* * * * +
Type: Animal interaction
Time: Continuous viewing
Kelly says: Discovery Coves best-kept secret
Imagine a jungle paradise where the birds are so tame they’ll eat out of your hand and foot-high deer peek about the blossoms as you pet them. This is what you’ll find if you step out of the Tropical River into the very special world of Discovery Cove’s jungle aviary.
The Aviary is populated with some 200 exotic birds representing 100 species from the four corners of the world, many of them so intriguingly colored that they look more like products of the vivid imaginations of folk artists than creatures from the natural world. Since many of the birds found here have been hand-raised by Discovery Cove trainers, they are completely tame and will happily eat out of your hand. Food is readily available from some of those same trainers, who can also answer your questions about which bird is which. Typically there are one or two examples of each species, but in some cases, like the gaudily colored conures, you will see a small flock flying through the trees or perching on the branches. There are actually three aviaries here. There is one on each side of the river and the far aviary has a smaller aviary within it housing tiny birds like hummingbirds.
The type of food you choose — grain pellets, fruit, or meal worms — will determine which birds you attract, and unlike the dolphin encounter, your time here is unlimited. You can also feed the tiny muntjac deer, which have their own special diet. If you’d like to develop your bird-watching skills, ask one of the attendants for a laminated chart that identifies the species in the Aviary.
Tip: Most people discover the Aviary while cruising down the Tropical River, but there are two unmarked land entrances just past the Ray Lagoon. They make visiting the Aviary several times during the course of the day a very tempting option. Remember, there are three separate areas in the Aviary. Don’t miss any of them.
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