Discovery Cove, the second theme park opened by Anheuser-Busch in Orlando, Fla., allows guests the opportunity to get a one-on-one, up-close and hands-on look at marine wildlife, including their signature dolphins. This truly unique resort is located adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando and re-creates the atmosphere of a tropical island. What makes Discovery Cove even more of a unique destination is the fact that the park is limited to 1,000 guests per day to ensure that everyone gets personal time with the animals – and because of this, reservations are required for entrance to the park. Once you do get inside, however, you are sure to enjoy the dolphin interactions, snorkeling in a coral reef or floating along a tropical river. And, best of all, everything once you get inside is included with admission.
Discovery Cove is by far the most expensive theme park in all of Central Florida, but if you were to ask anyone who has ever been, chances are they will tell you it is well worth the cost. As mentioned above, this park does have a strict capacity of 1,000 guests per day, but you can be assured that once you enter Discovery Cove, you will not be bothered with long lines or hordes of tourists anywhere. For this reason, you do have to make reservations ahead of time to ensure entrance to the park, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $ 200-250 if you want your day to include a dolphin interaction, or $ 100-160 if you would like to just explore the resort without the dolphin excursion (depending on the season). The dolphin interaction is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as you get to learn all about these marine mammals up close while also getting to do a dolphin ride and have your picture taken professionally with the animals (the only downside is that the pictures cost extra). Everything, except gifts and souvenirs of course, is included with admission, so don’t worry about bringing in snorkel gear, your beach towel or even food with you. Lunch is provided for everyone, as is snacks and drinks throughout your day, and even parking is free at the resort as well. At lunch, you will be able to feast on a freshly-prepared meal that could include anything from fajitas, salmon, stir-fry or pesto chicken, among other delicious entrees.
There are additional options that you can add on to your day at Discovery Cove, such as the trainer for a day package. For an extra fee, guests will be provided a personal tour guide throughout the day that just so happens to be one of the finely-trained animal trainers at Discovery Cove. During your day, you will get a personal tour of the resort, including a behind-the-scenes look at what the trainers do every day to prepare and care for the dolphins. In addition, every admission into Discovery Cove also is awarded a seven-day pass to SeaWorld Orlando, so if you are planning on visiting both resorts, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity, as it will definitely save you money.
Once inside the park, there is plenty to do besides the dolphin interactions. Guests have many opportunities to interact with other animals and marine wildlife, as there is a sting ray pool that guests can wade and swim in, a coral reef that offers the chance to interact with thousands of colorful fish, and a free-flight bird aviary where guests can feed beautiful exotic birds in their natural habitat. There are also demonstrations throughout the day with other kinds of animals that are kept behind the scenes, such as a two-toed sloth. Discovery Cove also has a beautiful man-made beach with a relaxing lagoon and other pools and rivers for guests to relax in.
Discovery Cove is located across from the SeaWorld entrance on Central Florida parkway and is sure to be the highlight of any vacation to the Sunshine State.