Discovery Cove Prices, Tickets, & Tips | A Once in a Lifetime Experience
Please be advised – we were given complementary tickets and VIP access in exchange for our opinion and a story about Discovery Cove. All views are our own, and for those who know us, we have very strong opinions! We only choose to partner with experiences and companies that we love, trust, and know our readers and fans will enjoy as well. Here is our guide to Discovery Cove prices, tickets, and tips for a once in a lifetime experience.
Discovery Cove Hours & Contact Info
- Open daily from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
- Check-in/breakfast opens at 7:15 a.m.
- 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, Florida 32821
- Fact sheet about the park: 2017 Discovery Cove Fact Sheet
Where to Stay in Orlando
There are so many options on where to stay in Orlando. Since we have been here multiple times, I can give you my top picks. I like to have separate space for us and the kids to sleep in. So, I normally look for two bedrooms. I always look for a kitchen, parking, and close proximity to the things we want to see and do.
I also try to find something a little less expensive so we can save our money for amazing experiences. My top two picks for where to stay with families are the Hilton Grand Vacations at SeaWorld and Floridays Resort Orlando. Both resorts have all the amenities we look for and great pools for the kids (and adults) to enjoy some downtime away from the parks. Both resorts also have options for one, two, or three bedrooms, which gives everyone their own space.
You can compare prices for all Orlando hotels here.
Discovery Cove Prices
There are a few options you should look at before booking your Discovery Cove tickets. The first option is “The Resort Day Package”, which includes entrance to the park, sunscreen, towels, beach chairs, showers, and food and drinks all day long.
TIP: This price also includes FREE admission to both SeaWorld and the Aquatica Water Park for 14 days (before or after your visit.) Find this option here. This is a huge savings if you are also going to see the other parks!
Add Onto Your Discovery Cove Tickets
The second option is the “All-Inclusive Dolphin Swim Package.” This package includes everything above plus a 30-minute swim with the dolphins. You are put in a small group with a trainer to learn about the dolphins and have a loving interaction with them.
TIP: Remember If you purchase admission you get FREE admission to both SeaWorld and the Aquatica Water Park for 14 days (before or after your visit.) Find this option here.
A family of four will save $399.00 for SeaWorld and $559.00 for SeaWorld and the Aquatica Water Park. If you are going to the other parks, the free admission helps justify the cost of tickets, if you are on a budget. I have to tell you – the price is worth the amazing experience! Remember these free tickets are also available with the Resort Day package as well. YEAH!
The SeaVenture addition to your day is a scuba-type adventure without needing to be scuba certified. It is a scuba helmet, and a lead line, to see the underwater world of animals. As a scuba diver who can’t take my kids, the SeaAdventure is a super option for the kids to really get the feel of what life underwater is like.
The total VIP package. This package includes all gear, towels, sunscreen, drinks, food, a reserved set table at the restaurant for breakfast and lunch, a private cabana with ceiling fan, seating for six, loungers, a stocked fridge, private locker to lock up your valuables, and a hammock for an after-lunch nap.
You also have a private host to show you around and spend the day with at the park. Your host will even help watch the kids if you want some relaxation or adult time. We were so thankful for Sandy, our host, for watching Amber during the dolphin swim and when Benas and I wanted adult time to snorkel in the Grand Reef.
How to Get Discounted Discovery Cove Tickets
This is something we get asked a lot. The best way to find the best prices is to go to the packages and pricing page. Here you will see options and a calendar. Click all the options for your dream day. You will notice different days have different prices depending on the month, day, and season. You can scroll through the months and find the best time for discounted Discovery Cove tickets.
TIP: If you purchase “The Ultimate Package,” you also get free admission to Busch Gardens Tampa and free parking at all three parks! WHOHOO!
Last tip for the best Discovery Cove prices – buy your tickets in advance (online.) This will normally get you a nice discount of up to 20%.
What to Bring
NOTHING! Hee hee, okay, bring a few things. You need your swimsuit, a cover up, a hat, and dry clothes for when you leave the park. You can also bring anything you want to shower with after your day. They provide everything else. The park provides wet suits and/or vests and life jackets in all shapes and sizes. Towels and animal/water-friendly sunscreen are also provided at the park.
Snorkels and masks are provided (with locations to pick them up on both sides of the park.) Floating noodles for the lazy river are also provided. The bathrooms are equipped (AND SO VERY CLEAN) with towels, showers, toilets, and feminine products. FYI for us ladies – there are a ton of toilets! YEAH, Discovery Cove! I was so impressed at how spotless the bathrooms were, even near the end of the day!
