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Kevin’s Anniversary Surprise

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

For the past couple of years at Christmas, Kevin has surprised me with some sweet, amazing, thoughtful trips. The first time to Savannah, Georgia, and the second time he surprised me with an incredible 15 day vacation to Scotland, London, and Paris. So this year, for our 12 year wedding anniversary, I decided it was time to surprise him.

For as long as I’ve known him, Kevin has always wanted to go swimming with dolphins. In fact, he wanted to go on our honeymoon, but it just wasn’t in our 20 and 23-year-old budgets.

The night before we got on the plane, I gave him this, just like the two he’s given me, detailing our itinerary for an unforgettable surprise anniversary weekend.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

I planned a weekend for us at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. Here we could swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish, pet velvety rays, feed colorful exotic birds, and float in a lazy river surrounded by wildlife.

Discovery Cove was recently named best amusement park in the world by TripAdvisor for the second year in a row. The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards are determined based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

As soon as we checked in, we were whisked to our private cabana overlooking the dolphin cove.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

We would relax here later in the afternoon watching the dolphins swim, jump, and play with hula hoops.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Our cabana was quiet, secluded, and came with everything we needed for a day of relaxation.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

The fridge was stocked with cold drinks, our cabana had plenty of towels and free equipment rentals for snorkeling, complimentary sunscreen, delicious snacks, and we even had our own private locker in the cabana. Did I mention all food inside the park is FREE?? The restaurant serves a freshly prepared breakfast and lunch, as well as unlimited snacks and drinks throughout the day.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Discovery Cove doesn’t officially open until 8am, but you can get to the park as early as 7:15am to check in, eat breakfast, and get settled before the water officially opens. After checking in you’ll also take a complimentary family photo that can be picked up for free when you leave the park!  We recommend getting there early to avoid the lines that can start to back up around 8 o’clock. After breakfast we went back to our cabana and had a surprise guest waiting for us!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

This is Manny the anteater!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

We fed him avocados. It tickled when he ate out of our hands!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Isn’t he a cutie??

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Our first stop as soon as it was open was the aviary. Here you can feed and interact with hundreds of colorful and tropical birds from all over the world. Here’s our tip: make the aviary your very first stop of the day, as the birds are always hungriest in the morning! They’ll fly right up to you and land on your arm, shoulder, or even right on your hand. However as the day goes on, the birds will get full and are less interested in people.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

How amazing are these colorful creatures??

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

There was a gorgeous peacock.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

This curious little guy landed right on my finger!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Just hanging out with a couple of new friends! ;)

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Our next stop in the park was SeaVenture, a one-of-a-kind, under-the-sea experience!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

SeaVenture is an underwater walking tour made possible by the use of a dive helmet. You don’t even need to have SCUBA certification.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Your hair doesn’t even get wet! ;)

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

I have never done anything like this before, it was honestly like walking on the moon or being on another planet.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

It was the neatest experience being face-to-face with hundreds and hundreds of colorful, tropical fish!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Another awesome thing about SeaVenture? You can totally bring your own underwater camera (we did!), but if you don’t want to buy one just for the trip, they will give you a nice underwater camera for free (not just a disposable one) and then you only pay for prints. It’s free to use the camera, so might as well take it when they offer, and then you are not obligated to buy any prints. But just in case you happen to take an awesome one, the option is there if you want it. :)

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

So incredible!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

We got to hold a velvety-soft yellow ray…

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

His name was Bolt. :)

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

And we came face-to-face with SHARKS!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

They were behind glass. :)

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

They were just a snoozin’!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlandoWe even got to hold this cute little sea urchin.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

After our SeaVenture adventure, we were whisked off to another once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

We got to pet a shark!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

A real, live shark!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

The trainer did this thing where she tickled his belly…

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

And he squirted us with water!!!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

Kevin got to feed him. He sucked it right up like a lightening-fast vacuum cleaner!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

He felt completely the opposite of the rays. He was SO rough and felt just like sandpaper!!

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

After our shark encounter, it was time to head to the Grand Reef and snorkel with the cute little cownose rays.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

They were just happy as little clams swimming all over the place.

Swimming with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. #travel #florida #orlando

And they were so soft!! Loved swimming with these little guys.

But the biggest surprise of the day was still to come. :)

Stay tuned for the next post!! :) xoxo

 

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