Our first morning in Orlando – and we were to go check out ‘Discovery Cove’ Park. The news broadcast the evening before wasn’t painting the best picture for the weather – but unlike any other theme park, with Discovery Cove we had booked our reservation in advance for this particular day (the only allow 1000 guests per day). This meant that is was pure luck to the weather that you’d get – especially in winter!
When we awoke it wasn’t all that bad – sure it wasn’t boiling hot, and sure there was a bit of rain – but we were planning on doing a lot of swimming today anyway!
The theme park was beautiful – on entering it felt as though you were on a resort island. Sandy beaches, clear water and marine life! We started the day by filling up on Breakfast. Everything is included with the admission price at Discovery Cove, form all meals, towels, snorkels to free beer!
Soon after Breakfast we jumped in the water and floated down the Lazy River –slowly circling the park in the heated water. This gave us the perfect time to practice our snorkel techniques for the main Coral Reef pool! Soon enough we were keen to meet some of the animals – and after seeing a trainer feeding a pool FULL of Sting Rays and not one other guest in sight – we jumped in to help! What an experience – being able to hand feed a Sting Ray. We held 3 sardines in each hand, and waited for the ray to approach. As their mouths are on the bottom of their body – they swim over your hand, and you feel suction like a vacuum as they suck up the food! No teeth involved thankfully!
Soon it was the time we had come to Discovery Cove for – to swim with Dolphins! After a quick orientation, we were in the cold pool with the Dolphin trainers and of course the dolphins! They swam up to you, letting you stroke there bodies, the turned over so you could rub their bellies, and we were even taught hand signals to make the dolphins ‘talk’! What an experience! After a picture perfect kiss with the dolphins, we swam to the middle of the lagoon. Suddenly the dolphins emerged from under us, as we grabbed two of the dolphin’s fins and were towed back to shore! Talk about power! Of course no dolphin experience would be complete without some tricks with the dolphins – and to finish, we were taught the signals to send the dolphins spinning in the air!
After a delicious free lunch and a warm up in the hot ‘Lazy River’ – we entered into the Coral Reef pool. A swimming experience like no other. The lagoon was huge and inside was thousands of exotic and tropical fish! The colours were amazing, which hopefully we`ll caught on our underwater camera that we bought! There were underwater viewing windows that got you uncomfortably close to a pool FULL of sharks and also Barracudas – lucky the glass was there to protect us! It still gave you a great thrill though! A highlight for the both of us was swimming with the Sting Rays! They were EVERYWHERE. Our favourite was a spotted Ray which had a pattern similar to a cheetah – and had a wing span of 6 feet! It’s amazing sharing the water with these creatures as they gracefully glide right underneath you!
Discovery Cove is also home to an amazing aviary – full of exotic birds. The great thing about this experience was that you were able to enter the aviary and hand feed the birds. It’s amazing how many birds you could attract while standing under the gas heaters with a small pot of food in your hands! Soon enough you were surrounded!
The rest of the day was spent jumping between lagoons, rivers and aviary’s – before warming up in the bar with a beer, watching the Dolphins in the distance as they jumped high out of the water. We wouldn’t call Discovery Cove a theme park – but a luxury adventure resort!