One of my childhood dreams has been to swim and interact with dolphins. Thanks to SeaWorld San Antonio, that childhood dream became a reality. As excited, nervous, and over the moon I was, THIS was happening. I even had “dolphin grey” nail polish on, so it was a sign it was meant to be! When I arrived to Seaworld and made my way to Discovery Point (the only in-water dolphin swim in Texas and welcome center for Beluga and Sea Lion swims.) it gave me the feeling of being on vacation. With its tropical greenery, waterfalls, and shades of sea color mosaics, it feels like you’re walking through a mini spa like paradise. A variety of shells, natural materials, recycled glass and stone were used as building materials throughout Discovery Point, including rock-work shapes created to resemble dolphins and more than 7,100 plants comprised of 80 different species ranging from native trees and palms to tropical ferns and bamboo create it’s tropical oasis.
The 600,000-gallon Dolphin Lagoon in Discovery Point is twice the size of the previous dolphin habitat. The park’s popular shark, fish, and corral aquarium is also now open; Explorer’s Reef contains approximately 750,000 gallons of water. Explorer’s Reef is home to more than 350 species of fish, invertebrates and amphibians, as well as five different species of sharks, ranging in age from seven to 27 years old – all of which are considered vulnerable and well on their way toward endangered status. The majority of Caribbean coral on display in Explorer’s Reef was grown by SeaWorld San Antonio’s Aquarium Department.
SeaWorld San Antonio is home to 21 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins – 15 females and six males, ranging in age from 1 to 43 years old. While most of the dolphins were born at SeaWorld, four made SeaWorld their home after being rescued by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network and deemed non-releasable by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Prior to my dolphin interaction, I had the opportunity to observe and watch dolphins swimming and playing from an underwater floor-to-ceiling, panoramic underwater viewing area that can also easily connect to the newly renovated Explorer’s Reef aquarium which I was able to tour as well. Walking through Explorer’s Reef brought back memories of going there as a kid with my family and believe it or not, where I had my first kiss. After a brief classroom presentation, I changed into SeaWorld-provided wetsuit (that come in all sizes) in the women’s changing area which has changing rooms, restrooms, and showers and then put my bag and belongings in a locker. Though I was extremely excited up walking into the Dolphin Lagoon to meet the animals for a swim for the first time, SeaWorld’s expert trainers made me right at home, safe, and comfortable. During my dolphin swim experience, I interacted with bottlenose dolphins while learning about dolphin behavior and communication, as well as SeaWorld’s ongoing local and worldwide dolphin research and rescue efforts.
Swimming with dolphins is off my bucket list and what an experience it was; Seaworld has always been a great place for my family, friends, and I to visit year round. They sure do know how to make their guests feel welcomed, show them a good memorable time, all while educating on their animals and rescue team. With my love for the ocean and marine life, I have always felt I was a mermaid in a former life and now after swimming with the dolphins, I am convinced that I may be one after all.
To learn more about Discovery Point and reserve your swim, please visit: www.seaworlddiscoverypoint.com, and be sure to follow SeaWorld on Facebook or @SeaWorld on Twitter and Instagram @SeaWorldTexas, using #DiscoveryPoint for exciting updates.
Paid reservations must be made for this program, and participants must be at least 6 years old to swim with dolphins. Children ages 6 to 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the dolphin swim experience. Prices range from $125 to $155 per person.
*A huge thank you to SeaWorld for this memorable invitation. All opinions expressed are based on my experience and are my own.