Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Discovery Cove

For G's birthday I surprised him with tickets to Discovery Cove. His birthday is actually in July, and I gave him the tickets then but it was $400 cheaper to actually go in September, so being the price conscious (read: cheap) person I am, I bought tickets for September. G has always wanted to swim with the dolphins on every cruise destination that we've been to, and I always say no since I've done it before, so I decided this would be a good birthday present for him! We went this past Saturday. The park opens at 8am and the Dolphin Swim is a first come, get first appointment basis so we arrived a little before 9am. Side Note: I got us a hotel for the night since it's an all you can drink and eat place and figured we'd be too intoxicated to drive. The hotel said it was only half a mile away so we walked there and back (and it was more than just half a mile, but the walking was good for us).

G posing beside the entrance, true tourist style
Ok back to Discovery Cove. When we got there, there was a small line already formed, but while we waited we got to meet a little armadillo. It was actually cuter than the ones you see dead on the side of the road. (But still not actually cute)

meet our little friend
We then went and got signed in where they give you a lanyard with a badge with your picture on it. This also functions as your credit card if you wish to buy anything that isn't included. We signed G up for the 10:20 Dolphin Swim (I wasn't doing it, I decided to just be a spectator). We then proceeded in the park where they took our complimentary photo. G looks like a creepster in it so I'll refrain from posting it.

Since breakfast was included, we went straight to eat. Since I LOVE breakfast food I was very excited for the breakfast. The food quality was a step above a continental breakfast quality but a step below an Embassy Suites breakfast buffet (you know, where they make your omelets fresh). I was definitely disappointed. They did have a large selection, but nothing was really that good. After breakfast we went to the lockers (included in your park ticket) and put away our stuff. They require you to wear a wetsuit while in the water (either a farmer john suit or just a vest - also included), I elected for just the vest and G got the full suit. They also provide masks, snorkels, towels and sunscreen. It really is all-inclusive! We walked around to see what all was at the park and went in the water and saw some cute little marmosets. The park is pretty much set up with a fresh water area with the lazy river, the dolphin area, and the reef (salt water) area. All areas are surrounded by beach (sand, beach chairs, hammocks, etc). If you didn't know you were in the middle of the state, you'd definitely think you were on a Caribbean island. It's definitely a place to go and relax!

I didn't get a very good pic of the marmosets
After our swim to see the monkeys, it was time for G to meet for the dolphin swim.  He went to do the little "class" and I went and relaxed in the sun. Once his group came out to the water, I went down to take pics. Of course his group had to be the farthest away from where the spectators could see, and he was the farthest away within his group. Luckily I was able to still get some decent pics! I was also able to listen and see the group immediately in font of me so I was able to learn a little more about one of my favorite animals and get some great up close pics! G enjoyed his Dolphin swim, although he did say it would have been more fun with me there. Once EM gets older (maybe like 7 or so and would actually remember it, we'll come back and do it again, all together). Oh yes, they do take "professional" photos and videos that you can purchase for a small fee (read: price rape). We didn't buy any of their pics. I was also nice and took some pics for the girl in the group right in front of me on her camera. I got some awesome pics for her. If only G was in that group, his pics would have been so much better!


We had lunch after the dolphin swim, also not impressed. Once again they had a large selection, but nothing was really that good. They did have a snack bar with soft pretzels though and those were probably the best thing, food wise, at the park. However, at lunch time, they did start serving beer. so that was a plus and I started indulging right away. Unfortunately, they really didn't have one of G's types of beers he likes but he indulged in a few as well. They had mostly lights beers, wine, or 2 frozen drink choices. They had my favorite though, so I was happy. After lunch and a few beers, we went in the lazy river and lounged around. At one point, G went and took a nap in the shade and I went snorkeling in the reef area where they had all the fish, sting rays, etc. It was pretty cool, although I've seen all these before in the wild. They had sharks in one area, but we weren't allowed in there, but you could get up to the glass so it looked like you were swimming next to them. After I snorkeled, G was still sleeping so I went back to the lazy river and stopped in the Aviary. Normally, I am not a bird person. Some are pretty, but they don't really excite me. However, when I walked through the Aviary, I saw the guests were allowed to feed the birds and the birds actually would come and stand on your hand and eat from the little cups of food they provided (also free). I even got a bird to perch on my shoulder. In another area of the Aviary, there were different birds, some which were meat eaters, so the trainer asked if I was brave enough to feed them worms, and of course I was. I fed the birds live little worms, right out of my hand. The trainer also fed the birds tiny little mice, she didn't offer me to do that part, I probably would have said no anyways. Worms were enough for me! Surprisingly, I really enjoyed my time in the Aviary. 

just hanging with the sharks

some of the pretty fish
there were a ton of stingrays in there

feeding the birds
yep those would be real live worms in my hand

After that, I went and found G. We had a few more beers, sat and relaxed in this one area where they have chairs in the water and did a few more laps in the lazy river before the park closed. Overall it was a great day! I was worried G wouldn't really enjoy it since it's pretty much a beach and he's not a big beach person but since there was shade and beer (and the dolphin swim) he seemed to have a great time or m just aybe it was because he was with me and we had some good quality time together :)  We probably won't go back until EM and future baby # 2 (no I'm not pregnant) are older and would remember it, as it is still pretty expensive. With your Discovery Cove ticket, you do get 14 consecutive day admission to Sea World and Aquatica, so if you use that portion of the ticket, it definitely makes it worth it. Unfortunately, we probably won't get a chance to use them. 

We had a great time!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading your article! Appreciate the humor! Glad it was so much fun. Sounds like something I would enjoy😊, probably not Butchie!


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