Discovery Cove east coast Family Florida review southeast travel Uncategorized

Discovery Cove Review

Discovery Cove is located in Orlando, Florida and is unlike anything else you will find in Orlando. Here you can swim with bottlenose dolphins, sharks, rays, and hundreds of tropical fish. It is an all inclusive experience that you would expect to find on one of the islands. Not in Orlando.

Discovery Cove opened on July 1, 2000 and is an all inclusive experience. Included with your admission is breakfast and lunch. You also get snacks and drinks all day too. Drinks include beer and wine for adults. Food isn’t the only thing that is included.

You also get a free rental on a wetsuit, googles, and snorkel plus marine animal safe sunscreen. There are two large areas for you to swim in. The Grand Reef is a salt water area filled with hundreds of tropical fish, rays, and even sharks. The Freshwater oasis, Serenity Bay, and Wind-Away River are all freshwater locations to enjoy a dip, swim, or float.

That’s the stuff that is included with your ticket to Discovery Cove. You can also have some additional adventures that cost a little extra. You can swim with sharks, swim with dolphins, be a trainer for a day, feed rays, or go on a Seaventure and take an underwater walking tour. Below we will go over some of the amazing things Discovery Cove has to offer.

Grand Reef

Discovery Cove, Florida, Orlando, fish, underwater photography,

The Grand Reef is the main attraction at Discovery Cove in my opinion. This area is huge. I wish I could tell you how big it is but I can’t seem to find it. But it is really big and there are plenty of places for you to explore.

The water in the Grand Reef is maintained at 76-77 degrees. Making it a nice temperature year round. The water depth is anywhere from ankle deep to 12 feet. There are plenty of places around the area where you can easily stand and enjoy all the fish without having your head underwater.

If you want to dive deep and see what is lurking below you can do that too. While most of the fish will come to the shallowest points some stay where it is deeper. Just put on your googles and snorkel and take a look to see what you might find.

Below the water you will find hundreds of tropical fish. You will even see rays and can swim along side reef sharks. There are just so many different fish that it is truly amazing.

The Grand Reef is also the location where you can pay a little extra and do some amazing adventures like walking underwater in a “dive” suit. You can swim with the sharks. The Grand Reef is also where you can feed the rays. Each of these add-ons are done in the Grand Reef area.

Discovery Cove, Florida, Orlando, sharks, reef sharks, underwater,

Dolphin Lagoon

Dolphin Lagoon as you would guess it is home to Discovery Cove’s bottlenose dolphins. While you can see the dolphins from the beach and that is included with your admission. You have to pay extra to get up close and personal with them.

In Dolphin Lagoon you can “swim” with a dolphin and get your photo taken too. While standing in the water you will learn all about the dolphins that call Discovery Cove home. You will learn about their behaviors, habitat, and how they communicate.

If you have a dolphin lover in your family this is a must do. Not only can you touch and swim with them. The trainer will also teach you some of the hand signals they use with the dolphins. You can hear them speak or laugh. You might even be able to get them to go out and jump.

This really is an experience you will remember for a long, long time.

Fresh Water Oasis, Wind-Away River, Serenity Bay

Discovery Cove, Florida, Orlando

Fresh Water Oasis, Wind-Away River, and Serenity Bay are the fresh water areas of Discovery cove. Here you can float along the river. Take a dip in the refreshing water. Or get a chance to see some otters as you improve your swimming skills.

Grab a float noodle (sorry no tubes) and float along the river. The water temperature is above 80 degrees and goes from 3 feet to 8 feet deep. Go underneath water falls as you enter and exit Explorers Aviary. If this sounds like fun to you. You need to head on over to Wind-Away River. Just sit back and enjoy the float.

Serenity Bay

If you are more in turn with relaxing and not moving check out Serenity Bay. Here you can relax with other like minded people getting your daily fill of water actives. Don’t worry there is plenty of room for everyone.

Fresh Water Oasis is home to some amazing animals. Not only will you see otters. You can wade around Marmoset Island the home of Discovery Cove’s Marmosets. Will your eyes be good enough to see these little guys? They like hanging out in the tress so look up.

Discovery Cove, Florida, Orlando, swimming, underwater,

If you are not a fan of the deeper waters in the Grand Reef. All three of these areas are for you. With a max depth in some locations at only 8 feet. You can be sure you will have a great time.

Sadly there are not fish swimming around in this area. However, it is still a great time. Nothing beats hoping in the water on those hot, sunny Florida afternoons.

Explorer’s Aviary

Ever wanted to get up close to our feathered friends? If you have, the Explorer’s Aviary is for you. Come see a great selection of birds as they fly all around you.

Grab some food and see if they will land on you or a near by branch. Maybe you will be the lucky one who gets a bird on your shoulder. Even if you don’t it is still an amazing time and included with your admission to Discovery Cove.

Laguna Grill and Snack Huts

Laguna Grill, Discovery Cove, Florida, Orlando, Places to see,

Laguna Grill is the main area of Discovery Cove to get your include breakfast and lunch. There is a ton of seating around so no need to worry about that. Breakfast is served from 07:30 to 10:30 am. Lunch is from 11am-03:30pm

The food for both breakfast and lunch are delicious. This is not your typical Orlando area theme park food. Breakfast has a wide selection of items to pick from that are hot or cold.

Grab some scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage links, biscuits and even French toast sticks. If you want something a little lighter don’t fret. You can choose from a nice selection of fruit. They even have cereal to pick from. Plus plenty of coffee, tea, juice, and soda. Plus how could we forget the muffins and fruit and cheese Danish.

There is no need for you to grab something before you come. Laguna Grill has got you covered for both meals with more than enough food and plenty of options. Even picky eaters will have a hard time finding something they don’t want.

Lunch at Laguna Grill is also amazing. They have an incredible selection to choose from. They have Burgers and Pulled pork for your hand held needs. Or grab a fork and get some pasta and meatballs, salmon, jerk chicken, or my personal favorite the Churrasco Steak.

I couldn’t believe how tender the steak was. It blow me away. The pulled pork was also very tender and had just the right amount of sauce on it. Now if that didn’t get your mouth watering they also had plenty of cold options to pick from.

Every from salads to wraps. Try the seafood salad with large chunks of crab and shrimp. Or grab the classic Caesar salad. Still not impressed how about you get your hands on a turkey & ham wrap or a vegetable wrap.

That’s not even all of it. Plus you have a couple different desserts to pick from like carrot cake, chocolate cake, or New York Cheesecake. Can you think of a better way to finish your meal?

Don’t worry mom and dad, they have food for kids too that’s not just junk food. For kids you can get a hot dog, mac and cheese, or chicken tenders. Three things all kids love.

I will tell you that you will have a hard time finding something that you won’t like. Everything was delicious and fresh.

Don’t worry if you get hungry through out the day either. There are plenty of snack huts around where you can grab cookies, chips, soda, and even an icee. The selection is amazing.

Plus if you are over 21 you can get beer and wine. That too is included with your admission. Can you really ask for anything more?

Well if you can you can always upgrade to their premium beverage package. With that you get a great selection of craft beers, a stocked bar, and signature cocktails. Anything else you need?


A day at Discovery Cove just can’t be beat. From swimming with fish to swimming with dolphins. What more could you ask for when you are visiting Orlando?

This all inclusive day is the perfect escape from the nearby theme parks. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Have you ever been to Discovery Cove? What did you like most about it? If you haven’t been are you now thinking about going? Let us know in the comments below.

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