim with bottlenose dolphins. The park is located in Orlando Florida and is opposite its sister park seaworld. In addition to marine animals there is also a variety of Birds and other exotic animals around the park to interact with.
Discovery Cove is very expensive, but it is a unique experience that you will never forget! I think it is about $290 a person for a Dolphin Swim package and $190 for a non dolphin swim package. Reservations are required as only 1000 people are admitted to the park on any day. Admission to Discovery cove is "all inclusive" and includes all food, drink (including alcoholic beverages), equipment rental and a ticket to either seaworld or busch gardens. Also included is towels, a locker and marine life friendly sun screen.
When you arrive at the park you are checked in at the lobby and if you have opted for a dolphin swim you will be allocated a set time for that at check in. Once you have checked in you can make your way into the park. There are large beach area's with sunbeds and parasols when you can sit and relax. You can go and collect any equipment you require from the rental location. There are snorkels and masks, life jackets and wet suits available.
A tropical river runs around the park and allows guests to swim through waterfalls and other pretty areas. The river runs around the park and has exits into certain areas.
Discovery Cove also contains a coral reef where guests can use the provided snorkel equipment to swim over and observe all sorts of fish and other marine life. There is a shark and barracuda tank which you can also snorkel past but it is behind protective glass. You can also swim in a shark tank which contains loads of different stingrays.
There is also a free flight aviary that you can swim into and walk around. This contains loads of tropical birds and which you can also feed.
The main attraction at Discovery cove is the Dolphin Swim. This takes place in the large pool in the centre of the resort. There are areas where people not participating in the Dolphin swim can watch family and friends take part. You will be in a group of about 8 people. You will receive a safety orientation and information session to learn about the dolphins before moving to the dolphin pool. You will be shown how to use hand signals to encourage the dolphins to perform tricks. You will get a little of one on one time with the dolphin too. The whole session lasts about 30 minutes so it is very expensive but really worth it.
The food that is included is excellent and has such a variety - from burgers to fresh fish and pasta dishes. All of your drinks are also included - including alcoholic beverages.
Overall Discovery Cove is a very expensive day out - especially for a large family. However it honestly was one of the most enjoyable days I have had in Orlando and something I will always remember.
whatever your reason for visiting florida be it for the white sandy beaches or the thrill of the many theme parks on offer be sure to visit discovery cove. what a place! there is something for everyone her its a quiet "theme park" with many different attractions. the main attraction is swimming with dolphins! this is a great unforgetable experience that i had whilst in discovery cove. first you are briefed by an expert then you recieve the safety gear and enter the water. you are allowed to feed the dolphins and swim around them as they do tricks and swim around. then your instructor will help you hold on to your dolphin so he.she can pull you around the pool. if you are going to visit discovery cove this is a MUST not only for children but for all ages this is unforgetable. another one of the major atractions is the bird sanctuary where you are given pots of food and tropical birds will fly around and land on you and take the food i enjoyed this loads and so did the rest of my family and will definately go back. there is also a big lagoon style pool which is full of fish and stingrays. ou are given a snorkle upon arriving at discovery cove and u can get in and snorkle with all these fish. you can also swim up to glass below the water where there are sharks behind it.
Also at discovery cove there is a man made beach with sea like pool for you to relax and sip drinks if you wish or eat your food. on the subject of food there is a large variation of resturaunts here serving delicious food which i cannot fault. fromm tropical fish to gravy and chips whatever you could possibly want they will cater for. and after you have stuffed with the food there is a lazy river that u can get in your rubber ring and float round in the sun or if you wish to be more active you can snorkle around swimming in the currents to push you faster.
be sure to have you pictures taken with the dolphins they are reasonably priced and are very good quality.
there are many other attractions to go and see aswell as shows which me and my family enjoyed very much .
for those of you who are going to go to discovery cove in the future i hope you have a great time like i had im sure you wont be disapointed.
i went to Discovery Cove a few years back, and i have to say it was definately worth it. when you arrive in the morning you will have your picture taken and printed onto a visitors pass that is on a lanyard for you to keep. you can have your credit card linked to the card for any purchases you want to make so you dont have to keep going to your locker to get cash or cards. after that you recieve an orientation tour, and get fitted out for a wet suit (full body or short sleeved if you prefer).
we didnt have the greatest weather, but, we had reasonable sunshine and a little drizzle of rain early in the afternoon didnt really bother me because i just went and had some lunch (which is included!).
