Dolphin Born at Discovery Cove

Congratulations to Rose, the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin who lives at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld’s all-inclusive day resort. Her female calf was welcomed into the world Wednesday, February 12, at 5:35 a.m.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

The yet-to-be-named little girl is nursing and bonding with her mother, which is a good indicator that she’s doing well. This is Rose’s second birth, and the 27th dolphin born at Discovery Cove since the park opened in 2000.

Shark C-Section Performed at Discovery Cove

Reef shark pups born July 18, 2013 get a close-up look from a Discovery Cove shark expert.

Reef shark pups born July 18, 2013 get a close-up look from a Discovery Cove shark expert.

It’s Shark Week, and I couldn’t be more excited! Megaladon. Voodoo sharks. It’s all great stuff! (Visit the Discovery Channel’s website to read more about their special programming.) To top off all this shark-tastic-ness (not to be confused with a Sharknado), SeaWorld announced a groundbreaking procedure was performed on a whitetip reef shark at Discovery Cove in Orlando, July 18, 2013.

•A team of shark experts and veterinarians prepare to perform a groundbreaking procedure — a Cesarean section — on a whitetip reef shark at Discovery Cove.

• A team of shark experts and veterinarians prepare to perform a groundbreaking procedure — a Cesarean section — on a whitetip reef shark at Discovery Cove.

Due to complications with the pregnancy, an emergency Cesarean section was performed on the shark six months into her gestation.

Whitetip reef sharks have a gestation period
of 10–13 months and give birth to live young.

Baby whitetip reef shark at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld's boutique park in Orlando FloridaFour healthy pups were born, each weighing less than three pounds at birth (1.04 kg – 1.25 kg). Their lengths ranged from 59 cm to 62 cm (about two feet). Mother and pups are doing well, eating normally and showing no signs of unusual behaviors. Currently the new family lives behind the scenes at Discovery Cove as animal experts continue to monitor their progress, but other whitetip reef sharks can be seen by guests snorkeling in The Grand Reef or when participating in SeaVenture, an underwater walking tour where guests wear dive helmets to explore the undersea world all around them.

It seems as if you're close enough to touch the sharks at Discovery Cove.

It seems as if you’re close enough to touch the sharks at Discovery Cove.

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort experience where guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel with rays and tropical fish, hand-feed exotic birds and relax on pristine beaches. To discover more, visit and follow them on Facebook.

Discovery Cove SeaVentures is an underwater walking tour. Here I'm "going down!"

Discovery Cove SeaVentures is an underwater walking tour. Here I’m “going down!”

Being a Mother is OTTER-ly Amazing

Discovery Cove, SeaWorld otters tell my love of being a momI’ll never forget my first Mother’s Day. My husband took me to breakfast with our new bundle of joy. He was so cute, and still at that age where you can strap him in the high chair. I took a bite for me, then cooed in my baby’s direction squeezing a toe or two, then talked with the hubs. Despite severe sleep-deprivation, I was incredibly happy and felt so fortunate to even have a child! (I only had a 30% chance of ever getting pregnant, so he was indeed my miracle.)

Mid-way through the meal, my little guy showed me with action (and lungs) that his diaper needed changing. Although my husband offered, I grabbed a nappy and a wipe from the bag and set off to take care of my “Number One’s” “number two.”

When I got into the bathroom, I discovered that something was rotten in Denmark, and Marcellus ’twas not anywhere to be found (nor any ghost for that matter, although I did lose a bit of color when I saw what was happening!). Not only did my little one do his business… he did it again. And again. This while I had just gotten him out of his old diaper and cleaned off using the one or two wipes I brought with me. (Did I mention I was holding him at arm’s length now, as the diaper changing station was —how shall we say this?!— unusable?)

At long last another guest needed the ladies room. Upon leaving she assured me she’d grab my man who was probably wondering if we had fallen in or something (seeing as we’d been gone a good 15 to 20 minutes by this time).

Long story short, I undressed him and put him in the sink where he began second (or was it third?) bath of the day!

I guess it’s like childbirth where I don’t remember the pain, only the smiles. Eventually my husband knocked on the door then came in to help with the “cleanup on aisle two.” The restaurant provided us with some cleaning rags and towels, and we thankfully had a spare outfit in the car. To this day we still laugh about my first Mother’s Day. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s also the one with the most love.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I made an eCard to share. Although my little guy has no siblings to chase like the cute otters in the video, he can still be full of mischief on occasion. As the mommy, though, I just see love, forgive him, and do my best to guide him in right choices. And, yes, I DO think he’s as cute as those little guys!

