Orlando, Florida, remains one of the world’s top family travel destinations and as this outdoors guy discovered, Orlando’s Discovery Cove is the perfect place for adventurous types like me.
I have visited Central Florida so many times I consider it almost a second home, as it offers a welcomed diversion for Canadian travellers when the weather turns chilly. On my most recent trip, I had the opportunity to visit Orlando’s magnificent Discovery Cove with the VIP Package no less, and what an opportunity it was. Outdoor enthusiasts are in heaven interacting with dolphins, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters with sharks and rays all around, or hand feeding tropical birds in the free-flight aviary.
I even had a chance to try Sea Venture for the first time, and what a blast it was. Feeling like Jacques Cousteau on a magnificent undersea voyage, my wife and I donned our 70-pound dive helmets for a 45-minute stroll of Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef. It was like walking on the moon but surrounded by sea creatures, much different than snorkeling and a unique experience to be sure.
Exotic paradise in the city
Relaxing with Mrs. Outdoors Guy in the spender of this exotic ‘paradise in the city’ was just what we needed, and the all-inclusive meals and drinks, private cabana and VIP tour host (also named Jeff) was icing on the cake. Discovery Cove’s Jeff made sure our needs were met and questions answered. He guided us through an incredible interactive dolphin swim and ushering us to an ‘up-close-and-personal’ wildlife encounter called Animal Trek, where we handled exotic creatures like macaws, screech owls and even a sloth.
After bobbing and weaving along the expansive lazy river, it was time to chill. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast and lunch, both included in the package and then kicked-back in a private cabana – once the hang-out spot for Mr. August Busch himself, back when the Busch family owned SeaWorld/Discovery Cove. One aspect that really amazed about Discovery Cove is how the property never felt crowded at any point. They restrict attendance to 1,300 people per day which certainly offers a more intimate, resort-like experience for its guests, something rarely experienced in other attractions. Mrs. Outdoors Guy and I were a tad melancholy when our adventure came to end, but departed with memories to last a lifetime. Thanks so much to Randy Anger, Suzanne Pelisson-Beasley and Abraham Lopez.
Do yourself a favour during your next Orlando vacation, visit Discovery Cove: https://discoverycove.com/orlando/
Winter vacation plans
Living in one the coldest, most northerly national capitals in the world, folks like me from the Ottawa Region generally head south for vacation during the colder months. After the hunting equipment has been placed in storage, where do you like to spend your winter travel time? You read how I enjoy Orlando, but I enjoy the Caribbean as well. There is a plethora of tropical locales calling-out at any given time. Drop me a line with your family winter vacation plans. I will feature reader’s travel tips and ideas right here in the next Outdoors Guy. Message me at: [email protected]
Safety first this winter
For those brave outdoor enthusiasts who plan to stick around the great white north for some winter angling, there are things you should remember. Appropriate clothing and equipment are vital to safety and comfort. Some winter anglers prefer to wear survival suits and carry a set of ice picks, while others go so far as driving modified ice vehicles with all the doors removed, in case of an untimely plunge. Remember that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers; especially at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is always thicker than ice further out. Safety first, please!