the only problem with this park is that the drinks arent free (soft drinks), but apart from that i can only say good things.
the dolphin swim was fantastic, very informative and fun.
the photo session is not that long, and lets face it most of us dont swim with dolphins very often, so the chance to buy a decent photo with a real live dolphin that you can show off to all your friends when you get home is worth about ten minutes of anybodys time.
the lunch that is supplied is fantastic, and there is a wide variety to choose from, i had of all the things on offer, a cheese burger (however it wasnt just a cheeseburger, it was a monster meaty and very tasty burger)
one thing i will say is that a trip to the ray lagoon is a definate must, you can spend as long as you like in there and they are such gracefull creatures.
the lazy river that runs through the complex is really relaxing, and at one point it runs through a waterfall into a giant aviary where you can get out and see a wide variety of tropical birds, and have your picture taken with some if you want, then back into the river and off again.
at around £120 for the day with the swim although i think the prices now are closer to £150, it isnt the cheapest day out, but it IS a whole day out and because it is limited to 1000 people per day, it is never crowded.
kids will love it and adults will love it even more...
Who would have thought that in land-locked full of thrills Orlando, there could be an oasis of calm and a chance to unwind and interact with some amazing animals?
Discovery Cove is owned by SeaWorld and has been up and running for a few years now. In my opinion, this place is an absolute must if you're holidaying in Florida but if you don't like beaches or water parks or animals you'll be stuck as there's nothing else to do. It's not a theme park in that sense at all.
Discovery Cove is an all day, all inclusive attraction and you must book in advance as there are no 'at the door' tickets whatsoever. Visitors are limited to around 1,000 per day so it never gets over-crowded and this all adds to the relaxing feel of the place; it's probably in the interest of all the animals too.
We paid (in 2007) £139 per ticket for the dolphin swim package;
£89 per ticket for the non-dolphin swim package and the tickets we bought were by far the best prices we could find, from Attraction Tickets Direct.
There are no adult and child prices at Discovery Cove - you either buy a dolphin swim or non-dolphin swim. Everything else is the same; both types of tickets allow you to do everything this place has to offer, such as snorkel with tropical fish (something my 7 year old nephew loved); swim with rays; feed birds in the free flight aviary (there's just about every kind of bird you can think of from tiny to HUGE scary looking ones!); we paid 50 cents for a dish of bird seed in 2007 (again, my nephew loved this; he's animal mad). There's also a resort pool here which you can just lounge about in all day. It's a constant 83 degrees and is lovely, like stepping into the bath.
As I mentioned earlier, Discovery Cove is an all day attraction; you arrive before 9am for "check in"; bring your passports for I.D.; at check in, they tell you the time of your dolphin swim, give you a security pass which you have to wear for the entire day and give you a brief navigational tour.
Everything's included, so after checking in, you proceed to the changing area to get into your rather fetching wetsuit and put all your stuff in a locker. They provide you with a bag of items at this point which contains things such as snorkel, goggles and a small packet of sun cream. You are not allowed to bring in your own sun cream in case any of the ingredients are harmful to the animals; they provide you with enough to get you started and tell you bottles are available from the on site shop!
Once you're in your wetsuit, you can do whatever you like with your day - the only time you're tied to is the time of your particular dolphin swim.
Breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks are also included at Discovery Cove; once in our wetsuits we headed straight to breakfast - this was a continental style affair with pastries, breads, jams, yoghurts and fruit juices.
Lunch was pretty good - there was a good range of foods on offer and you can choose whatever you want: we had things like salmon, chicken, pasta, rice, potatoes, veg etc. Of course this is America, so there's always fries!
Snacks are included too, which means that you can walk up to one of the little bars dotted around and have a pack of crisps or a small pack of cookies or a drink, all without handing over a penny (or a cent!)
The time of our dolphin swim was 11:45am; I had opted for the non-dolphin swim option as I didn't think I wanted to do it (and I've been kicking myself ever since!). First of all, they give you a little talk about what you can and can't do and then you watch a film of around 10 mins or so. They tell you at this point to remove any jewellery except for a plain wedding band or a waterproof watch, and to tuck your security pass inside your wetsuit.
Then it's time for the actual swim: all in all, it probably lasts 40 mins or so but the swim is only for about 5. Most of your time in the water is spent being introduced to your particular dolphin and learning various signals to teach your dolphin some tricks. (If it doesn't want to do anything, it won't - our group's dolphin was a 3 year old female called Mia and she kept swimming off to join other dolphins!)
