One of my favourite days while I was away in America, was the day that I took my mother to Discovery Cove for her birthday to swim with a dolphin. A long time ago, one of my friends sadly lost her mother, and has since told me that her biggest regret was that she didn’t spend as much time doing things with her mother; as just getting her things for Birthdays and Christmases. Now on a happier note, this inspired me. For my mum’s birthday, I decided that the best thing I could possibly buy her was the one thing I knew she would love – a swim with a real dolphin. You only need to look at the pictures to see how happy it made her and that made it worth the money.
Anyway, I thought I would take you with me on the birthday celebration day with my mother. So, you guys can experience a day at Discovery Cove with me!
7.30am: Wake Up.
It’s an early morning wake up for discovery cove, as it opens up to us at 8.30 for an early morning breakfast. The free shuttle our hotel offered left at 8am as well, so we had to be up to get that. So, the alarm goes off at 7-30 and my mother and I roll out of bed, put on our swimming costumes and get dressed. Discovery Cove was really handy and told us a list of things we should and shouldn’t bring and one of those is make up and suncream, so we both just did our hair and made our way down stairs. I’m not going to lie, at this point we were early, so I ran over to the breakfast and grabbed a waffle to eat while I waited – I was starving and I didn’t know how long it would take to get there.
The shuttle that our hotel provide was fantastic. It was always super punctual and quick to get to the location we needed to get to. Once we arrived at Sea World, we just had to pick up the phone in the Green Cabana and ask for the shuttle bus. We were first on and it was a really cute glass bus with a dolphin on the side – so not exactly hard to find. Once we arrived at Discovery Cove, all we had to do was go and check in, which was really similar to checking into a hotel, and find out when our dolphin experience was. They gave use these cute little lanyards, which told us our times and information on, and my mum had a special red one so that they knew she was celebrating her birthday! How cute is that!
Now our first order of business was breakfast. We were both starving at this point, and so we made a bee line towards the buffet. They had so much choice, but we both settled with scrambled egg, bacon and sausages – side note, does anyone else find that square sausages in America are weird? Just me? We both had a muffin to since it was a treat and lots of orange juice! Ugh it was so good! Oh, and there were so many birds, it really was a very tropical feeling.
9am: Getting ready.
Our next task was to find the wet suits, so we followed our directions and found a little cabana where they had them all lined up. Since it was the middle of summer, we had the option to wear a full suit or a vest, of which we both went for the vest. One of the best things about this day was that everything was provided for – the food, water, suncream and even free feminine hygiene products in all the bathrooms! I was so impressed by the service! You went up and got your vest, then was given a locker, put on your free ‘animal-friendly’ suncream and you’re ready to go. Oh, and they even give you a snorkel and goggles free that you can take home. Honestly it was amazing to go literally all-inclusive.
Anyway, we got ready and popped into the bathrooms. They were huge and no horrible paper towels, all fluffy white hand towels for everyone.
So, by the time 9.30 rolled around, we were ready to go! Our swim was scheduled for 10.25am, so we had ages until we had anything planned; so, we decided to head towards the cove where they have all the fish and sting rays. This pool is stunning, and we must have spent almost an hour just paddling around (wow the water was cold) looking at the fish and the sting rays. Oh, and this really lovely woman came over and just chatted to us about the different fish they have in the pools. She worked there and was telling us all about the different personalities of each sting ray and the breeds. It was really interesting. My mum had a real love for the sting ray’s. There was a huge one that kept coming by and bargain past me. They’re so silky that it made me jump the first time. I was sure it was a sea snake or something.
10.25am: The Main Event!
We were itching to go when 10.20 rolled around and soon enough we were out of the stingray pool and racing towards the seahorse hut – where we would get a briefing for the swim with the dolphins. From the hut we could see them out in the pool and wow, they are such beautiful creatures! When we made our way out, we could barely hold ourselves at a walk as we made our way to the pool.
Our dolphin friend was called Clipper and she was porous! When I went when I was 11, we had a dolphin called Dash, which makes me think that most of them are female and I’m sure them mentioned something about that while we were there but honestly, I was just in awe. She came right up to us and we got to stroke her and ask her to do tricks. We got to ask questions and they taught us so much. It was amazing. And there were plenty of photo opportunities to get up and close with her too. We finished our meeting with a swim really far out to the deep end (totally optional) for a trip back with the help of lovely Clipper. It was quite something, it really was.
And it was over too soon. As we watched her flip and twist, she made her way back and I just wanted more. But looking at my mums face I knew it was enough for her. You need only look at her smile to know that she was really happy.
By the time we had finished our experience, looked through the photos and finished chatting about it, it was time for lunch and boy were we hungry! So, we made our way over to the cafe and the best thing about this deal was everything is included. Including food. So, we had unlimited snacks, drinks and real food. So, we didn’t just have one lunch. We had 2! Each… So first I started with a really lovely salmon and potato, then went back and had the salmon again with pasta and sauce this time. It was perfect!
After lunch we had no plans at all. We wanted to just relax and what’s the best way of doing that in a world of water and animals? Putting on a life vest and bobbing along the lazy river while having a long chat and catch up. And honestly, we did this for the rest of the day. it was so relaxing. We bobbed around the river a few times, got a drink and a snack (how did we eat so much and not sink!), then went around the other bits. We went to see the Otters and the monkeys, though they were hiding from the heat and just had a really relaxing day.
4.30pm: Home Time
By the time it got around 4.30pm, most people had gone home. We spent our last 10 minutes watching the dolphins swimming in their pool before we went to get changed to go home. I went and had a shower, since their showers looked so good and they had shampoo, conditioner and body wash all provided (and it smelt so good!!). So, after a nice shower and getting dress my mum and I said goodbye to the dolphins and the stingrays and made our way to the front doors. We did pick up some water and an ice-cream each on the way out and bought our photos – definitely worth it to always see that smile.
We spent the rest of our day wandering around Old Town. Neither of us were hungry for dinner so instead we sat by the pool and talked then went up for a movie night. It was easily one of my best days in America and I’m so glad I can share it with you. I really hope you enjoyed this post! If you want to hear more about my trip to America, you can read about my day in New York here or read my America clothing haul here! See you soon xx