Tips for Discovery Cove - 2023 Insider's Guide

February 6, 2023

Welcome to your Marine Fantasyland! Dolphins, Otters, Marmosets, Cownose Rays, and even reef Sharks await you in Orlando!

Discovery Cove has revolutionized the experience of interacting with those under the sea. This one-of-a-kind resort-like theme park brings you a variety of matchless experiences. Swim with the sharks, be a Dolphin trainer, or tumble with Otters. Then lounge in a hammock surrounded by tranquil waters and tropical fauna with a fruity drink, complete with an umbrella in hand.

Sporting endless summer, Florida is a hotbed for water-based parks. Discovery Cove, however, is a multi-faceted gem in the crown that is Seaworld Orlando.

Follow along as we highlight all that Discovery Cove has to offer and share with you the best tips for Discovery Cove!

aerial view of Discovery Cove pool with palm trees in Orlando, Florida, USA

Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove Tickets

Discovery Cove, Aquatica Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando come together to form an oasis of aquatic conservation and endless fun in the sun. The parks may seem separate, but their ticket options are amazingly intertwined.

Short on time? Only have a day at Discovery Cove? One of our best Discovery Cove tips will make you scream, "let's go!" in a jiffy!

The all-inclusive Discovery Day Resort ticket is perfect for you! Your inclusive day gives you access to star attractions like The Grand Reef, Explorer s Aviary, Freshwater Oasis, and priceless conveniences!

Related Post: Insider's Guide to SeaWorld Orlando

Want a day filled with memories? Try the Discovery Cove Day Resort Plus Dolphin Swim to go nose-to-nose with bottlenose dolphins and tropical fish at the dolphin lagoon! You can also hand-feed exotic birds and enjoy glittering sandy beaches. 

Pro-Tip: Both day tickets come with unlimited Discovery Cove food and beverage options.

Want to combine your tickets with other attractions? We highly recommend the following vacation packages, whether you want to visit Aquatica and Busch Gardens or SeaWorld and Busch Gardens:

These packages bring you the best across all the SeaWorld parks and absolutely everything at Discovery Cove. How about that for one of the best Discovery Cove tips and tricks?

A bright pink flamingo close to the camera looking at it with several other flamingo behind him and a family in black wet suits standing in the water at the Flamingo Mingle experience on a sunny day at Discovery Cover in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cover via Facebook

Discovery Cove Resort Stay

Simplify your vacation planning by using the Discovery Cove Hotel Package. Select from over 30 hotels of all budgets, amenities, and styles to design an impeccable sojourn. Don't forget to take advantage of the Laguna Grill breakfast menu during your stay!

Experiences at Discovery Cove Orlando FL

Have you been Googling, "Is Discovery Cove worth it?" Follow along as we share some of the best experiences that await at Discover Cove Orlando FL and be the judge! In addition, check out recent Discovery Cove reviews on Tripster.

The Grand Reef

Always wanted to swim amongst colorful corals? Then traverse the reef's idyllic paths and bridges and explore hidden islands and grottos.

Related Post: 13 Totally Free Things to Do in Orlando for Adults

The Grand Reef comes with a chance to swim with thousands of tropical fish. Swim alongside sharks, angelfish, rays, and more. Designed for your comfort, the reef allows you to stick close to the shore or adventure deeper into the water. The deepest point in the reef is 12 ft. 

Two divers surrounded by rocks and fish in The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Freshwater Oasis Experience

To start, head into the rainforest with this extraordinary experience. Then answer the siren call of this sparkling green and blue oasis. 

The shimmering waters of the lake harbor playful Otters that tumble and toss to show you their home. Bring your mask and snorkel to submerge yourself under the water to join in on the fun and marvel at the beautiful aquatic life.

As you emerge from the water with the perfect hair flip, turn your eyes upwards to spot the spectacular marmosets. Fluffy primates with puffy white cheeks, these beautiful creatures are arboreal, which means they spend all their time on treetops. This haven of friendly animal encounters will have you marveling at nature's bounty.

Pro Tip: Time your trip to the Freshwater Oasis so that you can cover both the Otter and marmoset enrichment sessions. Download the Park App to see the schedule. 

Two otters sitting on a mossy rock in the water looking up at the camera at Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Explorer's Aviary

An Orinthophile's fantasy, the Explorer's Aviary exceeds paradise in its beauty.

Photo Alert! This is the perfect place to take Discovery Cove photos with macaws, parakeets, and many other birds sitting on your arm.

Enter the enclosure to be surrounded by tropical birds and their multi-colored wings. Wings flap like heartbeats in this free flight sanctuary, and stunning birds swoop down to greet you.

Serenity Bay

Your senses will be dazzled in this natural oasis. First, swim in the crystal clear 85-degree warm water. Next, make sandcastles with the soft, shimmering sands of the tropical beach lined with palm trees. 

Finally, soak up the sun and let it toast all your worries away! If you want, rent a cabana Discovery Cove for a restful day under the shade. Private cabanas are available upon request.

Photo Alert! Your morning visit to Serenity Bay may be graced by stunning flamingoes on their hop over from The Grand Reef. 

Pina Colada drink on top of rock with waterfalls in background at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Discovery Cove Lazy River

Are you looking to slow down and go with the flow?

