If you’re not including a visit to Discovery Cove (see Chapter Three) in your vacation, you can still interact with a dolphin, maybe two or three, by taking this informative 45-minute tour. It has the additional advantage of being the least expensive of the interaction programs (at $50 per adult, $30 ages 3 to 9) and having no age restrictions.
The experience begins at the animal rehab section where dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles are cared for when they're sick or just need a little R&R. The education staffers who run these tours are extremely knowledgeable, so feel free to pepper them with questions; it's a great chance to get a free education on dolphin lore.
The culmination and undeniable highlight of the tour is a private visit to the dolphin feeding area at Dolphin Cove. The tour group is broken up into family units and each family gets plenty of face time with a dolphin or two. You will have an opportunity to touch, rub and scratch these delightful creatures, shake their flippers and have them respond to some simple commands. Feeding is handled by staffers. In its own way, this experience is just as much fun as actually swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove. And photographers record it all for posterity.
If you want an "Up-Close" animal experience but porpoises aren't your priority, or you want to save a few bucks, similar one-hour tours are also offered focusing on either penguins or the sea lion stars of Clyde and Seamore. Both tours include opportunities to touch, feed, and take photos with your preferred creature, for $40 per person ($10 ages 3 to 9)..
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