As I mentioned in my prior post, Alexa had swimming with dolphins on her bucket list. She did her research and found Discovery Cove. Operated by SeaWorld and just across the street from the main park. Discovery Cove offers a unique experience for it's visitors. The price for the day was all-inclusive. We got our breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks along with our snorkeling equipment, lockers, wet suits and life vests as part of our cost. I will not lie, it's not cheap, but it was so worth it!
We arrived at 8:30, signed in and had our photo badges and id's checked and created. Walked to where they were serving breakfast - very nice I might add and afterward we walked over to the dolphin lagoon.
We had a check in and met our trainer who gave us some basic instructions, told us what to expect, checked that we would all be OK with being in the water and then we walked into the lagoon.
We met our dolphin, Aries and spent some time learning about his anatomy, how to touch him and doing some basic commands. Then we got to swim out, in groups of one or two about 20 yds. from where we were standing to another trainer and one by one we got to ride a dolphin into shore. Pictures were taken (mine were awful!) but Alexa was one happy girl! I'm adding a link to a blog post (where I found this map) about a family that had a similar experience. The photos on this blog illustrate our experience very well and will give you a good idea what to expect of Discovery Cove.
After the dolphins, we went to the Grand Reef. I have to say, this was great! I really enjoyed myself snorkeling and wish I had stayed there longer. The giant manta rays at my feet really freaked me out though, I have to say. It was like swimming with the fishes in 'Tanked' the show about the fish tank builders in Las Vegas. I could have sworn I saw fish that I see on that show.
We walked over to the aviary - great fun, informative and what beautiful birds!
There were trainers everywhere and they gave us not only tips on feeding the birds but what we were feeding them and why.
We finished our day - after a very nice lunch, on the Wind Away River. It's like a lazy river, current always moving you but it's attached to several small beaches, one large beach with a grotto with waterfalls and several waterfalls along the route. You can use a noodle (wuss girl, me did) or you could just swim along. There were several areas where the bottom would drop to 8 ft. and others where you could easily stand. We loved it so much we went around twice and ended up late getting back for our reunion launch!
I would go back there in a NY minute! I hope to be able to take Norm and visit. It's the one park I think he would really like.
Next up, my last vacay post about our last (or so we thought) theme park and our trip back.