The actual swim comes right at the end of the session and you basically hitch a ride on it. You hold onto its dorsal fin, right fin and tuck your feet in by its tail and it swims across the lagoon with you on its back.
Children under 6 are not allowed to do this at all; children aged 6-12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and anyone over the age of 55 must make themselves known to the trainer too. (Though they don't explain why this is).
My nephew who was 7 at the time (and a very good swimmer) had to do his dolphin swim in the shallow part of the lagoon; they do this for non swimmers too so don't feel you need to miss out if you can't swim! They just re-jig things a bit.
This place really is fantastic despite the somewhat hefty price tag; I think it's worth it for such an amazing day. We went on the very last day of our holiday and it was wonderful after nearly 2 weeks of traipsing round the main theme parks. It recharged our batteries for the long journey home. Who would have thought such a laid back place could be found just minutes from International Drive?
Discovery Cove is small Haven away from the hustle and bustle of the orlando theme parks. This park is very hard to get into as it only allows 1000 people in a day, so I would recommend prebooking your visit as there is not much chance of you being able to walk in on the day. Discovery Cove is quite expensive with prices starting from about £170. The best value ticket option is the Ultimate ticket, this is only really for those that will be visiting Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Aqutica as this ticket option gives access to all of these, this ticket is priced approx about £210.
The only thing you need to bring with you is your swim suit as towels suncream and wet suit ar provided. It is crucial you do not apply your own sun cream as this can harm the fish, wait for them to give you the free sample.
On first arrival you "check-in" very much like a hotel, you are measured for your wet suit and have your picture taken for your pass and are booked in for a dolphin swim - if applicable. For your swim suit you have the option of a full length are just a vest type style, this should really depend on how cold it is that day...bearing in mind that if you are doing the dolphin swim this pool is very cold!
Once you are checked in and have your suits you can grab some bfast, this is all part of the price and all food is inclusive the whole day, the food is great quality.
The park ahs a normal fresh water pool for just swimming in. It has a tropical fish pool which is salt water and gives you the oppurtunity to swim with different varieties of fish,there is a shark section which is behind a glass. I would recommend taking your watrproof camera (these can be purchase quite cheaply about £7 for a disposable) as the prcing for the photos in DC are very expensive.
There is also a ray pool which is a similar set up to the tropical fish pool.
I would recommend at least one party has a watch on as you swim time can go past without you even noticing.
For your dolphin swim you are given a safety briefing and a dvd to watch befroe entering the dolphin lagoon, you will be in a bout a group of 8 people and assigned one dolphin, the trainer will introduce you to the dolphine and each person will be able to feed the dolphin and also help with giving signal to the dolphin. Each indivdual will have their picture taken with the dolphin and then you can go to an optional debriefing. The dolphin expereince last approx 30 mins in total, it is a worth while experience - you must be at least 6 years old for the experience and also a competent swimmer.
This is a lovely park and a very relaxing day, although it is very pricey I would say go at least once jus to see what it is like
Absolutely amazing! If you are going to florida this is a must on your list of things to do but book early as spaces go extremely quickly. This ticket includes a 7 day ticket to seaworld which is also very good with the added bonus of not having to pay for it. The ticket for discovery cove is a little more expensive that your usual theme park ticket but definetly worth it as it is a fantastic experience.
There is so much to do, for example there is an area with tropical fish and baby sharks, ray lagoon, tropical bird section, lazy river (lovely warm water compared to the areas with animals in) and of course the dolphins. The other attractions apart from the dolphins aren't just there to keep you half amused while your waiting for the dolphins, I would pay to get in even if the dolphins weren't there, it was that good.
It is set out like a huge beach with sand which is a very nice atmosphere. You can go up and get food and drink any time which is all included in the price.
This is definetely a place to go if you are visiting florida. A lot better than the theme parks over there.
I have recently returned from Florida and had the pleasure to visit Discovery Cove for the first time. Now there's no point pretending it's cheap...it's not. In fact it cost about £700 for four of us. However that did include a 14 day ticket for Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica. There are cheaper tickets available which include 7 day tickets for Seaworld or non dolphin swim tickets but this was the best all in package for us.
