Another awesome day at Discovery Cove

I went to Discovery Cove for the first time last September (and wrote about it). Yesterday, @Journey_On and I went back for my second visit (her 3rd overall). What an amazing time we had. We didn’t even do the Dolphin Swim this time, just went with the “day resort” package. But we still watched the Dolphin interactions, which was nearly as good as doing them ourselves. Plus we signed up for another SeaVenture tour while we were there. I posted these photos in Chat, but here’s a very short sampling of the fun we had:

This bird apparently found my head to be a better perch than my outstretched arm, which had the food in it. He completely took me by surprise, as he approached from behind. I didn’t know what was happening for a few seconds.

During SeaVenture, one of the guides took our photo with my GoPro. If you don’t know, SeaVenture is an underwater walking tour of the Grand Reef, where you can see (in addition to the thousands of fish and rays) lobsters, sharks, horseshoe crabs, and much more.

In the Fresh Water Oasis, we took a break from snorkeling to hang out under this waterfall. Probably one of the most unique “selfies” I have.

In the Grand Reef, I dove down into one of the “valleys” to get this picture of a giant Southern Ray from below, and timed it with @Journey_On swimming down to visit him.

If you’ve never been to Discovery Cove before, I seriously can’t recommend it enough. Yeah, it’s expensive, but it is 100% worth every penny.


What awesome pictures! Amazing! (The one with the bird on your head is priceless - I love the girl’s reaction behind you as well!)

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Wow, that looks so awesome. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

Amazing, @Mr_Itty! Love the selfie under the waterfall. Thanks for posting!

Any tips that you can offer for a fun day at Discovery Cove?

  • Get there ASAP. Checkins start at 7:15am - get there shortly before that time and be ready to check in. That way you have your pick of times to do the Dolphin Swim and/or SeaVenture
  • the Aviary opens at 9am. Be there right at 9am and you’ll have it largely to yourself. Both the birds and the photographers will be all yours
  • if you plan on buying the CD of pictures of your Dolphin Swim, all other pictures of the day are included, so stop for loads of pictures in the Aviary too
  • the Wind-away River is very deep in several places. Bring your snorkel gear with you - even though there’s nothing to see here (as opposed to the Grand Reef), it serves as peace of mind to know you can swim through the deep parts without needing to stop and stand up.
  • in the water ways, you are required to wear either a neoprene vest or a shorty wetsuit. If you want to dive below the surface in the Grand Reef, go with the vest - it will give you less additional buoyancy than the wetsuit, so you’ll be able to stay below the surface longer.
  • if you are susceptible to cold, ask a Team Member for a full wetsuit, one that goes to your ankles and wrists. They do have a limited number of them, but they keep them in a warehouse in the back, so be polite and be patient.
  • bring your underwater camera with you, and know how to use it before you go. This is especially true if you do the SeaVenture tour. You can take as many pics as you want, but if you’re fumbling for a setting, you may miss the moment.
  • come hungry. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks are all included in your admission. It’s all all-you-can-eat.
  • In the Grand Reef, if you see a pair of TMs coming into one of the shallow areas, one of them holding a canister, head over to them - a Ray feeding is about to begin, and it’s pretty fantastic to watch. It only happens twice a day while guests are there, so be ready for it.
  • bring sandals or water shoes. Many of the paths you have to go through require you to walk on top of the hot sand, no other way to get where you’re going.
  • Sandals/Shoes, bathing suit, camera, mask/snorkel. That’s it. No need to bring ANYTHING else. Everything else - towels, sunscreen, shampoo, soap, food, plastic bags for your wet suits, lockers, etc - is all provided for you. Mask/Snorkel is provided too, but you are welcome to bring your own.
  • if you have an annual pass to SeaWorld, bring it with you - your merchandise discount applies in Discovery Cove’s gift shop as well.
  • if some members of your party are not doing the dolphin encounter, ask the trainer if they can still be in the group photo that you have taken with the dolphin at the end of the encounter. We hadn’t realized that was possible, but we saw two different groups call non-participating members over before their party’s photo was taken, and they got into the water with them. Great memento of the experience.

I hope those tips help. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions!


Those are awesome tips. Thank you so much. We are looking to go in mid September and can’t wait.