Guests have the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove. There is much controversy surrounding the park because animal rights activists believe the animals are being exploited. Nonetheless, no other park offers a better opportunity for swimming with the dolphins. In addition, the park goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of these gentle and amazing creatures.
A full day spent at the 32 acre Discovery Cove can cost $229 - $259 per person, depending on the season. Included in this price are the opportunities to swim with the dolphins, play with rays and fish, and get close up views of barracudas and sharks safely located behind Plexiglass. The pristine white sandy beaches are perfectly complimented by the blue waters and colorful birds. Lunch, a wetsuit, towels, lockers, parking, a 5 x 7 photo of the group, bird and fish food, and snorkeling equipment are also included in the price. Guests also receive a complimentary admission to either Busch Gardens or SeaWorld for seven consecutive days. Choosing to skip the dolphin swim brings the price down to $129 - $159 per person.
Upon entering Discovery Cove, guests walk through a large thatch roof tiki building. They then register and receive a photo I.D., which is used to charge drinks at the park. Guests are given time to swim with the dolphins, which is done with a total of seven guests and a trainer. Together, participants wade into shallow water and learn about dolphin behavior and are provided with the opportunity to hug and kiss the magnificent animals. Guests then get to swim one on one with the dolphins in the deep-water lagoon.
The entire area is beautifully landscaped with underwater ruins and coral reefs. There is also a pool area that is used to teach snorkeling. This area has gorgeous waterfalls and white beaches surrounding it. Guests experience close encounters with a variety of animals, particularly birds, native to Tahiti, Bahamas, and Micronesia. Guests take a swim with thousands of exotic fish in the Coral Reef area and even have the opportunity to explore a shipwreck underwater. Guests can also float are swim along the Tropical River, which runs through most of Discovery Cove. It also contains many hidden grottos and sunken ruins.
All snacks, drinks, and lunch are included in the price. The meal is from Laguna Gril, which opens at 11:00 am. This counter service restaurant offers hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, chicken pasta, cobb salad, Caesar salad, and stir-fry. Although sodas and water are free, wine and beer are extra. Seating is located outside beneath large umbrellas. There is also a waiter service available to bring food and drink to guests at the beach.
Guests must be at least 6 years old to participate in the dolphin swim. With only 1,000 guests allowed in the park each day, it is truly a privilege to be a park guest. It is necessary to make reservations ahead of time and best to do so 6 months ahead of time. It is possible to make reservations as long as one year before the visit. It is also possible to check for cancellations on a preferred day to visit.
Reservations can be made by calling 877-434-7268 or by going online to www.discoverycove.com. A 25% deposit must be paid when booking reservations and the full payment is due 45 days before the day of visit. It is possible to receive a full refund if reservations are cancelled 30 days before the visit. A 50% refund is granted to cancellations made 15 to 29 days before the visit, a 25% refund is available for cancellations made 8 to 14 days before, and no refund is provided if reservations are cancelled with 7 or less days left before the day of visit.