Something the 12 Year Old has always wanted to do is swim with a dolphin, so our first activity, the Dolphin Interaction, did not disappoint. Our family spent 30 minutes with a dolphin and its trainer where we learned about dolphin behaviour and the individual markings and personality traits of our dolphin, Yoko. We were taught how to ask Yoko to perform different behaviours and also got to give her a kiss. Awesome! We all left the water in awe and wonder at our dolphin experience, it really was very special and the 12 Year Old decided then and there that she wanted to work with dolphins.
Soon after we donned snorkels and swam around the The Grand Reef. The 12 Year Old has had issues with putting a snorkel mask on before, due to claustrophobia, so we weren’t sure whether she’d be able to do it or not. Within five minutes she had conquered her fear and was joyfully snorkelling above tropical fish and rays. The beach into The Grand Reef is gradated so you can go as deep or as shallow as you like which is perfect for little ones to gain confidence or simply paddle. We wore life jackets so that we could just float around the 2.5 acres of reef. The 10 Year Old spent all of his spare time snorkelling, even when a storm passed overhead and the heavens opened, he was head down searching for new sights.
SeaVenture is an underwater walking tour. Wearing a heavy oxygen filled diving helmet (which helped to keep us weighted to the sea floor), we walked among shoals of tropical fish and rays, came face to face with sharks (behind a panoramic window) and had one-on-one experiences holding starfish, giant sea snails and hermit crabs. A highlight was when someone fed the fish from above which caused a feeding frenzy around our helmets. We didn’t think that the 12 Year Old would be able to take part in SeaVenture, due to her previous problems with masks and claustrophobia but after a few worried tears (hers) and our cajoling she did it and didn’t stop smiling the WHOLE time. The 10 Year Old didn’t like the feeling of the helmet so asked to go back up as per the instructions given in the safety video.
Birds have never really been my thing, I can take them or leave them… until I visited Explorer’s Aviary and was given a cup of food and told to hold my hand up in the air towards the sun. Within moments I had stunning colourful birds sitting on my arm literally eating out of my hand. It turns out, that as a family, we’re rather popular with the birds of Explorer’s Aviary! The 12 Year Old wandered round with a hand reared bird who just wanted to sit on her shoulder the entire time we were there. The 10 Year Old and The Husband made friends with a variety of birds and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Discovery Cove felt quite exclusive and, as only around 1300 people visit each day, it never felt busy. As the park is all-inclusive the children could help themselves to snacks and drinks all day without having to pester us. We definitely relaxed while at Discovery Cove and really had nothing to worry about all day long. It was the perfect family friendly end to our hugely memorable trip.
Meeting and interacting with Yoko the dolphin, snorkelling among 125 different species of fish, rays and sharks, our SeaVenture walking tour and feeding exotic birds.
- Snorkels are provided so there is no need to bring your own
- Sunscreen is provided which is safe for the animals
- Take your passport with you to prove you are over 21, if you want to partake in an alcoholic beverage
- Don’t worry about food, drink or snacks as Discovery Cove is all-inclusive
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.