Orlando, Florida is famous as the land of theme parks, home to everything from Epcot Center to SeaWorld to Universal Studios. While all these fun-filled parks are included on EF Explore America’s Florida: Adventures in the Sunshine State tour, it’s another park on the itinerary that stands out from all the others: Discovery Cove.
Discovery Cove is unique because it is a reservations-only park with a guest limit of about 1,300 people each day. That means it’s never over-crowded and your students will be able to fully experience all the park’s amazing attractions. And we do mean amazing.
Here are our five favorite things you can do at Discovery Cove:
1. Swim with a dolphin
For most visitors, the highlight of the day at Discovery Cove is the interactive dolphin experience. To start this 30-minute activity, students join the dolphins in shallow water and learn about their behavior and communication habits. Then it’s time to grasp the dolphin’s dorsal fin, hold on tight, and get pulled through the lagoon on the ride of a lifetime. This is one swim the students will never forget.
2. Snorkel with exotic fish
In the park’s Grand Reef, students can swim underwater alongside thousands of tropical fish and sleek rays. Explore the elaborate habitat, observe the sea life up close, and swim a little farther out to come face-to-face with sharp-toothed reef sharks (don’t worry, the sharks are safely behind a glass barrier).
3. Feed the birds
Discovery Cove isn’t just about sea life, you can also spend some quality time with hundreds of exotic birds. Beyond the park’s beaches and waterfalls, the Explorer’s Aviary is a natural habitat where parrots, toucans, and other feathered friends will fly above and around you. They’ll even munch on snacks from your hand if you want.
4. Explore the tropics
The park’s newest attraction is the Freshwater Oasis, a beautiful tropical rainforest where visitors become fully immersed in the environment. Wade through water-filled trails, enjoy a relaxing float in the crystal-clear springs, and befriend the playful otters and marmosets who are enjoying the habitat as much as you are.
5. Float down the river
Relax and explore on a gentle ride along the tropical Wind-away River. Float past sandy beaches, through a rainforest, under a series of cascading waterfalls, and into an underwater cave. Don’t forget to look down at the water to glimpse the fish who call this river home.
With these amazing attractions (and some others that didn’t make our Top 5), Discovery Cove combines the thrills of a theme park with the educational value of state-of-the-art interactive nature exhibits. That’s probably why students love it so much. Fun, excitement, nature, education—that’s what student trips to Florida are all about.