Traveling and experiencing new things with my family is always a great way for us to reconnect, and I always love throwing in a educational element. Whether it be after a very long school year, or a celebration, exploring new destinations together makes us happy. Of course the animal lover in all of us was so excited to visit SeaWorld and Discovery Cove with The MOMS for a Word of MOM weekend, earlier this month. I personally haven’t been to SeaWorld since my 13th birthday. I was so excited to see how it has evolved. As for Discovery Cove, dare I admit I didn’t know it existed! The kids, of course were leaping out of their skin, eager to see sea turtles, dolphins, and stingrays.
Snorkeling Discovery Cove
With Discovery Cove all to ourselves, we had the opportunity to swim the Grand Reef with fish and stingrays. We also assisted Denise Swider, lay egg nets, as she educated us on the curation of fish eggs.
Drying off and removing our wetsuits, was another experience. Yes go ahead and process that. I considered snap chatting that experience but honestly my laughter was too loud and hard to share.
I was part of the cool team and spent time with the kids, as they became animal ambassadors. While the bloggers were off enjoying a panel where they learned about Rising Tide Conservation. A conservation cooperative spearheaded by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment helping to make aquaculture of marine aquarium fish a real and viable alternative to wild collection.
My time with the kids was amazing for me, because they were so interested in learning about each animal and presented many questions to each trainer. Educating our youth is always so important, and is the best way to getting them involved in new projects. Each child also received fact cards on each animal they met.
SeaWorld/Discovery Cove’s focus is really on educating us all, through their shows, interactions, and every conversation you have to include cool facts about each animal. They have shifted to more natural shows, i.e. talking about what killer whales do in the wild, how it helps them survive and how they work together.
Having never swam with dolphins, I will admit I was a little nervous. After watching a short educational, and instructional video, we were in the water. Then as we posed for pictures kissing, and hugging Spot, and Yoko reality set in. A decision had to be made. Would I punk out (I have been swimming since the age of 7, but still don’t love it), and go for the shallow water, or will it be a deep water interaction? I panic when in deep water without a wall to hold onto. However with my almost 9 year old watching, I had to conquer my fears. I am so glad I did, it was a great experience, not to be missed to swim with Yoko! Not to mention my son was super proud of his mama who overcame her fears.
During our dolphin interaction, we witnessed the educational element. We meet two very well trained dolphins, Yoko, and Spot we also enjoyed a conversation about their daily routines at Discovery Cove, and their habitat. It was fascinating and a wonderful learning opportunity for both the kids and us adults! I watched as my son got involved and asked a variety of questions. I knew the wheels is his head were turning and he is already thinking how he can get involved. Once I tell him about the Youth Environmental Excellence Award, I am sure he will jump on it! For a list of ways you and your family can help protect wild animals and wild places Click Here.
If you work with an outstanding young person under the age of 22 leading an exemplary environmental education and conservation project, SeaWorld wants to know about them. If who you feel they would be deserving of the 2015-2016 Environmental Excellence Awards program, you can nominate them by sending their information and an overview of their conservation work to seaworldconservation@gmail.
The remainder of our day was unplugged, oh so lazy and just what I needed. We wondered along on the lazy river for hours. Literally hours and laughed uncontrollably as each of us tried to maneuver ourselves to escape the waterfalls. Note to self, there is no escaping the two waterfalls, so prepare yourself.
Things to consider when visiting Discovery Cove:
- Both photographers and videographers are on site during your dolphin encounter and will capture amazing photos along with video of your full interaction. So save your smartphone and leave it in your cabana, or locker like I did. (Hubby not so much, good thing an apple store is only a 15 minute cab ride).
- Your entry fee to Discovery Cove includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day and with little ones that snack ALL DAY long that is a bonus for us!
- You will need to wear either a life vest, or wetsuit to enter the waters, if you choose a wetsuit just know I feel your struggle and I can relate to your experience getting in and out of it.
- Discovery Cove limits the number of guests per day, leaving you stress free, line free, and allowing you to enjoy every moment spent with your family and new friends.
- The Dolphin interaction is an additional fee and well worth it!
- Visit DiscoveryCove.com for pricing and additional information.
Stay tuned as we share our Sunday at SeaWorld sneak peek below.