“Oh Lord, How Great Are Thy Works”
I was really excited when I first learned about Discovery cove, especially as a great alternative to going to Disney for Hunter’s 6th birthday.
Last May for Hunter’s 5th birthday, we had promised him we would take him to Disney for his 5th birthday. Then the Pandemic happened so that got cancelled and the Disney trip got paused indefinitely. So, when Hunter’s 6th birthday rolled around, I wanted to explore my options since I had since heard some disturbing things about Disney.
Discovery Cove had been in my backyard in Florida the whole time and I hadn’t known about it. I had been to SeaWorld a long time ago but didn’t know about Discovery Cove or their other water park, Aquatica (maybe that will be my next venture!)
What is Discovery Cove?
The best way for me to describe Discovery Cove is to think of visiting a 3 star all inclusive island resort right in the heart of Orlando. Discovery Cove is owned by SeaWorld who also owns a whole host of other theme parks including Busch Gardens in Tampa, SeaWorld of course, and also the Water Park Aquatica.
What initially caught my attention for Discovery Cove and set it apart from all the other theme parks we could visit in Orlando was the ability to get up close and personal with Flamingos.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a Flamingo-aholic. I mean I just love everything about them. Their beauty and quirkiness just bring me lots of joy. When I first moved to Florida over 15 years ago I moved onto Flamingo avenue and that must have been a sign of the crazy Flamingo lady I would become.
I saw a picture of the Flamingo Walk or “Flamingo Mingle” at Discovery Cove and knew that I needed to see this for myself. Being the Flamingo-holic I am (I did put a Flamingo in my logo after all!) Hunter has naturally gravitated towards loving Flamingos as well.
The premise of Discovery cove is that you are essentially spending the day at a Lagoon stocked with sea animals that you can snorkel with, in addition to having access to an Aviary with birds you can feed, and all along the way while swimming around the park (like literally, you can go through a lazy river and then have an animal encounter with otters, monkeys, etc.) It’s really a cool concept to escape the heat because you can essentially be in the water all day while having a wildlife experience too. The general park fee includes access to the Lagoon and snorkeling with the water animals, all you can eat breakfast, lunch and snack. You can upgrade your ticket if you want to swim with Dolphins, and then add on other animal encounters such as the Flamingo Mingle or the “trainer for the day” package.
What is the Flamingo Mingle?
The Flamingo Mingle is the chance to get up and close with Flamingos. In the Flamingo Mingle, you get to actually Walk with their flock of Flamingos and then feed them.
Getting to see a Flamingo up close and personal enough to let them eat out of my hands was the experience of a lifetime.
It is really a damn shame that they didn’t let me bring my phone in to take video (especially since I was here on a Press Pass!) so I could relay the true full experience to you guys because it was magical. (they don’t let you take your phone in the Flamingo Mingle because they have their photographer there taking professional photos there which you can buy at the park). When you get to the see the Flamingo up close and personal like that, literally eating out of your hand, you can see how their body is perfectly created for the task at hand. Their necks bend down and put the food in their curved beaks, pulse it with their tongues 3 times per second, and push the water out. This is how they ingest krill and shrimp from the saltwater without ingesting the salt water. They were pretty messy eaters, spitting all that water out and keeping the food, at one point my son says “mom, I need a napkin” as his arm is covered in Flamingo spit ha ha. This is going down as one of the best experiences ever!
When we got up to have our chance to hang with the flamingos and take our picture with them, a few of them were super curious about my son’s hair to the point of digging their cute little beaks into his mess of blond hair. The trainers thought they were looking for krill. Hunter thought is was funny and was not scared at all having these beautiful birds nuzzle his mop of hair. I’m proud of Hunter for not being scared and embracing that experience. What other six year old can say they have had Flamingos nuzzle them with their beaks!?
At one point, a flamingo was getting chummy with me, moving his cute little curvy neck near mine. The trainer says “they like you – you’re their size”. Ha, they are my spirit animal indeed!
We could have ended the day then and there and I was on cloud nine. But luckily for us, we had the rest of the day to splash around the park, a great retreat to have in the Florida heat. I will say that hanging at a lagoon all day is a superior experience to standing in lines all day at other amusement parks.
As part of our package, we also got to swim with dolphins. This could have been another highlight for me but unfortunately it was a low point for me based on their ridiculous mask mandates for kids.
Before we went to swim with the Dolphins, the trainers made a big deal about being vaccinated and since kids under 12 can’t be vaccinated (and I have to ask who would give their kid an experimental, untested drug that has had over 11k deaths already in the VAERS database for a virus with a 99.97% recovery rate?) they insisted they wear masks. My child has a doctor’s note because of his asthma for school so he didn’t have to, but the rest of the kids did.
I was pretty upset to see the Assistant Trainer bend down and ask a little girl to pull up her face mask while we are standing OUTSIDE in the water about to have a personalized swim with dolphins. First of all, kids don’t catch Covid and asymptomatic spread has been disproven by the WHO and by many studies, such as this one of 9 million people done in China., and Fauci himself in his own leaked emails stated masks don’t work because the particle size of the virus is much smaller than the particle size in a mask.
I understand that corporations like SeaWorld are taking cues from our corrupt government and the equally corrupt CDC (reminder that both the CDC and the FDA own patents to vaccines so the same people pushing vaccines also profit from vaccines) and the average person has not done as much research as me and takes their direction at face value. However, as a resort where everyone is outside, including when you are with the dolphins, this seemed excessive to me.
Despite the mask issue, the chance to see Flamingos up close and personal was amazing. For this reason alone the trip to Discovery Cover was worth every cent. Also, it is a great alternative to going to Disney and supporting their evil empire.
I went with my good friend who brought her son who is besties with my son and we all had an amazing time. My friend has lots of food allergies and the restaurant staff were nice enough to make her items without any seasoning to accommodate her food allergies. They went above and beyond to make sure we had an amazing experience.
As an exclamation point to the whole experience, we rented a tiny house for the night in the cutest little tiny house community on a picturesque lake. The boys thought this was the coolest. This was also a fun (and way less expensive) alternative to the hotels in that area of Orlando. Plus, such a neat experience for a 6 year old!
If you are looking for a great way to beat the heat while vacationing in Florida that is more relaxing than going to a theme park and standing in lines, then Discovery Cove is a great option!
In summary, as a Christian I feel that Discovery cove was a safe place to take my kid. Anyone who ever doubts the existence of God should look at his beautiful creations up close, like the glorious Caribbean Flamingos we saw in the Flamingo Mingle! God’s Creations are amazing!
Flamingos are such amazing, beautiful birds! Up close they are absolutely breathtaking!
Note: Discovery Cove gave me a press pass in exchange for an honest review of the Flamingo Mingle experience.