Hi Thrill Seekers,
It was onto Day 3. The day I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl. We were off to Discovery Cove where one could swim with a Dolphin, snorkel with tropical fish, come face to face with sharks or just relax on a white sandy beach. I was soooo excited I could have burst.
Like the other parks I have already blogged about, Discovery Cove was just a few minutes from our hotel and extremely easy to get to. This was handy as we wanted to get their early to book our slot for the Dolphin swim.
Arriving at the park, a friendly member of staff gave us a card attached to a lanyard with our names and date of visit on them for us to pop round our necks whilst in the park, they usually also take a photo to put on your card but as we had a group of 20 this may have taken some time. For guests who are over the age of 21 and want to enjoy a few alcoholic drinks whilst at the park staff will also check your ID so that your card will also state that you are above the legal drinking age. This saves you having to carry your ID around the park with you.
Our first stop was breakfast. All food and drink are included throughout the day. In the main restaurant breakfast is served buffet style so you can just help yourself as many times as you like. There are also snack huts scattered around the park so you can grab something on the go if you get hungry.
Our Dolphin swim was at 10:30am so it was straight to get our wetsuits. They have different styles to choose from a full wetsuit, half wetsuit or a life jacket. I personally like a challenge so it was the full wetsuit for me, and yes it was definitely a challenge to get into.
We still had a bit of time before our Dolphin swims so we grabbed a snorkel, you will find these in blue and yellow drawstring bags at the same place you get your wetsuit from. The blue sets are adult sizes and the yellow children’s – as I’m petite and got a small head I went for a yellow set.
We headed to the Grand Reef which features multiple levels of exploration suitable for all ages, from paddling tranquil, shallow waters to deep diving adventures into a tropical sunken world bursting with sea life, including over 10,000 animals, representing 125 different species of fish, rays and sharks. My experience of the Grand Reef was pretty brief as I was petrified of the stingrays they were very large so there was no chance of missing them. I did have have a little paddle trying my hardest to dodge them, at one point I thought one was coming at me so I jumped on the back of one of people in our group in order to get my feet off the floor. I’m a little embarrassed of how scared I was of them as they are no threat to anyone, so dont be like me….”a scaredy cat” there is really nothing to be worried about.
So 10.30 arrived it was finally time to do our Dolphin swim. We met with one of the trainers first who showed us a short video full of information on Dolphins. Our lanyards had a number and letter on them which told us what group we would be in for the swim – our group was quite small with only 6 of us which was nice.
It was off to the waters to meet our Dolphin we had a young female Dolphin called Catalina she was only 7. Luckily for us she was in a good mood and ready to entertain. The trainer got her to do a few tricks before getting her to swim past us so we could reach out and touch her. To me she felt like a hard boiled egg.
We had the chance to get a few pictures with her, in groups and also on our own planting kisses on her nose. The photographer was fantastic and got the most beautiful photos of our experience. We were able to buy these at great prices and bring them home to show off to friends and family.
For the one to one swim with Catalina we was given the option to do it in shallow or deep water. Everyone in our group were ok swimmers so we all choose to do it in deep water.
For anyone doing the swim you encounter the same experience doing it in shallow water as you would deep water so if you are not a great swimmer and would rather do it in shallow water then don’t think you will be missing out in anyway as you won’t be. I am not a great swimmer myself but was still able to do it in the deep water, you only have to tread water for a minute (with another trainer next to you) before the Dolphin is with you.
So for the swim itself, I swam out to the deep water where one of the trainers was waiting -she gave a signal to the other trainer and I could see Catalina making her way to me, I was a little nervous as I’ve not had such a large animal swimming towards me before but it was fine as soon as she got to me she was already in position. The trainer told me to place one hand on her pectoral fin and the other on her dorsal fin and that was it she was off taking me back to shore. What an experience, I have never done anything so amazing in all my life and I will treasure that moment forever. I would highly recommend anyone going to Orlando to go to Discovery Cove and swim with a Dolphin, I cannot put into words how amazing it truly is.
After our swim it was just about lunch time so we went to the main eating area and enjoyed some yummy buffet food. There was so much left to do of the park and everyone wanted to do different things so we all split up. A few of us went onto Freshwater Oasis, Discovery Coves newest attraction. You can relax and explore in the very warm waters slowly swimming past Otters and Marmosets, I’ve heard the Marmosets are usually very playful but when we swam past they were pretty quiet, but they are extremely cute – so make sure you go grab a peek at them.
It was coming to the end of our day so it was a quick visit to the Explorer’s Aviary, where you can if you wish take a cup of bird food around with you given to you by a member of staff. Please be aware if you are carrying food around the birds will land on you – this is not something I was very keen on so I walked around with someone else who decided to take food and I must say it was very entertaining to watch when one of the birds landed on him and took a liking to his gold chain around his neck. I would say if it is something you would like to do then go earlier on in the day as I think the birds were stuffed when we arrived there.
So that wraps up my day in Discovery Cove and what a magical one it was.