Anyway the day was fantastic! We first arrived at about 8:30am and were shown into the checkin area which looked more like a hotel lobby. We were given our passes (these were for entry to other parks too), map and told what time our dolphin swim would be and where. We were then shown to where we could get breakfast. This consisted of things including pastries, muffins, cereal as well as drinks. After we had finished we were guided to the changing area where we were given wetsuits (or wet vests), snorkels etc. I believe they even had prescription masks for those who needed glasses. The changing area and showers were spotless with large fluffy towels, shower gel, shampoo etc was all provided free. Once changed you can head to various areas. There is a walk through avairy where you can feed the exotic birds with pots of fruit which is extremely beautiful. Alternatively there is the stingray lagoon. The water here is waist deep and full of a number of rays, all of which are perfectly gentle. The kids in particular love it. My two spent hours in there. If you are lucky you might get to feed them too which is fun as the rays crowd round and try to 'climb' up you when they sense food! There is also the tropical lagoon. In here there are thousands of tropical fish and extremely large sting rays free swimming. Here the snorkal comes into its own as the view under the water is stunning. There is a novel touch in there too as there is a viewing area under water where you can look through glass at sharks and baracuddas. If you prefer a relaxing swim there is a warm pool (about 85f) and lazy river which circles the park. The lazy river also allows access to the avairy via a waterfall which you swim through. Finally is the dolphin swim. You are taken down after a short pep talk to the dolphin lagoon in groups of 8-10. You then spend around 30 minutes in the water with 'your' dolphin where there is plenty of interaction touching, feeding and playing and the opportunity for a tow to shore by the dolphin from deeper water if you choose. Whilst in the water a team films your experience and takes photos which you have the opportunity (at a price!) to purchase later. All food and drink is included in the price including a lovely lunch with a wide choice of sumptous food, and you can go back for seconds or thrids! At the end of the day is the opportunity to purchase your photos and DVD's. This is not cheap. The full package is $139 which includes a cd of your photos including dolphin swim and any others taken round the park such as in the avairy and rays and several prints and keyrings. The DVD of your dolphin swim will cost an additional $50. Although expensive it is a truly magical day. A limited number of people (1000 max) are allowed in so it never feels crowded. You are well treated with staff on hand to help with everything you need. If you have disabilities you are well catered for with special wheelchairs that go across the sand and into the water. All in all brilliant!!!
We all visited Discovery Cove in summer 2007. We booked online about two weeks before our holiday and got the last slot. They only had 2 tickets with dolphin swims left. If you are planning a trip for the summer book early as places are sold fast.
They only allow so many people in per day. We are a family of four and we booked tickets for four with only two dophin swims which were for my children. It costs about $140 per person, per day without dophin swim and $170 per person, per day with dophin swim. This price includes 7 days free entry to Seaworld.
They also have an evening ticket that allows you to get in the water with the dophins but you can't swim with them. Its a cheaper ticket. I thought when the evening guests arrived the park looked a bit messy as the staff were busy cleaning and picking up rubbish from the day.
The day vist was magnificent. We arrived at about 9am and were checked in. We were given a wet suit goggles ect. (no deposit needed).
They also have prescription goggles for people who wear glasses. The deposit is quite high for prescription goggles and they won't return deposit if you lose prescription goggles.
All food and drink is available all day and included in price. The meals and food were very good.
A talk is given before the half hour dolphin swim and our children were put in a small group with a trainer. Everything seemed to be very safe. They talked about the dolphin allowed them to touch it and each person is given a short swim on their own with the dolphin.
They have a lovely lazy river. Lagoons filled with fish and baby sharks for swimming in. There is also a garden filled with exotic birds. The day ends at 5pm, you're ready for home by then.
At the end of the day you get a chance to buy photos the staff have taken and DVD of dophin swim.
It was a wonderful day and my children still talk about it.
On my work trip to Florida I was lucky enough to visit Discovery Cove for a half day trip and it was one of the best places I have ever been! I have previously been to a similar place in Jamaica called Dolphin cove but this place is much better!
What makes this place so good is that the whole thing is made to be a complete day out. Once you arrive you enter through the lobby and then through here into the gardens. There is a path to follow to go down into the cove area and as you walk down here you come to a girl who takes your picture. This is free and you can collect at reception on your way out - it was quite a nice touch as 4 of us got in one picture and they will make separate copies so you can all have one.
As you come down past this bit you will then enter the actual cove area where there are different sections and quite a few beach areas too. On all the beach areas there are adequate sun loungers for the amount of people who are in the cove in any one day. There are also locker and changing rooms and next to the lockers is where you collect your wetsuit or vest along with your snorkel and dolphin friendly sun cream. These are also included in the cost of the day.
