The Complete Guide to Discovery Cove Swim with Dolphins

July 21, 2022

After a few days of hitting the Orlando theme parks, your aching feet might need a sweet reprieve. We have the perfect answer—a delightful dolphin swim in a tropical paradise. So if you believe life under the sea is better than anything up here, channel your inner Ariel, and let's explore Discovery Cove® dolphins!

A once-in-a-lifetime Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim Experience might be the perfect addition to your vacation! Families can swim with bottlenose dolphins, feed exotic birds, and play alongside otters and stingrays in an aquatic wonderland.

Imagine the sand between your toes as you gently sway in the sea breeze, passing by incredible stingrays through rocky dolphin lagoons. You can experience this and more at Discovery Cove!

Follow our guide to learn all you need to know about Discovery Cove dolphins.

About Discovery Cove Dolphin Swim

If you're planning a visit to Discovery Cove and hoping to catch a wave with the dolphins – you've come to the right place. Discovery Cove Orlando is a saltwater oasis and all-inclusive day resort. This interactive marine life park, located adjacent to the SeaWorld® and Aquatica® in Orlando, offers guest encounters with dolphins and other extraordinary sea life in a unique setting.

Pro Tip: Children two years of age are admitted to Discovery Cove free of charge with an adult reservation.

For over 20 years, the Discovery Cove Swim with Dolphins program has flourished since its opening in 2000. The aquatic resort now resides over 22 acres and offers five signature experiences.

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The Cove's Grand Reef contains more than 10,000 tropical fish, and the Freshwater Oasis now features otters and sea monkeys.

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

Discovery Cove's first female dolphin calf, Coral, was born in October 2000. Since then, there have been 29 dolphin births, one being 'Reef,' the female calf of Coral. Other Discovery Cove dolphin names include Lester, Dixie, and Capricorn, who recently turned fifty years old!

Fun Fact: In 2013, Discovery Cove veterinarians achieved the first ever shark emergency C-section. A team of doctors and experts performed the successful surgery, giving birth to four healthy shark pups.

Orlando Discovery Cove Swim Packages

Read on to choose the perfect water animal encounter. Whether you wish to feed extrinsic birds, snorkel with sharks, or wade with bottlenoses, we have the scoop. Of course, relaxing at the Cove's white sandy beaches is also highly acceptable, simply taking in the striking sea creatures from afar in their breathtaking reefs and habitats.

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As always, Tripster has the best online rates for your customized Discovery Cove Day Resort Pass. This fantastic offer allows guests to enjoy unlimited food and beverages, snorkeling gear, fresh towels, and other amenities!

Signature Dolphin Swim Package

In this incredible adventure, you and your group first meet in one of the Discovery Cove crystal clear swim areas. Next, your lesson begins with a Discovery Cove animal care specialist, where you'll learn about dolphins' habitats and behaviors and their astounding communication skills.

Finally, it's time for your Dolphin Interaction. During this individual experience, you'll uncover specific dolphin personalities and see how they build relationships with humans and other dolphins.

Give simple commands to your dolphin companion and watch them oblige with joy! Listen to your trainer and when it's your turn, glide through the cool waters while gently clinging to the dolphin's dorsal fin. Finally, enjoy getting your photo taken while your dolphin gives you a big smooch on the cheek! This experience will leave a lasting impression that you'll cherish forever.

Book your exploration here with the Discovery Cove Day Resort Plus Dolphin Swim.

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This all-inclusive day experience includes dolphin swimming, snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish and rays, and feeding rare birds and unlimited food and beverages. When you purchase through Tripster now, you'll save $70.63 off the price of admission.

Once you arrive, you'll receive a time for your interaction with the dolphins. After a brief orientation session, the in-water dolphin encounter lasts 30 minutes long.

Discovery Cove Experience Upgrades

Swim with Sharks

Only brave souls apply here for this exclusive event where guests swim amongst over 20 sharks in an intimate shark habitat. This training session with Discovery Cove's expert Aquarists allows guests to swim alongside blacktip reef, nurse, zebra, and bonnethead sharks. Snorkel and mask gear included.

Please Note: Children must be ten years or older to Swim with Sharks or participate in SeaVenture.

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

Trainer for a Day

For the Discovery Cove ultimate dolphin swim package, the exceptional VIP experience can't be missed. First, you'll have the chance to visit Explorer's Aviary alongside your Discovery Cove private guide. Next, enjoy a private photo shoot with you and two dolphins.

