This is clearly the premier experience at Discovery Cove, but before you picture yourself frolicking alone with these playful creatures, remember that your "swim" is largely done alongside your fellow guests and is carefully supervised and restricted for the safety of both you and the dolphins. Despite the limitations, however, the attraction offers you the unique chance to touch, feed, play with, and even kiss a bottlenose dolphin, one of the most social and communicative marine animals. Before you can get into the lagoon, you'll attend a 15-minute orientation consisting of a film plus a few words from a dolphin trainer. Following the orientation, you and up to eight other guests will spend roughly 30 minutes interacting with one of a few dozen dolphins. Although you are only knee-deep in the water most of the time, it's surprisingly chilly, so you'll be grateful for the mandatory, Discovery Cove–provided wet suit.
When in the water, trainers teach you hand signals used to communicate
with the dolphins and with them you can instruct your dolphin to roll over so you can touch its belly or signal it to leap into the air. Near the end of the session you have a chance to swim out to deeper water, catch hold of the dolphin's fin, and have it pull you back to shore—and you even get a moment to pose for a picture with your newfound friend. Be prepared for the photo finish: after you leave the water and return to the orientation cabana, the skilled trainers quickly transform into a determined souvenir-photo sales team. For people with disabilities: Alert staffers to your hearing, vision, or mobility issues when you're making reservations, and they'll have someone there to offer special assistance—signing or having a modified wheelchair at the ready. Note that the pool here is "zero entry," so there are no steps to contend with. Be mindful of the appointment time on your badge. You don't want to miss the experience of a lifetime.