The river otters were caught on film at a recent visit to
Discovery Cove by SeaWorld,

If you enjoy this video, please consider making a donation to the
SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

Discovery Cove Florida Resident Deal

Diving to the bottom Discovery Cove

My 5-year-old is bravely swimming to the bottom of the Lazy River that’s 1/4 mile around. How many times did we go around?! Three? Five? I lost count!

SeaWorld’s boutique sister park, Discovery Cove, is offering an amazing deal for Florida residents. Through December 31, 2012, Floridians can purchase either a “Dolphin Swim Day Resort” admission for $199 plus tax, or a “Day Resort” ticket (that does not include the dolphin swim) for $129 plus tax. Not only will you get the day at Discovery Cove, but unlimited (yes, I said unlimited) admission to both SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica through January 21, 2013 (valid from the day after your Discovery Cove visit).

Otter in the Water at Discovery Cove swimming

Discovery Cove at SeaWorld Takes Your Breath Away

Discovery CoveMy 4-year-old, Daniel, is used to being up close and personal with marine life. As a visitor to SeaWorld and Bush Gardens well over 100 times in his short life (not to mention countless visits to zoos and other animal-themed attractions) he’s pretty much a pro when it comes to interactions. Our visit to Discovery Cove, however, has raised the bar so much so that I fear his expectation of “normal” is forever altered!

Walking into the check-in/lobby building, Daniel first noticed the incredible art. He bent over to examine the mosaic floor. “Look, Mom. It’s like waves,” he said as he then proceeded to show me how many shades of green were represented, and how many blue. His neck craned up: “Look, Mom, at the dolphins!” Above us graceful dolphins appeared to be floating, breathtaking fiberglass on steel crafted by artist Michael Linenbroker. He looked at it from multiple angles, checking out the white fish “swimming” with them. Our feast for the eyes had begun, and we’d only arrived minutes before.

Once our entire group had arrived, our guide walked us out of the main building toward the Reef. “This is a magical path” my son informs me as we make our way along the nature path past Serenity Bay and Dolphin Lagoon. He knows he’s going to see tons of sea life, and is thrilled to find a corded “fish I.D.” card he can take with us for the day. I was happy to find it, too, as he’s extremely curious on specifics. (I can no longer get away with: “It’s a bird, or a plant, or an airplane.” It’s a Toucan, a Dusty Miller, and a Cessna!)

After donning our wetsuits (sans Spanx, dang it), our little band made tracks for the shore. We easily found a locker for our gear and a chair for our towels. Despite being at capacity for the grand opening of the new attraction, we didn’t feel crowded. Even  “full” was not shoulder-to-shoulder like some places. We felt free and easy, with plenty of “elbow room.”

After our guides gave us the lay of the land we walked into the water, snorkeling gear in hand. A cow-nose stingray swam past us at about “knee deep,” causing aforementioned 4-year-old a moment’s hesitation. Initial fear melted into an ear-to-ear grin followed by wild expressions of delight. Great big eyes looked up at me as he asked, “Can we go way out there?!”

I knew he’d fall in love with Discovery Cove, but I had no idea it would be so hard and so complete. Everywhere he looked there were birds, tropical fish, marine mammals… you name it. At the center of his fascination was the brand new Grand Reef.

With a footprint of 2.5 acres and close to a million gallons of water and 5 million pounds of pristine, sifted beach sand, the Grand Reef is home to thousands of tropical fish and dozens of rays including spotted eagle rays that have a 5-foot wingspan! Behind glass we found eels and, holy moly, sharks!

We balanced on rock formations (man made, like the removable coral so as not to be sharp) and bobbed and floated and swam to points near and far checking out the abundant marine species, and marveling at this unprecedented view into their world.

We did attempt the snorkeling gear, LOL!

I would have loved it if my little man could have used the mask and snorkel to better see the curious and colorful creatures in our midst, but he may be a little young… this trip. He couldn’t quite get it into his head that something covering his eyes and nose (and being tight and pressing on his face) was a good thing. His mom, however, put the gear to good use (with dad nearby to watch the boy). Swimming nose to nose with a stingray whose eyes were larger than mine was awe-inspiring, I can assure you.

“I don’t see how I could ever return to common life after this,” thought we all (quoting “Anne of Green Gables”).

Sure you may have gotten goose bumps at SeaWorld interacting with the marine life and riding the awesome rides. And OK, your family has giggled with delight while whooshing down the slides at Aquatica…. But if you’re ready for your next BIG close encounter with all you love from the marine parks, do not miss Discovery Cove. I’m already counting the days until I, too, can return.