Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove is now open and this week we got to take a look at the new area that allows guests to enjoy some wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.
With most of the water at waist-deep level or shallower, Freshwater Oasis invites families to explore all of its nooks and crannies. The area is designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below and this makes Freshwater Oasis a completely natural fit within Discovery Cove’s tropical vibe.
Guests are able to relax, explore and learn and that’s really the theme for what’s on offer these days at Discovery Cove. In fact, over the last two years, the park has been completely reinvented. Last year saw the opening of the fantastic “Grand Reef” where guests get to swim with thousands of tropical fish, rays and even come up close to one of nature’s natural wonders… the shark! This year guests have the chance to get up close and personal with playful Asian otters and cheeky marmoset monkeys. There’s even an “In-Water Relaxation Station” … where guests can enjoy an ice cold drink while relaxing in the warm water and soaking up the Orlando sunshine from the brightly colored sunken chairs that are built into the area.
The stars of the new area are, of course, the animals and the Asian small clawed otters will keep you and your family entertained for hours. You enter the area by swimming or wading to a cave and behind the glass you will find these lovable creatures playing and have the time of their life. Using the mask and snorkel provided you can enjoy watching them underwater as they swim and play endlessly.
The smallest of all otters, these Asian-small clawed otter weigh between two and eleven pounds. They are native to Southeast Asia, areas like Indonesia, China and India and you really do get close to them as very often they enjoy coming up to the glass and taking a look at the strange human species looking at them. They are very entertaining and often they’ll perch themselves on one of the several tree stumps located around their lush habitat.
It’s a really cool way to watch these animals as we all know the Orlando heat can be overbearing at times and being able to watch them as you relax in the water in a covered area is really quite unique.
As you wade, wander, swim and float around the oasis’s water-filled trails you’ll also encounter several Marmoset monkeys. The monkeys have their own island to play on and guests visit them as they float along the trail.
The Marmoset monkeys, natives of the rainforest and upper canopies of South America, can be spotted up in the tip-top of the trees, leaping from tree to tree and running upside down along branches. They love to communicate by making a series of weird and wonderful sounds including whistles, squeaks, clicks, and trills. They weigh only a pound when fully grown and with no glass to separate guests from them, the marmosets are unique animals to take in as you swim through the waist deep water.
It’s another great addition to Discovery Cove and yet more evidence that after a few years of stagnation that the powers that be at SeaWorld recognise the need to constantly innovate and regenerate. Discovery Cove is an exclusive way to spend a day as it limits admission to 1,000 guests per day. This ensures a unique and personal experience for each and every guest. It has some of the best animal experiences, all day dining and absolutely first class amenities you can find anywhere in the world today.
Advance reservations are required to secure your spot in this paradise of rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers, a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls, and white-sand beaches. You’ll enjoy The Grand Reef which features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures as well as white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze. It’s really an amazing area to snorkel around as you’ll see ocean life swimming among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.
Also, SeaVenture is something you simply cannot afford to miss. It is an underwater walking tour where guests, wearing dive helmets, find up-close encounters with sharks (safely behind massive panoramic windows, I might add!), one-on-one touches with unique animals and schools of fish and gentle rays.
Rounding things off is the opportunity to swim with dolphins in one of the huge pools created just for the experience. If you’ve never swum with a dolphin before, here’s your chance and while it does cost a little extra, it’s well worth the money to be able to say that you did swim with a dolphin!
Seasonal rates for Discovery Cove’s Dolphin Swim Day Resort Package start at $229 (rates for Day Resort Package without dolphin swim experience and guests ages 3-5 start at $149) but prices do vary seasonally. My tip is to go when the weather is warm.. from April through to October… it’s just nicer to have the warmer water than in the cooler Orlando months when the odd day can get a bit nippy!
More photos at FloridaLeisurePhotography.com