If a GoPro is not your thing, I would suggest a disposable underwater camera.
You can compare prices of underwater cameras here. You can also purchase them at the gift shop in the park; however, it might be more expensive.
Parking is super easy at Discovery Cove. When you turn into the park, you will see signs for visitor parking. There is a large, park-yourself lot, and it is totally free all day long. Nice!
Entering the Park
As you drive to the parking lot, you will see the entrance on your right. Once you park, you walk back to that building and enter the doors. Inside you will be met by a park liaison who will help you get set up and ready for the day. You will need to check in, have ID cards made, and pick up a map.
Food and Drinks
Go early and have breakfast. This will ensure you beat the lines, although the staff works very hard to make sure your wait is short and sweet.
We met our host, Sandy, and were whisked away to a wonderful reserved table complete with fresh hot coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, fresh fruit, yogurt, fresh breads, and many other options to choose from. YUM! A great way to start the day.
Snack huts are located throughout the park. They have pretzels, chips, cookies, and drinks (including beer, wine, and pina coladas, to name a few). The snacks are included in your entrance fee and are available all day long.
Amber really enjoyed the banana smoothies!
Lunch is also fantastic and available all afternoon once breakfast is over. You have so many options to choose from like spaghetti, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, orange chicken with rice, salads, wraps, fruit, deserts, and drinks. The food was actually pretty tasty!
Now that you have all the info, let’s explore the park!
Exploring the Park
Sandy, our host, walked us around, giving us great tidbits of information about the park and its animals. After breakfast, and a quick stop at our cabana to drop off our things, we were off to tour the bird sanctuary.
The Aviary is a bird sanctuary that houses 250 exotic and endangered birds. Some birds have been rescued and are being rehabilitated with hopes to be released in the future. I thought this would be the least exciting for our family, but I was wrong. It seems my son, Vincas, is the bird whisperer, and Amber was enamored with the birds as well! The sanctuary has special food that you can hold in cups for the birds. If the birds choose, they can eat out of your hand.
Well, it seems that my son has a special way with the birds because he was covered in birds from the time we walked in until we left the sanctuary. It was an amazing experience. At the end of the day, Vincas wanted to return to say goodbye to his birds.
On top of helping to care for, nurse, and release the birds, Discovery Cove is part of the Feather Recycle Program. The Recycle Program collects feathers that have been shed and distributes them to the Pueblo Indians.
The native Indians use the feathers in spiritual ceremonies. The Recycle Program helps stop the smuggling and killing of endangered macaws and other birds.
The Dolphin Experience
After the bird sanctuary, we were ready to meet the dolphins! “The Dolphin Experience” is just incredible. First, we watched a great instructional and educational video on what to do and not to do while interacting with the dolphins. Then, we were placed in a small group with a trainer and waded out into the dolphin lagoon.
We all went to the lagoon. Please note: Children must by six years old to participate in the swim. While this is a bummer, it is for the safety of the kids and animals. After the swim, Amber was allowed in the lagoon to meet the dolphins and take some family photos.
The trainer answered so many questions, and Benas and Vincas loved interacting with the dolphin whose name was Hutch. He weighed over 500 pounds! Although he was gentle and sweet, he was definitely powerful and much larger than I expected. Hutch swam, flipped, waved, gave kisses, and even “farted” (and blamed the kids) which was hilarious! Then, the group took a small ride holding the dolphin fin.
It was a magical and surreal experience. Discovery Cove has photographers and videographers making sure to document your whole experience so you don’t have to worry about photos. They have you taken care of! At the end of the day, you can purchase the photos and a DVD of the entire interaction.
At the end of the swim, we went out to have a family photo with Capricorn who is 50 years old and the father of 11 children! WOW! Did you know that dolphins in the wild live approximately 20 years? And those in captivity can live for an average of 50 years! Yes, it’s true. In captivity, they are protected and never have to worry about pollution, predators, or plastic bags. Also, most animals that are born in captivity could not survive if released into the wild.
As a family photo is going on, the trainer asked if I would help her do one more thing for the group. I, of course, said I would love to. So as we looked toward the center of the lagoon, off went Capricorn to collect his toy and bring it back to me. OMG – look what he brought back to me! Is that not the coolest thing ever?! A happy birthday wish from the dolphin!
Wind Away River
After our amazing dolphin adventure, we took a plunge in the lazy river. We grabbed our noodles, and a life jacket for Amber, and off we went down the river. It was gorgeous – beautiful habitats full of animals and birds. We floated underneath waterfalls surrounded by canopies of gorgeous trees. What a wonderful way to relax and hang out as a family! We just loved it.
