Girl’s Day at Discovery Cove
Every February a friend and I meet in Orlando for a girl’s weekend. In 2020 we decided to spend a day at Discovery Cove. I have been once before and it was one of the most relaxing days I have ever spent. It’s a stunningly beautiful place with perfect sand beaches, amazing (but easy) snorkeling, good food, fun animals and comfortable chairs.
I won’t lie- it’s not the most frugal day ever- but when you consider everything is included and how expensive theme park food is it really isn’t crazy for a girl’s day. They do run specials as well and certain times of year are cheaper than others.
How To Choose What To Do at Discovery Cove
Once you have set your budget you need to decide if you want to purchase any add-ons. I can say without hesitation that we were easily able to fill a day without purchasing anything additional. But we also spent some time just laying in the warm sun on chairs talking/sleeping. If you are easily bored you might want to consider one of the things listed below.
Things included with the cost of admission:
Snorkeling in the Grand Reef (click here to see my experience in the Grand Reef)
Walking Through the Aviary and Feeding The Birds
Going Down the Lazy River
Seeing The Otters
Swimming in Serenity Bay
Swimming in the Freshwater Oasis
Lunch and Dinner Plus Lots of Snacks (we are talking unlimited ICEEs here people)
Items You Can Add Onto Your Visit:
Dolphin Lagoon (Swimming with Dolphins)
Seaventure (see my review here from when I did it!)
Preparing For Your Trip
Discovery Cove provides pretty much everything you need. You will find towels, shampoo/conditioner/soap, animal friendly sunscreen, lockers, wet suits, snorkels, life vests, bird food and people food in the park. It’s the easiest trip to a park I have ever done. You pretty much need a bathing suit and whatever shoes you would like to wear. I was going to have to leave to go directly to the airport so I also brought everything with me to change into clothing for my trip home.
Discovery Cove is a full day adventure with operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. Check-in begins at 7:15 a.m. and I have always gotten there are close to 7:15 as possible so I am never rushed. The environment is so peaceful it is just nice to be there.
I love the feeling when you first get to Discovery Cove. It’s all-inclusive so once you check in for the day you can put your wallet away and enjoy yourself. The lobby is beautiful. They take your picture, give you a pass and off you go. If you have signed up for any special activities they will also confirm your times for those and give you all the information you need.
Then when you head out the back it immediately feels different. Almost like you are not even in the US anymore.
What is Available for Breakfast?
Because I am not from Florida I was VERY excited about the access to fresh fruit during the winter months. The oranges, plum and juice were very refreshing. The eggs were just okay but the potatoes and french toast sticks were yummy. The potatoes had good seasoning on them- you didn’t need any kind of dip or sauce!
You do have to watch your food though- there are some friends who hang around who would love a taste!
Grabbing Your Locker
Once you finish eating you head down the path to grab your locker. Discovery Cove only lets a limited amount of people in each day so they have plenty of lockers available. Each has a key you keep on a lanyard around your neck for ease during the day. I had to bring my bag with me and it fit perfectly in the locker.
Before The Park Opens
Before the park actually opens there is plenty to look at but my favorite thing is to sit by the Dolphin Lagoon. I swear the dolphins know you are watching them and perform for the cameras. It was so bright I couldn’t see half the pictures I took but we got some fun ones!
What Is Available For Lunch?
For lunch we both grabbed the vegetable wrap and the quinoa salad. I also got a plate of french fries because they had waffle fries and waffle fries are the best.
The vegetable wrap was horribly dry and lacked taste. We could not find ANY of the hummus so I don’t know if they forgot it or what but I would skip it. However the quinoa was very, very good. It was the perfect amount of lime with all the fresh ingredients. The quinoa was self service so you could load up on it if you like.
The wraps, pasta salad and some other items were also self-service. I know being in the water can make people very hungry so it was nice they were not being chintzy with the portions.
Look how beautiful these strawberries are!
The watermelon was pretty good too- especially since I can’t get it in Virginia this time of year!
So What Do You Do For Fun?
Once the park actually opens it’s a full day of swimming and snorkeling activities. I left my phone in my locker so I could enjoy myself but if you want to see the Grand Reef you can click here to watch my video from two years ago.
However we did take tons of pictures in the Aviary so you can check these out! The birds are very friendly and the park provides you with food to tempt them.
Ready to consider a day yourself at Discovery Cove? Click here to check out all they have to offer!