Swim with the Fishes

Just thirty minutes away from Rollins College, there is a tropi­cal paradise where people have a chance to interact with dolphins, tropical fish, and exotic birds. This place is known as Discovery Cove. Being one of three SeaWorld parks in Orlando, it is difficult to call Discovery Cove a “theme park”. In fact it is much, much more than a theme park; it is an exclusive resort style attraction unlike anything of­fered in the Central Florida area.

There are essentially four different experiences at Discov­ery Cove. The first is the Dolphin Swim, where people spend thirty minutes interacting and swimming with a bottlenose dolphin. This is a unique experience, as people rarely get to interact with these amazing creatures.

The second experience is the tropical reef, in which guests can snorkel with a variety of tropical fish. Further, the tropical reef has a sunken ship containing barracudas and even sharks behind a glass wall. The tropical reef is perhaps the most impressive area of them all because of the close interaction be­tween animals and fish. The sting­rays and fish are not frightened by the people in the least, in fact, they have no problem swimming up to each guest which helps to create an unforgettable experience.

The third is the relaxing wind-away river. Guests float along or snorkel through the river looking at the beautiful scenery and the tropical reef. The river also pass­es through the bird aviary. Birds swoop down and come within inches of the guests relaxing in the river. The river is also substan­tially warmer than the tropical reef, making it a great place to go after spending time in the chilly saltwa­ter.

The fourth experience is that of the exotic bird aviary. Over 250 exotic birds call this home. Perhaps most impressive though is the abil­ity to feed the birds, have them land on your arm and eat out of your hand. The colorful and beautiful species of birds are truly breathtak­ing.

Additionally, Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive park. This means that once in the park, you will not have to pay for anything; even food is included. It should be noted that the food is not the typical “theme-park food”, but more along the lines of a gourmet meal. The continen­tal breakfast before the park even opens is a great way to start the day. For lunch, the guests have a choice out of a variety of dishes, such as chicken parmesan and salmon. These gourmet meals come com­plete with sides, salad, and dessert.

Drinks and snacks are also in­cluded throughout the park. Thus, if you are ever thirsty or hungry, you need not worry about pull­ing out your wallet. A snorkel that you can keep is also included in your admission. Further, Dis­covery Cove provides wetsuits or swimvests for you to use if neces­sary. However, perhaps the biggest surprise was the free parking! It is probably safe to say that Discov­ery Cove may very well be the only theme park in the world that offers free parking.

Discovery Cove admission starts at $199 for a dolphin experi­ence for Florida residents. Reserva­tions are required and can be made online at www.discoverycove.com. The admission also includes a four­teen day pass to Seaworld, Aquati­ca, or Busch Gardens. For all that it includes, it is truly remarkable that the price is so low.

The next time that you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Central Florida, look no further than Discovery Cove. It is quite possibly the most remark­able theme park in the world.

About Travis Clinger

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