People ask me what my favorite Disney park is all the time. It’s hard to answer since I enjoy them all. I do consider Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be the most beautiful. That probably explains the affinity I have for SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove.
There’s no where else in Orlando you can have the theme park experience and animal encounters that Discovery Cove provides. The fact that they cap the attendence means you get a very intimate experience as well. Then when you throw in the fact that it’s all-inclusive and comes with tickets to SeaWorld or Aquatica, you just can’t beat the value.
Discovery Cove opened 15 years ago today and will be celebrating the milestone all summer. When it opened in 2000, it was an anomaly in the world of Orlando theme parks: a reservation-only experience limited to approximately 1,000 guests per day. At 15 acres, Discovery Cove opened with three signature experiences: guests could swim with dolphins, snorkel with rays and tropical fish, and hand feed exotic birds. During the last 15 years, the park has flourished in size, earned prestige worldwide for guest service and proved its commitment to conservation and animal care.
“Throughout the parks 15-year history, the Discovery Cove team has provided millions of guests the opportunity to connect with and be inspired by amazing animals in an environment like no other in the world,” said Stewart Clark, Discovery Cove vice president.
- In 2013 and 2014, rated the “#1 Amusement Park in the World” in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards;
- Grew to current size of more than 22 acres;
- Expanded to include five signature experiences;
- Opened The Grand Reef, which contains more than 10,000 tropical fish and dozens of rays;
- Added SeaVenture, where guests can experience an underwater guided walking tour;
- Opened Freshwater Oasis with playful Asian otters and curious marmoset monkeys;
- Witnessed hundreds of significant animal births and hatchings, from dolphins to birds to sharks;
- Pioneered the first C-section on a shark;
- Hosted thousands of marriage proposals, birthdays, military homecomings, bucket-list wishes, and more;
- Participated in conservation initiatives such as Rising Tide, which helps protect reef ecosystems;
- Finally, according to guest research, more than 90 percent of visitors have a greater commitment to conservation following a day at Discovery Cove.
Such great things from my favorite theme park in Orlando. Here’s to many more years of fun for Discovery Cove!