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Discovery Cove - Tropical River

Rating: * * +
Type: Circular river
Time: Unlimited
Kelly says: Best for the Aviary

If you’ve visited a water park, you’ve probably experienced a variation of this attraction. It’s a circular fresh water “river,” varying in depth from three to 12 feet, with an artificial current that will bear you lazily along. The river rings the ray pool and the Coral Reef and takes about 20 minutes to circumnavigate at an easy pace. This is strictly a one-way river; swimming against the current is discouraged by the lifeguards stationed along the route and it is virtually impossible to be out of sight of a lifeguard. The river is kept several degrees warmer than the saltwater pools. After visiting a saltwater pool like the Coral Reef, the river will feel like a warm bath.

Most people bring along their snorkels, although there are no fish in the river and very little to see. An attempt has been made to add visual interest by studding the bottom with chunks of Mayanesque ruins and visitors seem to have created their own decorative touches by arranging stones on the bottom in the form of peace symbols, smiley faces, and hearts.

The edges of the river are attractively landscaped with lush tropical foliage but the banks are high and rocky and there are only four places to enter or exit. The main entrance, between the Dolphin Lagoon and the ray pool, broadens out into a large lagoon-like pool backed by a very pretty waterfall behind which is a cool cave-like area.

The best section of the Tropical River is the one that passes through the Aviary. Heavy waterfalls at either end prevent the birds from escaping. Inside is a tropical paradise and you may be surprised at how closely you can approach birds perched at the water’s edge. You can step out of the river here and visit the birds at even closer range.

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