We jumped out of the river ride at Serenity Bay, which is a gorgeous lagoon with a waterfall and beach. This is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
We wandered across to the snack bar. The boys grabbed some snacks, and I had a pina colada! OH MY GOODNESS, it totally hit the spot. Then, we sat in the water on the built-in loungers and enjoyed a few moments of downtime. At this point, Sandy offered to bring us another drink. How could I refuse? Can you say spoiled much!?
Pina coladas served as I sat in the sunshine. Life is too good to be true some days! We started to reflect on what a once in a lifetime experience Discovery Cove really is; how lucky we are to share such an incredible experience with our kids. The animals and dolphins, and relaxing in the lazy river, are a gift our family will remember forever.
One of the best parts of Discovery Cove…? The people who work tirelessly there to educate and answer questions about the animals! Everywhere we turned, there was education on the animals, conservation, feeding, and how to interact without harming or disturbing the animals both in the park and out in the wild.
Monkey Island and the Otters
Our next stop, guided by the wonderful Sandy who wanted to make sure we saw everything the park had to offer, was Monkey Island and the fresh water adventure.
The monkeys are marmosets which are normally found in Peru and Colombia. They are the cutest little things you have ever seen. An adult male weighs less than a stick of butter, and they mate for life…awwww! The father even helps deliver the babies and carries them for the first few weeks of their life. Interestingly, they almost always give birth to twins. They are the most adorable animals you have ever seen.
Around the corner from the marmosets is the enclosure of Asia small clawed otters. These little guys are so playful and cute. You just want to take one home. They are the smallest of the otter family, and live in family units.
A super cool fact about these small otters is that they max out at 11 pounds, they are just so tiny. They also have interesting paws, as the claws don’t extend out past their paws. Sadly due to pollution, hunting and habitat loss they are on the venerable species list. I had never known about these species of otter, so I even learned something!
The Grand Reef
We saved the Grand Reef for our final stop. Amazeballs! WOW! This is a large beach with a lagoon filled with tropical fish, huge rays, colorful corals, and even sharks (behind glass). Don’t forget – snorkels and masks are included in your entrance fee, so wade into the sandy bottom lagoon and snorkel into an amazing array of wildlife.
I have to say, the rays that had a six-foot wing span made me a little bit nervous, even though they are very gentle and loving. They swim right by and brush you with their wings. You have to shuffle your feet so you don’t stomp on them by accident. You can stay shallow or swim out over the deep corals where you will see more giant rays and parrot fish as big as you!
Schools of fish, swimming in the hundreds, will engulf you in color and wonder. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
On one side of the reef is an area full of sharks where you can swim up and watch the sharks behind glass, but it feels as if they are swimming next to you. Whew, I had to take a quick breath when I came face-to-face with a leopard shark!
We waded and snorkeled as a family, holding hands, pointing, and trying to talk through our snorkels as each of us pointed out another amazing sight or spectacular fish. We stopped to talk to every lifeguard, and park employee that we could to learn more about the animals, their care, and the amazing conservations efforts by Discovery Cove.
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Conservation, Rescue, and Rehab
Discovery Cove is part of the SeaWorld brand. At the time of this blog, SeaWorld had rescued over 29,000 ill, injured, and orphaned animals. The SeaWorld Parks, and Family of Parks, have saved lives, rehabilitated, and released animals back into the wild. Those deemed un-releasable by the government have been placed in the care of the incredible SeaWorld family.
Many animals in SeaWorld parks are animals that cannot be released back into the wild, like the pilot whales that were stranded off the coast of Florida. Without the help of SeaWorld, after the animals were deemed un-releasable, they would have died. Now look at them thriving!
SeaWorld does research, funds grants, rescues animals, protects the elephants in Africa, helps save the cheetahs, and so much more. I want to thank SeaWorld & Discovery Cove for all they do to ensure my children and grandchildren have a chance to see all the species of the world. For more information on SeaWorld’s amazing conservation and rescue efforts, please visit SeaWorldCares.com
That was our incredible, educational, and fun-filled day at Discovery Cove Orlando. I cannot express what a once in lifetime experience this place is! If you are in the Orlando area, Discovery Cove is truly a must to create memories for your family that will last a lifetime! As you can see, it is good for all ages. There is really something for everyone to enjoy and remember.
… I think they are dreaming about Discovery Cove Orlando!
Have you been to Discovery Cove? Let us know about your experience by dropping a comment below. Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask away in our comment section.
Thank you for reading, and a big thanks to Discovery Cove for helping our family create memories of a lifetime!