The Discovery Cove day resort has seriously got to be the best kept secret in Orlando. I know this, because I lived in Florida for a year and a half before hearing about Discovery Cove. My friend Erin was going with her husband, and she told me that it’s basically a place to swim with dolphins. You can swim with dolphins, but found it to be so much more! When we visited we spent a lot of time relaxing on the beach watching the kids swim and play, interacting with animals, and more. Overall, it is an extremely relaxing place to be, unlike many theme parks where you are waiting in line after line.
Swimming with Dolphins at Discovery Cove
Should you pay extra to swim with the bottlenosed dolphins? Yes! Our military family did the Day Resort with Dolphin Swim Package and one of the highlights was definitely the dolphin encounter.
- The Day Resort with Dolphin Swim Package is $289 per person. If you are a FL resident the price is $149 per person. They also have special prices for Florida residents. (Packages also includes unlimited admission to SeaWorld® and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™ in Orlando during your vacation.)
All of my kids were able to participate, because they are 13, 10, and 7. (Note: kids have to be at least 6 years old to participate in the dolphin swim.) During the dolphin swim, we got to meet two dolphins and learn all about them. One of them was young and one was old. It was fascinating to see the difference. I never thought about dolphins aging before. For example the young one look just like they do in the movies and has all of its teeth still. The old one only had 6 teeth and just looked older. Of course, it was the old one we had to kiss for the pictures!
Everyone gets to kiss the dolphin and take a dolphin ride where the dolphin pulls you through the water. My kids LOVED this. The entire encounter is photographed and videotaped, with the option of purchasing them afterward. I can’t remember how much this cost, but it was not cheap.
I would happily spend another day at Discovery Cove without swimming with the dolphins. It’s one of those things where once is enough.
We got to interact with animals quite a bit. Throughout the day we had all kinds of animal interactions. All guests can enjoy these 4 animal experiences.
Grand Reef – That day we swam with manta rays, sharp-toothed reef sharks, nurse shark and thousands of tropical fish like angelfish in the grand reef.
Freshwater Oasis – Here you can watch otters and marmosets.
Explorer’s Aviary – In this area you can see all kinds of various birds, including a peacock, parrots, and aracaris. You are allowed to hand feed exotic birds and the bird food is provided for you.
Animal Meet and Greet – Throughout the day there were opportunities to attend an informational session on an animal. Animals we got to see the day we were there were a sloth, a tortoise, and a marmoset. They let us pet a sloth and poise for pictures. There was no additional charge for these meet and greets. There is a little meet up spot where each talk is held. I found that the scheduled animal encounters were highly educational.
One of our favorite parts was the lazy river. There are no tubes, but you can get a life jacket or a pool noodle to help you float. There were some deep parts and younger children should be in a life jacket. As you float down it, you enter into an aviary, where you can look at the birds or get up and walk through the aviary and feed the birds.
Food and Drinks Included
As a mom, I loved the fact that the package was all inclusive. If the kids got thirsty or hungry, they could go up to any snack shack and pick out whatever they wanted like chips. I didn’t hurt that mama could have pina coladas all day. Plus, they provided a buffet breakfast and lunch. Breakfast included a variety of options like eggs, sausage, cereal, bagels, croissants, breakfast potatoes, waffles, French toast sticks, and ham. Lunch included sandwiches, burgers, fish, macaroni and cheese, salad, pulled pork, cake, cheesecake, brownies, and more.
Discovery Cove Day Resort packages are available with and without the Dolphin Swim Experience. Packages also include:
- Unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in Orlando during your vacation. Upgrade to the Ultimate Package for an additional $25 to add Busch Gardens Tampa. Get the upgrade, Busch Gardens is awesome!
- Unlimited snacks and drinks, including alcoholic drinks at various places throughout the park.
- Breakfast and lunch: Breakfast is served daily from 7:15-10:30 AM and lunch is served from 11:00 AM -3:30 PM.
- Snorkeling with tropical fish and rays
- Snorkel gear and animal safe sunscreen – That’s right they have sunscreen for you, which they want you to use in order to not harm the animals.
- Hand-feed parrots, toucans, and other exotic birds
- Complimentary transportation to Busch Gardens Tampa for guests whose Discovery Cove package includes admission to Busch Gardens
- They will provide you with a beach friendly stroller.
Although the tickets are expensive, they are not nearly as expensive when you factor in the admission into Sea World and Aquatica.
Discovery Cove FAQ’s
How much does Discovery Cove cost?
Prices vary seasonally. The All-Inclusive day resort with the Dolphin Swim Program can cost between $211.94 – $489.90 per person, tax included. Ticket prices go up as the day fills up. Try to buy your tickets well in advance for more savings.
What is the minimum age to swim with dolphins?
Children must be at least 6 years old to swim with dolphins
Do you need a wetsuit?
You do not need to bring a wetsuit. When you enter they will provide you with a wetsuit. If you are doing the dolphin swim, you must wear the wetsuit they provided.
Are towels included?
Yes, Discovery Cove provides a mask and snorkel, towels and beach chairs. When you leave you return the towel and snorkel set.
How much does parking cost at Discovery Cove?
Parking is free, your admission includes free parking.
What time should we arrive at Discovery Cove?
The day we went I felt like were going to be plenty early and we were not. When we pull in there was a large slow moving line. They give out time slots of certain activities when you check in, so I think you should be there no later than 7 AM. If you can get there by 6:45 AM it would be even better.
6000 Discovery Cove Way,
Tel : (407) 513-4600