A one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive daytime adventure, Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida offers a spectacular array of awe-inspiring animal encounters at a 35-acre tropical oasis, right in the heart of Central Florida. Committed to providing an unparalleled getaway where immersive animal experiences and relaxation abound, Discovery Cove is equally dedicated to conservation and sustainability efforts.
With nearly 60 acres of managed landscaping, the horticultural team at Discovery Cove in Orlando works around the clock to maintain this lush tropical oasis in the heart of Central Florida. What started 21 years ago as a pile of dirt and a designer’s dream has grown into a one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive vacation paradise, home to an impressive variety of mature environments that support the animal habitats and help shape guest experiences that attract visitors from around the globe.
Known primarily for its spectacular array of outdoor adventures and unforgettable animal experiences, Discovery Cove is equally dedicated to the conservation and inspiring others to share in their ongoing efforts. It is a lush haven where guests can swim with dolphins, swim with rays, float along tropical waterways and bask in shimmering lagoons. Connecting all those outdoor adventures is the importance of protecting these natural wonders, and the animals that call it home, which underlies Discovery Cove’s mission to help further research, education, and conservation efforts around the world. Beautifully framing it all is a meticulously maintained and varying landscape of lush rainforests, vibrant floral displays, cave and beach settings, and more.
Meant to create an ideal natural habitat for the animals, the park’s landscaping plays a major role in creating a state of relaxation for day guests who are looking for an island getaway without actually having to travel to the islands. While at Discovery Cove, guests are able to connect with dolphins in a naturalistic lagoon, swim among thousands of tropical fish and rays in The Grand Reef, hand-feed hundreds of exotic birds in the Explorer’s Aviary, encounter playful otters in the Freshwater Oasis, drift through underwater caves on Wind-Away River, and simply relax under swaying palms on the sugar-white beaches.
It is the keen eyes, steady hands, and deep dedication of the park’s hard-working gardening crew that ensures the natural look and feel of the landscaping at Discovery Cove, which is hand-pruned daily. And because the animals always come first, the crew has to be as familiar with the many species of animals as they are the many species of plants. Knowing perching heights for various bird species, for example, directs the trimming to make sure flight pathways are kept clear for the more than200 birds in the Explorer’s Aviary. The gardening crew must also work closely with the nighttime dive team to make sure debris from overhead and surrounding foliage doesn’t get into the waterways and disturb fish and other underwater inhabitants.
More than 150 types of plants, 26 species of palms, and 20 different trees create the dazzling and dizzying backdrop for guests to enjoy. But the horticulture team takes great pride in the park’s little known and seldom seen behind-the-scenes green initiatives as well. Renewable resources are used for mulch, green waste is collected and ground up for compost, and drip irrigation and rainfall monitoring measures water conservation and prevents disease and plant fungus. In addition, plants such as Hibiscus, Crepe Myrtle and Cecropia are grown on-site for consumption by the sloths, while others like Cat Palm Plumbago and Ginger are given to the otters, marmosets and anteaters. The park’s flowering plants occasionally attract healthy bee swarms, allowing the Horticulture Bee team to relocate them to the Apiary and harvest their honey which is creamed. The park’s veterinarians use that honey for use as a topical ointment when and where conventional bandages do not work as well.
In addition to the incredible tropical setting, breathtaking animal interactions, and caring approach, it is the park’s all-inclusive policy that sets Discovery Cove apart from the competition. Every admission includes endless food and drink options (including beer and wine), wetsuits, snorkel gear, towels, and many more amenities. Discovery Cove also requires reservations and limits the number of daily guests, making the experience one of the most exclusive attractions in the country, with ample room to enjoy the warm Florida weather. Discovery Cove has also enhanced its health and safety protocols and is offering vacation planning flexibility through its “Book with Confidence” policy which allows guests FREE cancellations and a 100% refund if guests need to cancel more than 30 days prior to their reservation date.
For more information, or to book a reservation, visit DiscoveryCove.com.