When you first arrive you are given your time slot for your swim with the dolphins and this is on a tag which you can then wear around your neck. It tells you what cabana you need to go to on your tag as there is 4 separate cabanas and they normally have 2 groups in each cabana for each time slot. All 8 groups then go out together into the cove where the dolphins are. The trainer of the dolphins will meet you in the cabana and this is where you will sign all the necessary forms before you are allowed to do your swim.
The swim itself consists of the trainer telling you about the dolphin and also go through some basic points. They will get the dolphin to do some basic tricks and then they will take it in turns to do the swim with them and also the kissing! If you are together they can get group pictures so this is nice if you are family. Where the swim takes place you have to swim out into the deeper lagoon but if you cannot swim you are given a life jacket and can still do the swim. If like one of the girls in our group you are not comfortable even with a life jacket at going out into the deeper lagoon then they can get the dolphin to come up to the edge of bit that goes deeper and do a 'walk' where you hold the fin and walk along as the dolphin swims. It is good that this is an option as otherwise some people would miss out on their experience.
All the while you are out in the lagoon the photographer is taking pictures of you with the dolphins and straight after the swim they will take anybody who wants to buy any to the little hut where you can view them. They go through all the different options of which there is quite a few. The cheapest thing you can get was $20 for a keyring and small picture - with this option you can only choose on picture which is the same on them all but it's an ideal way to get a photo souvenir without spending a fortune. When I got mine I actually had 2 keyrings, 4 spare keyring size photos as well as my small picture which was a 6''x4'' so overall not bad at all. The most expensive package was something like $250 for the video and all the photos taken.
So you've done your swim and that's what you cam for but Discovery Cove has loads more to offer and that's what make it such a great day out. There is also a bird aviary, a lagoon that you go into with stingrays, a tropical fish lagoon that you can snorkel in and also a lagoon with sharks in which is located next to the lagoon you can swim in - this even has glass walls so you can get up close whilst in the water. There is also a lazy river area and lots of lagoon space with no fish in just to swim in. This is great as generally the swims take place throughout the whole day and therefore you could have your swim early and then have the rest of the day to chill out and sunbathe or swim with the fishes or stingrays etc and it is just a very chilled out place. Also, included in the price of the entry is all food and drink so you can get lunch and dinner there too and this is all paid for in advance so no need to carry lost of money around except for the photos which can be paid for by card anyway. Food is good with a good selection of hot and cold food along with loads of deserts!!
There is also a gift shop on site for people to buy souvenirs, which include things like keyrings, teddies and other bits and bobs. I didn't have time to properly look around but the usual stuff you'll find in any gift shop where there is a major attraction.
So how much does it all cost?
Well this is the big part - the costs aren't cheap but I personally believe you are paying for the whole day not just a swim and that's your lot - the thing to remember is all your food and drink is included too so if you do stay the whole day then it could actually end up being not that much more than what you would have spent being in one of the theme parks all day!
Well a package to get in can be sold as part of bigger packages to include tickets into seaworld and Busch gardens as these companies are all owned by Busch but you can also buy tickets for just this place as a lot of English visitors will have already bought all their theme park tickets anyway in the UK.
A basic package with just one of their other parks 7 day admission included for an adult is $279. Yes it is quite a lot but that is for the extra tickets too. However to get a cost for just the entry you have to call them as it changes frequently and depending on the time of year you are going. If however you were buying the ticket including 7 days entry to one of the parks, a ticket costing just over £150 is not that bad considering you are getting your dolphin swim too along with the whole day in Discovery Cove along with food and drink too. Another different package they do is 'Trainer for a day' wher you can go behind the scenes and see wat is involved in working and looking after the dolphins along with a more private dolphin swim so that families for example may have just a group of htme rather than mixed with strangers. This is a lot more expensive at approximately $469 per person.
I would highly recommend this place as it is really a great experience and is perfect for everybody in the family. It is well equipped and is very peaceful too as amazingly it actually has a limit on the number of people it will allow in per day at only 1000 so it is never crowded and actually always feels like it's not busy which is great considering how much people pay as it does give a feel of being more tranquil!
The Cove is located right near Seaworld and so is right wihin the vicintiy of all the other Florida attractions and within easy access to those staying in Disney hotels, near Universal or in villas in the Florida area