Posted in Florida 2016

23rd December 2016 (Day 6)-Discovery Cove

Off to Discovery Cove today and big day for Rosemary as she is going to get to swim with a dolphin.  May be an understatement that she was quite excited by this.

We got there nice and early, well before the pools had opened up, so we could complete our check-in and have some breakfast, and then we would have an absolutely complete day for all the activities.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove

While at checking we met a very nice sloth.

Sloth
Sloth

We were allocated a mid-morning swim with the dolphins which was just perfect, and then went and got some breakfast.  Nice buffet selection and didn’t skimp on the portion sizes.

Breakfast
Breakfast

By this time the swim areas were opening open and we got some wetsuits and went to the river to do a little snorkeling.

River
River
River
River
Swimming
Swimming
Snorkling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling

We stopped for a quick drink and then went for out dolphin swim.  Although this was not Rosemary’s first time at Discovery Cove it was her first time in the water with the dolphins, as you have to be over 6 to do that.  It was an amazing experience with feeding the dolphin, petting them and also being pulled along by them in the water.  We spent time with Thelma and Lunar.  We obviously bought the photos which the professional photographers took as it was the only way to get them, plus we then got pictures of us all together.

Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter

After our encounter we went for some lunch (everything is included in the day including all your food, snacks and drinks).  Sitting outside having just swam with dolphins 2 days before Christmas was a bit surreal, as it was freezing cold at home.

Lunchtime
Lunchtime

After lunch we visited the Grand Reef.

Grand Reef
Grand Reef

The river is maintained a really warm temperature but since there are the fish swimming in the reef the temperature is much lower, and it’s quite a shock when you first get into it. We snorkeled around for a while looking at the fish and following the rays around.

Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef

We also spent some time looking into the shark area, which is all behind glass but you sort of forget it’s there which makes the experience that much better.

Watching the Sharks
Watching the Sharks
Shark Zone
Shark Zone
Shark Zone
Shark Zone

But it was still quite chill being in there and Rosemary was getting quite cold after a while.

Julia decided to go and get showered and I went with Rosemary for a few final goes round the river area. Virtually had to drag her out of the water.

Last Swim
Last Swim
Last Swim
Last Swim

And unfortunately that was the end to our day at Discovery Cove.  An awesome day.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove
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Posted in Florida 2013

6th December 2013 (Day 5): Discovery Cove

Our treat thiDiscovery Coves trip (again) was a visit to Discovery Cove.  This is a limited entry park (think it’s 1000 people per day) which is run by Seaworld and is just across the road from the main park.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove

We had some breakfast once we had checked in and then got into our wetsuits to swim.

Wetsuits
Wetsuits

Rosemary loved playing with her mask and snorkel, although we didn’t think she was really old enough to use the snorkel in the water itself.

Ready to Dive
Ready to Dive

The lazy river was a lot of fun and it had changed a lot since our last visit with the addition of otters and marmosets.  Couldn’t get any pictures of the marmosets on my waterproof video but the otters were fun and you could swim up to the front of their enclosure.

Video Link to the Otters

The water in the main reef felt particularly cold (well it was December) and we only spent a short while there.  You can see Rosemary shivering in the video.

Video Link to the Main Reef

We got a really cool buggy again with giant wheels, so Rosemary had a chill out in that and warmed up again.

Beachbuggy
Beachbuggy
Posted in Florida 2012

16th March 2012 (Day 5): Discovery Cove

Discovery CoveOur next trip out was a real treat and was to Discovery Cove which is pretty much a day resort part of Seaworld where everything is inclusive and there are lots of places to swim and chill out.  We went a few years ago for my birthday and wanted to take Rosemary back.  It’s actually pretty good value as the entry cost includes all your food and drink for the day and free entry to Seaworld as well.  We paid an extra few dollars (I think it was $40) to get Busch Gardens and Aquatica as well.  I noticed recently that Aquatica is now part of the entry anyway so it’s even better value now.

The park has 4 main areas (at the time anyway, there is the Freshwater Oasis that has since opened) which are the Serenity Bay/Wind Away River which is a lazy river you can swim round and is freshwater, the Dolphin Lagoon where you do the dolphin swims, the Explorers Aviary and the Grand Reef which is a big saltwater area where there are fish and rays.

At check-in we got lent the coolest buggy ever which had giant beachbuggy wheels. This was taken at the end of the day though, which is why Rosemary is fast asleep.

Beach Buggy, Buggy
Beach Buggy, Buggy

We had breakfast to start off the day.

Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time

After a spot of breakfast we got our wetsuits on and headed for the lazy river.

Dressed for Swimming
Dressed for Swimming

Rosemary looked particularly fab in her all in one.

Junior Beachbum
Junior Beachbum
In her wetsuit
In her wetsuit

We grabbed Rosemary a lifejacket, although it was really a little big for her and a float for us to hold onto with her.

Lazy River
Lazy River

Definitely going for an all in one next time as you can see this was too baggy and kept riding up.  Wore a T-Shirt specifically because I got rubbed on my shoulders last time but it didn’t help.

Lazy River
Lazy River

The river does a full circuit of that part of the park and there are two waterfalls where you enter and leave the aviary.  These weren’t too popular unfortunately as they were pretty fierce and when you’re little they pummel you quite a lot.

Swimming
Swimming
Swimming
Swimming

We stopped at one point and someone was kind enough to take a photo of the 3 of us together.

In the Cave
In the Cave

Here is a good shot of the Serenity Bay area and the lovely white sand.

Serenity Bay
Serenity Bay

And the waterfall and caves which are the start of the Wind Away River.

Waterfall
Waterfall

After a lap of the river and some more paddling about we got some lunch.  Food was first rate and we were pretty stuffed having gone back for deserts (all included in the entry price).

I decided to head off to the Grand Reef, which as it was seawater and pretty cold we decided not to take Rosemary into and she had a chill out by the beach.  I had an underwater enclosure for my FLIP video camera and shot some footage while swimming and these are mainly snapshots extracted from that.

Fishies
Fishies
Fishies and a bit of a Ray
Fishies and a bit of a Ray
Fishies
Fishies

Some of the rays like these Cow Nose Rays were quite small (about 2ft?).

Rays
Rays
Ray
Ray
Cow Nose Ray
Cow Nose Ray

Some like this Spotted Eagle Ray were pretty huge.  I would say the wingspan was a good 6ft and this one came right past we, swam around behind and headed off again.  Real close encounter and my videoing was pretty rubbish as I was trying to stay out of his way.

Big Ray
Big Ray
Spotted Eagle Ray
Spotted Eagle Ray

After showering off the salt water I grabbed a couple of ice creams from one of the food spots and headed back to see how everyone was doing.  Bringing ice cream back made me quite popular.

Ice Cream
Ice Cream

Rosemary also decided that she was going to go for snorkle.

Snorkling
Snorkling
Playing the Sand
Playing the Sand
Playing in the sand
Playing in the sand

After one more swim around the main open water space in the Serenity Bay area the afternoon was pretty much gone, so we got showered up and changed and walked over the aviary so I could take a few photos of the birds there.  Julia decided to sit at the bay instead and have free cocktails.

Cocktail Time
Cocktail Time

And Rosemary was by this point shattered and had a dose in the beach buggy.

Zonko
Zonko

And in the aviary:

Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary
Aviary

We had dinner that night at Red Lobster and knackered to bed.

Will definitely be going back to Discovery Cove on our next visit.