Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Discovery Cove

I recently fulfilled a long-desired goal and took my grandchildren to Discovery Cove. For years, I’ve heard others rave about swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling and swimming there, and I longed to share that experience with my grandkids.The minimum age for the dolphin experience is six years old. Also, at nearly $300 per person, I wanted to make sure that our littlest guy was old enough to actually remember the experience. He’s eight now, so this was our year to go.

At roughly $300 per person, the cost might be off-putting for one day of activities but it covers much more than just one day of admission to the park.

Our admission included:

• Free parking
• Generous meals – breakfast, lunch, snacks all day, even beer and wine
• Sun block formulated to be safe for the dolphins
• Towels
• Free lockers
• Snorkeling equipment – you keep the souvenir breathing tube
• Dolphin interaction
• Free 5X7 arrival picture
• Crabtree & Evelyn products in the showers
• A two-week unlimited pass to one of the sister parks. We chose Busch Gardens.

This experience was worth every penny and then some. We swam with the dolphins, snorkeled with rays and sharks (there’s a glass wall between swimmers and sharks), fed birds in the aviary and swam in the lazy river. The day melted away far too quickly. The next day we enjoyed a fun, relaxing day at Busch Gardens.

The food was tasty, as well as plentiful. The service was wonderful. This is one of those situations where you definitely get what you pay for. If the cost is off-putting, go off season when it is a little cheaper. Visit their website, Discoverycove.com for details. Be sure to watch the videos on the site. They are not the least bit misleading. The facilities are just that beautiful and the experience really is that wonderful.

I paid $233 for full picture package. Again, it sounds pricey but it included several pictures, a DVD of our dolphin swim, a CD of all of our pictures from the day, an album, a couple of photo key chains and a large poster-size picture of us with our dolphin. You can pick and choose your picture package or opt for none at all. However, since you most likely will do this only once in your life, I highly suggest that you get the full package. The pictures really are very good.

The Cove is a lovely, lovely place. The facilities are clean and beautiful. The staff is friendly and helpful. Our day was perfect and I am sure that we will treasure the memories of this unique experience for years to come.