Discovery Cove is not the typical park that you can go to the entrance and buy your ticket. They generally admit about 1,300 people a day to the park, so it’s important to make a reservation in advance. When the day of your visit arrives, the only thing you have to bring is your identification (especially those over 18 years old) and the reservation number. And be prepared as they will take a photo of you for your identification while you are in the park. Of course, do not lose that identification since it will serve you much later;) -We will explain later-
The park opens at 9am, but check-in and breakfast starts at 7am. So if you want to take your time to park (parking is free), have breakfast calmly and perhaps walk through the park before enjoying it, plan your arrival well, since breakfast usually lasts until 10am (at least the day we visit ).
The price of the ticket can vary, so it is important to make a reservation (buy online). Your ticket includes the following:
- An identification with your name, if you bought any extra activity such as dolphin encounter, if you are over 21 years old (age allowed to drink alcohol), the date of your entry and your photo.
- With that identification (ID) you can access SeaWorld and Aquatica in the next 14 days. On the same day of your visit you can park for free in those parks. (In the same way, check the rules on the day of your visit). During those 14 days you can visit SeaWorld and Aquatica as many times as you want, only showing that ID when entering, but the other days you must pay for parking. We recommend you check the schedules since we arrived at Discovery Cove at 9:30 a.m., we had time to enjoy EVERYTHING in the park, as at 4:00 p.m. we decided to go out to go to SeaWorld that closed that day at 7:00 p.m. and gave us to go up on all roller coasters 3 times. Of course, many of the shows were no longer operating. (for an extra per person you can add Busch Gardens Tampa which also includes free parking)
- Breakfast, lunch and ‘snacks’. Both very complete meals and you have to choose from. Drinks such as coffee, sodas / soft drinks, juices, water and in the afternoon wines and beers. The ‘snacks’ (snacks) can be some slushies (without alcohol and others with alcohol), cookies and pretzels.
- Rental of ‘diving suit’ or wetsuit and masks for snorkeling. You can bring your own snorkeling mask, but you cannot bring any other equipment.
- Lockers to store everything you don’t need (for example, if you do the dolphin experience, you have to leave earrings, necklaces, bracelets (including Disney ones), cameras (you can’t take your camera for the experience). We were only walking around The whole area with the gopro (except with the dolphin) and now, we didn’t need anything else. We even walked barefoot 🙂 (you can take the special water shoes)
- Sunscreen. Important, since you will be swimming with other animals and dolphins, the sunscreen that they have there is special so that it does not contaminate the water or them.
- Bathrooms include showers with shampoo, conditioner, and soap. I saw in some places that there was also a hair dryer, I’m not 100% sure about this.
- Chairs on the sand, umbrellas … so you don’t have to worry about anything else. You can obviously wear your hat or caps.
In the park you can enjoy various activities. Many you have to book in advance such as the dolphin encounter.
We first took a walk around the park to know and find out where everything was.
The ‘Grand Reef’ is amazing! you can see sharks (they don’t swim with you, but you can see them very close), stingrays, lots of fish and corals.
You can also enjoy the ‘aviary’ where you can feed different beautiful birds.
There is a very large space to relax in the water or if you want to start a walk in a kind of ‘river’ that carries a very gentle current. There are shallow areas for everyone, but also others that are shallow. Throughout the park you can also take a life jacket if you do not feel safe swimming and / or floats. This ‘river’ takes you inside the aviary where you can also stop to rest and even feed the birds 🙂
Ok … first of all I am one of the people who does not like to visit SeaWorld because of animals in captivity (that’s the reason why you haven’t seen anything about it on my TodoSobreDisney.com blog), Discovery Cove seems a bit different to me (although I still see the space of dolphins and sharks very small for them) … but something that they explain to you there, the dolphins there: 1) they are rescued, they suffered for “x” cause in the sea 2) they live there for longer than in the sea since in the ocean they are no longer so safe. We ourselves have polluted the water that is not clean for them, here they receive special treatments that last up to 20 years longer than at sea.
Now … If you decide to do the dolphin encounter, when you check-in they will explain where to go and what to do. It lasts about 30min, at the beginning they explain a little about the experience. I recommend that if there is someone in the group who does not want to participate, that person take photos of them and record them if they want, since then the prices for the photos / videos that they take there can be $ 100 or more, yes, respecting the rules as far as that person can go. Children must be at least 6 years old for this experience.
You can also sit and relax on the sand to see the dolphins.
There is also an experience that is ‘walking’ underwater to better know life under the sea. You do not need to have a diver’s certificate and 5% of the price is donated to the “Rising Tide Conservation” program that protects corals and marine life.
We really loved the whole experience. For the price (between $ 100 – $ 250 -varies depending on the season) with everything that includes you we think it’s great (for example: only SeaWorld can be about $ 80 per person plus $ 20 for parking). I think it is an experience that we would repeat without thinking.
This post is from Todo Sobre Disney
Photos by Yoss Castillo