If the hustle and bustle of Orlando's major attractions has you yearning for a vacation from your vacation, opt for a day at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove. Instead of sweating out the Florida heat waiting in long lines, you can snorkel in a refreshing man-made sea filled with tropical fish and squish your toes in the sand as stingless-stingrays swim by.
Though seemingly steep, the price isn't bad compared to other parks when you add up the perks. For your meal, the freshly prepared buffet features dishes like salmon teriyaki, fresh fruit, french fries and hamburgers. And even without the dolphin swim, there are easily enough activities to fill your entire day.
Explore the many grottos and the ship wreck, which are teeming with colorful fish and rays. If you get tired of splashing around, kick back and let the lazy river float you beneath waterfalls and a tropical bird aviary. And since Discovery Cove was built to resemble a tropical island, there are white sandy beaches to sun on and swaying palm trees and beach umbrellas when you want a bit of shade.
Perhaps the biggest perk of all, though, is the seven consecutive days of unlimited admission to SeaWorld next door. With SeaWorld's latest expansion, The Waterfront, now open to the public you may need some extra time to explore. For more information about Discovery Cove, visit www.discoverycove.com.
What's New with Shamu
SeaWorld Orlando just got even bigger. The Waterfront, which opened this summer, is a 5-acre nautical neighborhood inspired by exotic seaports from around the world. Colorful characters like the boisterous Harbormaster and comedic longshoremen offer street side entertainment. At the Waterfront's shops, kids can make their own beaded jewelry or watch artisans from as faraway as Indonesia and Italy create their crafts.
SeaWorld has also created new ways to enjoy old classics like Shamu and the Shark Encounter. With reservations, you can feast by the side of killer whales during a training session or head to the new Sharks Underwater Grill and dine next to the sharp-toothed predators. And don't forget to purchase and print out your SeaWorld tickets online. You can skip the lines and head straight to the gate. Click on www.seaworld.com/seaworld/fla for the latest news on SeaWorld Orlando.
If squeezing the whole family into one hotel room doesn't sound like the most comfortable way to end an activity-packed day, try sleeping in a suite instead. At Holiday Inn Family Suites Resort at Lake Buena Vista, the family-friendly KidSuites give everyone their own sweet space. For the grown-ups, there's a private room with a king or queen-size beds; and for the kids, a second semi-private room, with kid-friendly furniture and decor. A TV in each room, one Nintendo 64 and a VCR prevent battles for the remote control. Each suite has a sleeper-sofa in the parlor and kitchenette with mini-fridge, microwave, sink and coffee maker.