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This exclusive behind-the-scenes event includes special meet-and-greets with spectacular birds and small mammals. You'll also receive a private session at the otter habitat in Freshwater Oasis. So turn your all-inclusive day pass into a lifetime memory as you and your group of eight become one with the sea.

SeaVenture

This signature exploration is one of Discovery Cove's newest attractions. The Grand Reef innovative experience is an underwater walking tour where guests wear a dive helmet while exploring extraordinary sea creatures in a highly intimate setting.

During this excursion, adventure seekers admire schools of tropical fish, stingrays, lionfish, and sharks. (Though the sharks here are behind panoramic windows.) SCUBA certification is not required. As always, Tripster has the best deal for this SeaVenture Ad-On.

Check out our Insider's Guide to Discovery Cove to know more about this fascinating attraction. And then, if you want to score some real savings, we have the Ultimate Guide to Discovery Cove Discount Tickets.

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

Preserve these incredible moments and memories with a professional photography session. Add a photo package to your Cove journey with select packages.

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You can save 10 -15% with special offers when you purchase online in advance. For example, a single 6 x 8 photo currently runs around $35 each plus tax. Packages range anywhere from $99-$229 plus tax.

The Discovery Package, the most popular option, can be purchased for around $219.00. Advance purchases can be made by contacting the Cove's reservation center.

Discovery Cove Swimming with Dolphins Quick Tips

  • Guests of all ages are welcome to Discovery Cove; however, children must be at least six years old (accompanied by a paying adult) to wade with dolphins, feed the rays, or participate in the Animal Trek.
  • The in-water dolphin experience is 30 minutes long. This includes a short orientation session (10 minutes) led by Discovery Cove's expert dolphin trainers to discuss safety and offer an opportunity for questions.
  • Everyone that enters the water with the dolphins MUST wear a wetsuit over their swimsuit. Wetsuits are provided at no extra charge. Discovery Cove has all types of sizes, from very small to extra-large.
  • If you're participating in three or more add-on experiences during your visit, plan to arrive by 7:30 a.m. for check-in and proper scheduling of your day.

Most importantly! Listen to your dolphin trainer, and you'll have a splash-tastic safe time!

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 Vacation Packages

Whether you Swim with the Dolphins or simply enjoy the All-Inclusive Day Pass at Discovery Cove, you should know that you have options! Even for non-swimmers, Discovery Cove has plenty to offer. Not only can you relax on the white sandy beaches or one of the many hammocks, but the Aviary is full of glamorous, colorful birds to hand feed.

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Pro Tip: Discovery Cove provides complimentary masks, snorkel gear, animal-safe sunscreen, towels, beach chairs, and delicious fresh meals.

These choices include access to all the experiences and amenities included with Day Resort Packages—plus admission and free parking to SeaWorld and Aquatica during your vacation. Check out these fantastic savings when you book combination attractions through Tripster.

Day Resort Package + SeaWorld & Aquatica Orlando

Save $46.87 on this fantastic Discovery Cove vacation package that includes the All-Inclusive Day Experience at Discovery Cove and enjoy endless adventures at SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando.

Pro Tip: Florida residents should check the website for even greater perks like special packages and locals' discounts.

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

photo credit: Discovery Cove via Facebook

Discovery Cove Hotel Packages

After spending the day nestling with your favorite marine animal and relaxing down the Wind-Away River, you'll need a place to rest your weary bones. We have awesome Discovery Cove hotel packages with significant savings near the park for you to check out.

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Tripster has different hotel options to fit any budget or location with a wide range of amenities and styles.

Fun Fact: Discovery Cove is a designated Certified Autism Center specializing in services to guests with autism and other special needs.

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

Discovery Cove

Book your Orlando Discovery Cove Swim Package Now

Most importantly, we've given you the lay of the Cove and all the insider information you need to jump-start your dream vacation. So what are you waiting for? The dolphins are waiting for you.

Take the stress out of planning when you book through Tripster. We have significant online savings for not only your Ultimate Dolphin Swim Experience but also tickets to Walt Disney World® Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND® Orlando.

Tell us About Your Discovery Cove Experience.

How was the winding river? Did you swim with the Bottlenoses or sharks? Did you hand-feed exotic birds? Any tips or tricks we've missed, leave us a comment below!


close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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