Prepare yourself for a shock. Discovery Cove is probably the most expensive theme park you will ever visit. But before you flip immediately to the next chapter, read on. On closer examination, Discovery Cove offers extremely good value for your investment. In my opinion, this very special park is worth every penny.
There are two “seasons” at Discovery Cove, with prices adjusted accordingly. Low season is from January through mid-March and from early November to about December 20. High season runs from mid-March through October and again from December 21 to 31. At press time, prices (including tax) for everyone over six years of age were as follows:
All-Inclusive Day Package (includes the dolphin swim):
Low season: $286.49
High season: $307.79
Non-Swim Day Package:
Low season: $179.99
High season: $201.29
‘Twilight Discovery’ Package:
This option was available in 2008, on Tuesday through Friday from June 3 to August 22 only; it ran from three in the afternoon until 9:00 p.m. Presumably, the 2009 schedule will be similar.
With dolphin wade: $286.49
Without dolphin wade: $201.29
Children under 3 are free, but all others are charged the same rate as adults. Children must be at least 6 years old to swim with the dolphins, so kids between 3 and 6 will pay the non-swim rate.
Note: In 2009, the low season rate for the dolphin and non-swim packages will rise to the 2008 high season rate. The 2009 high season rate had not been set at press time.
Is It Worth It?
In a word, yes. But if you need more convincing, bear in mind that the price of admission includes a continental breakfast, a very nice, all-you-can-eat lunch, and all your beverages (including beer and wine coolers) throughout the day. Admission also includes seven days admission to either SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Africa. For an additional fee of $50 (plus tax) you get 14 consecutive days admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica and Busch Gardens Tampa. If you are going to do Discovery Cove, this is your best buy to see the rest of the parks.
Trainer for a Day
If those prices didn’t take your breath away, perhaps you’d like to upgrade to the “Trainer for a Day” program. For a mere $519.72 (including tax), or $498.42 during low season, you will be treated to a “enhanced dolphin interaction and training encounter” as well as a number of other behind-the-scenes activities. Participants must be at least six years of age and those under 13 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
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