A First Look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef – Opening June 2011

28 Apr

Continuing on our week of firsts, I take a look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef opening this June.

Opening in June 2011, The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove in Orlando features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches, to snorkeling among thousands of tropical fish and rays in canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.

Discovery Cove is the boutique of boutique parks in Orlando. It is an all day resort-like experience that only allows in 1,000 guests a day to participate in up close encounters with birds, rays, and of course dolphins.

A view of a group during the Dolphin Experience in the Dolphin Lagoon.

It is hard to imagine, but The Grand Reef is really going to be cherry on top of what is already a really amazing place!!!

Construction on the Grand Reef is moving non-stop and around the clock!

The Grand Reef will be 2.5 acres with sandy beaches and almost a million gallons of salt water that will be home to approximately 10,000 animals representing 125 different species of fish), rays, and sharks. Another unique and exclusive part of the Grand Cove will be the removable coral which will be repositioned to create new experiences every visit.

A close of up of the removable coral that will be inside of The Grand Reef.

Thousands of colorful fish will dart and school through crystal clear waters creating a rainbow under the sea. The fish include angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasses and tangs, and larger hogfish and filefish that will eat almost 150 pounds of food a day!!!

Spotted eagle rays, who are usually found in Caribbean and Pacific waters, will take their place among the dozens of rays who will call the reef home.

There are three showcase moments when you will come face to face with a few guys that belong behind glass! The first moment happens when you can get a new perspective on the venomous and invasive lionfish. Then you will come face to face with a not so pretty or friendly group of eels who will make their home with grouper and triggerfish. And finally you will get an exciting view, both in and out of the grand reef, of Zebra/Australian leopard, nurse, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks.

Some say it's like walking on the moon - but surrounded by fish. SCUBA certification is not required.

SeaVenture will be the crown jewel experience of the Grand Reef! This innovative experience is an underwater walking tour where guests, wearing dive helmets, will be able to walk the reef as an inhabitant. After climbing down a latter, guest will set foot on the reef floor where they will come face-to-face with sharks through a full, 8 foot talk, 21 foot long panoramic window. Along the way, guest will be able to really explore the reef, its showcases, and be able to touch starfish & sea urchins along the way. The adventure will end with schools of fish feeding around the divers with the massive open reef as a backdrop. This hour long program will be for groups of up to six people per excursion, and cost $59 per participant.

The dive helmet looks heavy, but it has been designed to be extremely light under the water.

The Grand Reef will also offer eight new cabanas for rent as the water’s edge to add a touch of luxury to an already amazing day!!!

I personally CANNOT WAIT to experience the reef and the SeaVenture!!! It is truly going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what it is like to live under the sea!!!

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2 Responses to “A First Look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef – Opening June 2011”

  1. T-Town Tiffany April 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    We visited DC back in 2008 for a dolphin swim and can’t wait to go back for these exciting additions! Thanks for sharing!

    • shelleycaran May 1, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      I can’t wait to go back and REALLY get to participate in all that Discovery Cove has to offer!!!

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