Insider's Guide to Discovery Cove

March 18, 2022

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 discover all that Discovery Cove has to offer.

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

Discovery Cove

Tickets that Inspire Envy

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?

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! You can also hand-feed exotic birds and enjoy glittering sandy beaches. 

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

Want to combine your tickets with other attractions? We highly recommend the following vacation packages:

These packages bring you the best across all the SeaWorld parks and absolutely everything at Discovery Cove.

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.

Experiences at Discovery Cove

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.

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.

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However, the deepest point of the reef is 12 feet so let your fear of the unknown rest easy.

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 animals 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.

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 pictures 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.

Related Post: 14 of the Best Things to Do in Orlando with Kids Besides Disney

Meanwhile, let your heart soar and sights soar with your magnificent feathered friends.

Pro Tip: This is your one chance at feeding exotic birds! Carry some fruits and nuts with you so they can nibble from your palms.

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! 

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

Wind-Away River

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

Grab a foam noodle and stride into the 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 river. Finally, take all the time you need when crossing the aviary to complete your tropical forest excursion.

Related Post: 12 of the Best Things to Do in Orlando with Teenagers

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.

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. 

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

Want to contribute to the protection of coral reefs? Combine a multi-colored reef, tropical fish, and rays, and donate 5% proceeds to Rising Tide Conservation for a stunning result. 

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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.

Pro Tip: Each Seaventure trip is limited to 9 people.

Flamingo Mingle

Discovery Cove brings your dreams to life through the Flamingo Mingle experience, where you can hand-feed these perfectly pink creatures!

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.

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

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:

  • Snorkeling 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.

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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.  

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World®: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

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 and Disney World at a short 5 -7 mile distance for a thoroughly enthralling visit!

Magic rides the breeze of Florida and beckons you to these awe-inspiring spaces to make lifelong memories. Are you ready to unleash the explorer in you?

Have You Been to Discovery Cove? 

Let us know in the comments below!


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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 ...

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  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.

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