Posted in Florida 2016

28th December 2016 (Day 11)-Seaworld

SeaWorldOff to SeaWorld today.  Having been to Discovery Cove we have our lanyards and this entitles us to access to SeaWorld and Aquatica for 7 days after visiting Discovery Cove.  So at least we didn’t have to pay for our tickets.  We did pre-purchase the all-day-dining tickets though so we headed there for opening time to get breakfast and then see how much we could actually eat by the end of the day.  We assumed that it was a challenge!!!

SeaWorld
SeaWorld

We went to breakfast and got standard type food (eggs, bacon, pastries etc) at Seafire Grill.

Never eat anything bigger than your head
Never eat anything bigger than your head

After that we wandered through the park and first went to the dolphin nursery.  There were a couple of small ones in there and the mums were starting to teach them to jump. There was one quite small one but couldn’t get a photo unfortunately.

Dolphin Nursery
Dolphin Nursery

We wandered round a little more with the plan to catch the next performance of the Blue Horizons show, which was the next thing we wanted to see.  Also wanted to make sure we saw an early show because we wanted to have time for both the Clyde and Seamore show and the Christmas night time Shamu show.  Show was good as usual, although felt a little cut short so not sure if the dolphins weren’t co-operating fully and they had to shorten it (which I know has been the case in the past).

Blue Horizons
Blue Horizons
Blue Horizons
Blue Horizons

After the show we thought we’d hit our all-day-dining option again and this time went to get lunch at the Expedition Café in the Antarctic.

Antarctica
Antarctica
Antarctica
Antarctica
Lunch at Expedition Cafe
Lunch at Expedition Cafe

We then went to see the manatees, which are a favourite animal as they’re so gentle and get a really hard time from inconsiderate boat owners.  Like they haven’t go enough to worry about without being hit by a speed boat!

It was lunchtime when we got there (although it’s probably always eating time for them) and they were chowing down on some lettuce.

Manatees
Manatees
Manatees
Manatees

As you go underground to see the manatees this is also the turtle show, Turtle Trek, and as you wait to go into this there are the underwater viewing areas.  Next to the manatees are the sea turtles and fish, and Rosemary got badly photobombed by a particularly inquisitive fish.

Photobombed!
Photobombed!
Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle

We walked over the Shark Encounter, where there are lots of really good aquarium exhibits, but Rosemary got eaten!

Shark!
Shark!

Unfortunately they had removed a shark which used to hang from the ceiling and we had taken a similar picture each time we had visited.  So were quite disappointed not to get one this time as it was a nice record of the different visits.  The previous ones are shown below.

Shark
Scary Shark
Scary Shark

SHARK!

We never really go to Seaworld for the rides but did go a few in Shamu’s Happy Harbour. Rosemary did insist on getting the manatee on the carousel.

Manatee Carousel
Manatee Carousel
Forgot the name of this ride...
Forgot the name of this ride…

We really wanted to get the shows in but had to head back across the park to the Sealion Theatre to see the Seamore and Clyde Christmas Show.  Very good show and as always the mime was extremely funny.

Seamore and Clyde
Seamore and Clyde

It was completely dark this time and we spent a while in the Christmas Village area looking at the decorations and Christmassy stuff that was for sale, although we didn’t buy anything.  Rudolph was there meeting and greeting but the queues were very long.

Christmas Village
Christmas Village

I seem to remember having dinner at Mango Joes using our wristbands and then went to see the Shamu night time show, Shamu’s Christmas Miracle. This was also probably the last time we would see a show like this as (quite rightly) they are stopping the Orca shows and by the time we come back they wont be going on anymore.  It’s sort of disappointing to know we’d never see this again but at the same time it’s good to know that the animals will be able to behave more “naturally”.

Shamu's Christmas Miracle
Shamu’s Christmas Miracle
Shamu's Christmas Miracle
Shamu’s Christmas Miracle

And that was pretty much the end of our day at Seaworld.  We did spend some time watching the Christmas Trees and the Sea of Trees show where the lights all go in sync to the music.

Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees
Sea of Trees

We made one last use of our all-you-can-eat wristbands at the Seafire Grill and then it was time to leave.

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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