Celebrating NINE Years of Wedded Bliss at Discovery Cove

Okay, so, our anniversary was technically on Wednesday, August 5th.  Since I’m such a great preplanner I was not able to secure tickets to Discovery Cove on the weekend after our anniversary like we wanted.  Oh, well.  It didn’t really matter what weekend it was so long as we got away together for a little while, right?

What an amazing place Discovery Cove is, let me tell you!!!  I really don’t even know where to begin… Oh, wait.  Yes, I do!  Let’s start with how happy we were to be kid-free!  Look at us.  Grinning like idiots.

Discovery Cove, along with SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and several other fun tourist destinations, is an Anheuser-Busch theme park .  The main reason people flock to Discovery Cove in particular is for the dolphin interaction.  You get to swim with dolphins!  Not just swim with but pet, feed, kiss, and ride with them too.  It is an amazing experience!

Each dolphin interaction is about half an hour long.  We were grouped with 6 other people and two trainers.  The whole process was extremely well managed.   Nothing was rushed, we did not have to wait in any lines, we knew what was expected of us as well as what to expect from the experience.  Our group was small enough that we could easily hear what the trainers were saying, we each got plenty of one-on-one time with our dolphin, Kaylee, we could ask as many questions as we wanted, information was freely given, and the entire experience felt personal.

Despite having almost 1,000 people at the park, it never felt crowded.  There was plenty of room to spread out.  In fact, there were many times where J and I would be the only ones on a foot path.  It felt like we were alone in a secluded jungle somewhere.  It was wonderful and the lush landscape was amazing!

After we swam with Kaylee we wandered over to see the stingrays.  There is a small lagoon set up near the coral reef that contains 35 stingrays.  Once you wade into the waist-deep water you are immediately greeted by the gliding rays.  They come right up to you.  You simply reach down and pet them.  More than once I was grazed by stingray fins.  They are very social creatures.

Toward the end of the day, we went back to the stingray pool and were surprised to find that it was feeding time.  One of the trainers brought out a bucket of frozen shrimp and let us feed them!  Their mouths felt like little vacuum cleaners.  Luckily neither of us got bit.  They have teeth.  Who knew?

We spent a lot of time in the lazy river that circles the park.  I’ve never been in such an awesome lazy river.  The one at Discovery Cove was made to look very natural from the river rock and sand bottom to the abundance of tropical plants.  Part of it even flowed through an aviary.  Bird were swirling around us and stopping to take a drink from the water as we floated past.

The coral reef was pretty spectacular too but a tad chilly for my thin Floridian blood.  The park is all-inclusive so our snorkeling gear was provided when we arrived.  We were able to dive down and check out all sorts of ledges and structures.

The fish were beautiful and the stingrays were ENORMOUS!

When I said all-inclusive I meant all-inclusive.  They provided breakfast, lunch, drinks (beer, sodas and water), snacks, a photograph of your party, sunscreen, towels, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, snorkeling gear, even food for us to feed the animals.  The price you for Discovery Cove tickets is pretty steep even with the Florida resident discount but I think what you get for the money is SO worth it.

Time slowed down while we were there.  We never felt rushed or compelled to squeeze in all the excitement that we could like other theme parks we have been to.  To be honest, there’s not all that much to do there.  There’s the dolphin swim, the lazy river, snorkeling in the coral reef, the aviary, the stingray pool and laying out on the beach.  That’s it and it’s wonderful!  It is a family-friendly park but it seems more geared toward adults.  There are no rides, balloons, fireworks or people in character costumes.  It’s very low key and serene.  It was just what we needed.

The weather got a little funky in the afternoon.  The wind came up and the dark clouds rolled in but it never poured like we thought it would.  A little sprinkle was all we got.  It wasn’t enough to even get the sand very wet.

I camped out under our big, blue umbrella for a few minutes while the brief shower came and went.

I highly recommend Discovery Cove to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure in Orlando.  It’s the most relaxing day I’ve had in a long time.  And, no, no one from Anheuser-Busch (or any place for that matter) is paying me to write such a great review.  It’s my honest assestment of our first visit 🙂