When Discovery Cove reached out and invited us to spend a day exploring their park, I truly had no idea what to expect. I had heard such amazing things but for whatever reason, we never booked a visit. Wow, were we missing out. Discovery Cove is a hidden tropical resort right in the heart of Orlando. It is a unique, all-inclusive day resort where you can experience hands-on animal encounters like swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with stingrays and hand feeding hundreds of tropical birds. Your day pass includes everything you need while you are on-site like towels, wetsuits, snorkeling gear, life jackets, floats, sunscreen and unlimited food and drinks. I can’t express to you how amazing our day was. It was one of the most fantastic days we’ve had as a family and we can not wait to go back again soon!
As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with hot coffee and our special guide for the day, Emdhy. Emdhy was fantastic. He gave us a brief tour of the park and told us a bit about each of the animals and attractions. There were tons of helpful staff members everywhere available to answer questions and help guide you in the right direction. On our way into the park, we were even introduced to Trace, the adorable armadillo.
On our way to our private cabana, we were lucky enough to walk right through a beautiful flock of pink flamingos. The cabanas are an upgrade, but I highly recommend one if you are traveling with kiddos. It was the perfect private area to relax and recharge throughout our day. It included a refrigerator full of drinks, a box full of snacks and a hammock our kids loved. Our cabana was overlooking the Dolphin Lagoon, so it was an extra special treat!
After exploring the park and getting settled in our cabana, we immediately took advantage of the included breakfast and fueled up for the day on french toast sticks, yogurt parfaits and coconut muffins. Emdhy then took us to the Explorer’s Aviary. This might have been my son’s favorite experience, as the birds ate right out of our hands! We saw so many beautiful birds and loved learning about the different species and their habitats.
Even though the kids could have spent the whole day in the Aviary, we knew we had so much more to explore, so we then made our way to the Wind-Away River. We quickly grabbed one of the provided floats and started our journey through the rainforest. We floated past sandy beaches, through caves and under waterfalls. I was so impressed with how beautiful the grounds were and how it felt like we had been swept away to a tropical destination.
After a few laps around the river, Emdhy let us know it was time for the main event – time to swim with the dolphins! We were all SO excited. This 30-minute signature dolphin swim experience is available to anyone 6 and up, and it was such a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience. The encounter began with an animal care specialist teaching us all we needed to know about dolphin habits, behaviors and how they train and communicate. We then headed over to the Dolphin Lagoon where we had a blast meeting Ipanema. Ipanema was the sweetest. She gave kisses, showed off her tricks and even pulled us up and down the lagoon on her fins. I am not sure who enjoyed this more, Peter and I, or the kids. It was such a magical experience!
After swimming with the dolphins, we took a quick break in our cabana and enjoyed a couple of tropical cocktails. We were all starting to get hungry so we headed over to Laguna Grill to grab some lunch. We loved all of the different lunch options and snacks. I highly recommend the jerk chicken and the kids loved the chicken fingers. It was so nice that food and drinks were included and available all day. It truly felt like you were at a resort and once you arrived, you didn’t have to worry about a thing. The kids loved the serve-yourself icee machines and they were a great way to cool off throughout the day!
After lunch, we knew we had to head straight to the Grand Reef. Emdhy told us about the thousands of tropical fish and stingrays we could see and it did not disappoint! The fish were absolutely beautiful and the rays were huge! I thought the kids would be scared being surrounded by so many unfamiliar creatures, but they were in heaven. You could hear their squeals of excitement through their snorkels as they pointed out all of their favorites. I also want to note that during this crazy time of COVID, it is so nice that Discovery Cove provides you with your own brand new snorkel that has never been used, and that you can take home as a souvenir.
We were so impressed with all of the activities and amenities at Discovery Cove. Not only were there tons of things to do and see, but the resort is so beautiful, that we would have been completely content relaxing on one of the sandy beaches all day long. The kids had so much fun seeing all of the animals and enjoying the unlimited snacks. We loved the delicious cocktails and the comfortable hammocks and lounges. The bathrooms were spotless, the employees were fantastic and the experience was unbeatable. If you are a Florida Resident, make sure to sign up for their newsletter, as they run specials often. I highly recommend you add a day at Discovery Cove during your next trip to Florida. If you have any questions, please comment below!
Thanks again to Discovery Cove for gifting us this experience. It is a day we will never forget!