One Perfect Day at Discovery Cove (cont.)
All the while your trainer is sharing with you facts and information. Why is the belly so light and the top so dark? It is camouflage: a predator looking up sees the white of the sky, looking down the dark of the sea bottom.
“The animals are all invited to come out and interact with the guest,” said Ms. Riley. “If they don’t want to, they don’t have to, we will ask another one to come out instead. But, they usually enjoy the interactions.”
The crowning moment, the moment you will never forget, comes when you are singularly invited to the deeper water where Dexter waits to give you a tow back to your group. As you are pulled along, your body next to Dexter, you see and feel just how magnificent and strong these animals are.
And to hopefully go back home with a desire to change your life, and the world, for the environmental better.
Visitors are encouraged to make Dolphin interaction reservations in advance; once your are in the park there is little chance to make a last minute decision to join in on one. There are two different options — the Trainer For A Day package ($468-$488) or the Dolphin Swim package ($269-$289).
While your dolphin encounter is truly fabulous, it is only a brief part of your very full day at Discovery Cove.
Contrasting to the strength and power of the dolphins is the sublime underwater flight of the rays at Ray Lagoon. Here, in easy to wade waters Cownose and Southern rays swim around the legs of visitors, often brushing their soft bodies against people and, when feeding times comes around, clustering around in search of a treat.
The Ray Lagoon sits next to the Resort Pool, a shallow water environment that connects to the Tropical River. The Tropical River waterway runs around the greater part of Discovery Cove past beaches, remarkable foliage and rocky lagoons. Ducking under a fast moving waterfall takes swimmers into the Aviary, a free-flight environment that houses more than 250 exotic birds from thirty different species.
Within the Aviary the birds will come down to perch on shoulders and eat from your palm allowing for incredible interactions and memories. The staff is on hand, to ensure that the birds are not harmed and to answer the many questions, from young and older alike, that come up.
A true highlight of Discovery Cove is the ability to snorkel in the man-made Coral Reef where swimmers can watch schools of tropical fish and rays. Safely housed behind clear acrylic partitions within the sides of a “sunken ship,” those that kick down and venture under the water can come within inches of barracuda and sharks
For parents, one of Discovery Cove’s greatest gifts may be the gift to relax. The environment has numerous helpful employees and lifeguards are stationed frequently around all water features. The park is only open to paid guests and as children cannot walk out, non-paying guests cannot walk in.
This gives parents, and the children, a bit more freedom to run about, swim or find a chair under a cabaña for a bit of afternoon relaxation.
Reprinted from Jan 2009 – Travel