Grab a foam noodle and stride into the wind away river at Discovery Cove. Travel lazily past golden beaches and lush green rainforests. Pass from under a turbulent, cascading waterfall and explore the mysteries of an underwater cave.

Meanwhile, take in the soothing sights as you float past various attractions on the tropical lazy river. Finally, take all the time you need when crossing the aviary to complete your tropical forest excursion.

Wide shot of people swimming in the blue water of Wind-Away River on a Sunday at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Ticket Enhancements at Discovery Cove

Visiting the various spaces and enclosures may ignite a strong desire to connect with the aquatic life further. These unique attractions offer just that! Read on to discover the upgraded experiences to enhance your trip further.

Discovery Cove Swim with Dolphins

These gentle creatures are beautiful, graceful, and friendly.

A Bottlenose Dolphin will await you at an appointed time with the instructor. But, first, you will spend some time learning about their habitat, behaviors, and communication abilities and build a relationship with your dolphin friend.

For an in-depth look, check out our complete guide to the Swim with Dolphins experience.

Then, let all your cares float away as you spend 30-minute swimming and interacting with these intelligent and playful creatures.

Family in black wet suits with a dolphin in front of them in the water at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Trainer for a Day* 

Want even more than learning about and swimming with dolphins? 

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to SeaWorld Orlando: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Discovery Cove elevates your trip into a whole new realm with this option. As a result, you will find yourself enjoying:

  • Enhanced interaction with a private photo session with two dolphins
  • A private behind-the-scenes experience at Discovery Cove
  • An extraordinary meet and greet with tropical birds and animals
  • A guided tour of the Explorer's Aviary with your dolphin trainer
  • A special tropical fish feeding experience with a Discovery Cove Aquarist at The Grand Reef
  • A private session within the Otter habitat at Freshwater Oasis

It feels too good to be true!

*Trainer for a Day must be purchased in addition to the Swimming with Dolphins experience.

Swim with Sharks

Fearsome predators or friendly, amiable creatures? Find out for yourself with this one-of-a-kind escapade.

Get up close and personal with over 20 sharks and edify yourself on the blacktip reef, nurse, zebra, and bonnethead sharks. Learn about their lives, care, and conservation at Discovery Cove Shark Swim experience. 

Fun Fact: 5% of this program's proceeds are donated to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which directs all efforts towards marine life conservation.

Two divers looking into the water at a shark swimming over some rocks a the Swim with Sharks experience at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook


Seaventure takes you into these beautiful depths on an underwater walking tour. Similar to the other enhanced experiences, this 45-minute excursion begins with a brief orientation session, after which you don your dive helmet and step into the water.

Begin by following your instructor through the breathtaking reef. Behold schools of fish and velvety rays and revel in the feeling of belonging to the sea.

Finally, you will end your underwater walk in a feeding area for the fish with the reef in your background.

three people underwater holding pufferfish at Grand Reef Sea Venture in Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, USA

Flamingo Mingle

Discovery Cove brings your dreams to life through the Flamingo Mingle experience, where you can hand-feed these perfectly pink creatures! Plus, this experience is available during the entire Discovery Cove hours.

Caribbean flamingoes tower over you as they grab breakfast from your hands. Meanwhile, photographers and Experts will be around to document your escapade and answer all your questions.

What to Wear to Discovery Cove

A number of your immersive activities at Discovery Cove do require special attire. However, Discovery Cove will provide most of it.

At a glance, here is the equipment Discovery Cove will provide with your tickets:

  • Snorkel gear with prescription goggles upon request
  • Wetsuits and vests
  • Fresh towels

You should wear simple, easy to dry, and light clothes for your comfort. Likewise, leave your jewelry at home to save yourself the heartache of losing anything.

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events in Orlando

Make sure you bring along:

  • Photo ID
  • Complete waivers where applicable to your experience
  • A credit card for souvenir and picture purchases
  • Swim diapers for the little ones

Pro Tip: Discovery Cove provides lockers for items you cannot leave behind.  

Orlando, Florida, is a treasure trove of tremendous expanses of enjoyment! You can easily spend two weeks hopping between the various theme parks and attractions.

Grab a complete SeaWorld Parks and Resorts package to relish SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica. Then hop over to Universal Studios (also called Universal Orlando) and Disney World at a short 5 -7 mile distance for a thoroughly enthralling visit!

Are you ready to unleash the explorer in you?

Have You Been to Discovery Cove? 

Tell us more about your visit to Discovery Cove! Let us know in the comments below!

Written By Sarina

Sarina Byron is a California-based writer whose work has been featured in leading publications such as  Authors Publish, Introvert, Dear, Thrive Global, Boo ...

Want to write for Tripster?

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    We had an amazing visit. The park is immaculate and the staff are friendly and helpful. You will not want for anything, they have thought of it all! Food, drinks, snacks, photographers, lockers, towels, wet suits and snorkeling gear! A must experience add on is the dolphin swim❤️

    • Teresa says:

      Mary, we are thrilled that you thoroughly enjoyed your visit! Discovery Cove is truly a dream destination in Orlando.

  2. Linda Jones says:

    We had an amazing day at Discovery Cove however, i was surprised to find there are no books, cards of the Dolphin you swam with, it would have been lovely to purchase one. I was also disappointed that as a very weak and nervous swimmer i could not go to the Aviary without going into 8 feet of water. There should have been another option to get there.

Have something to add? Post it here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>