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Discovery Cove

by Meghann on May 15, 2010

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

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Discovery Cove was worth the wait!

Swimming with dolphins. Snorkeling with sting rays. All you can drink beer. All you can eat food. Sun. Beach. Fun. It was everything I imagined plus more. Thank you Derek for a day I know I will never forget! πŸ™‚

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Discovery Cove is high class service all the way. From the moment we arrived we were personally greeted with smiles and as we made our way into the park we were directed every 5 feet by staff members pointing us into the right direction of where we needed to go and all the information we needed to know.

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Discovery Cove is all inclusive theme park. Everything from parking, drinks, food, sunscreen, lockers, etc. is included in your package. I actually felt like I was in at an all inclusive resort all day!

Before we could do anything else, we were handed out wet suite and snorkeling gear for the day.

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The snorkel doubled as a take home souvenir. πŸ˜‰

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All suited up and ready to swim!

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Don’t let that sun and crystal clear water fool ya – that water was COLD!

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Our dolphin interaction wasn’t scheduled until later in the afternoon, so we had all morning to experience the other attractions the park had to offer. We began our day with snorkeling the man made coral reef and swimming with the sting rays.

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There were so many fish! I think I saw more fish at the man made coral reef than I ever had snorkeling in the wild.

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Sunscreen is extremely important when spending the day in the sun!

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Right, Derek? πŸ™‚

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Around 10:30 snacks were brought out for the guests to enjoy.

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These snacks were kept out and plentifully stocked during the remainder of the day.

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I worked up quite an appetite snorkeling. A mini pretzel was just what I needed.

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With mustard. πŸ˜‰

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The mini pretzel was delicious. I <3 soft pretzels! πŸ™‚

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Part of the fun of Discovery Cove is the option to relax on the beach as well as swim in it.

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We spent an hour or so watching other families partake in their dolphin interactions beachside. During that time I even saw one guy propose to his girlfriend with the help of the dolphin! The dolphin went to do a flip and came back with a booey that said ‘Will you marry me?’ on it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone being proposed to before – it was such a cool thing to watch! πŸ™‚

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I could have sworn when we were checking in that the lady had mentioned charging beer and sodas to out guest pass, but Derek swore they were all included in the package. We walked by a bar to casually prove who was right and who was wrong and guess what? For once I was the one who was wrong this time!

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All beer was included in our package for the day. Yippee!!!

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I had a shock top before lunch and a couple of sips of Derek’s beers throughout the day.

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When lunch time came I was a little nervous on what exactly the food options would be. I was concerned it would be the typical theme park selections of hot dogs, fries, chicken tenders, etc.

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Yes, those options were available, but the selections expanded well beyond that! Overall there was a dozen lunch options to choose from and you had the option to mix and match what went on your plate.

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I asked for the grilled salmon with extra veggies and potatoes.

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The salmon was a little dry, but the veggies and potatoes were pretty tasty. The veggies were crisp and fresh. Yes, I could tell they had been cooked in a good amount of oil, but just enough to give them good flavor without crossing over that ‘too oily’ fine line. πŸ™‚

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For dessert I had gigantic strawberries.

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And a gigantic cupcake.

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Cupcakes are the best when you make sure to smear the icing on every nook and cranny.

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Birds need lunch too.

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Mmm… tasty

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Apparently my bird did not want a kiss?

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Here birdie, birdie, birdie

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The aviary led right into the lazy river.

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The lazy river and I became fast friends… mainly because their water was about 10 degrees warmer than the coral reef water. πŸ™‚

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That and the awesome waterfalls

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Before we knew it, it was dolphin time!!

We were given a specific time to meet at the Starfish cabana and were given a short safety lesson as well as some dolphin history. Our group was then split into 4 smaller groups of 6 people that were led to the beach to interact with two dolphins for 30 minutes.

Small world: I actually went to high school with one of the girls in my group! What are the odds?

Anyways, we met Liko first who was a 2 year old dolphin and is still currently in training. We were able to pet him and do some tricks with him like waving bye, dancing, spinning, etc.

I even got a kiss out of Liko!

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After Liko, Cindy came to interact with us. Cindy is a 34 year old dolphin who has been around since Sea World opened in the 70s! She’s been in a couple of movies including Jaws 3!

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We each took a swim with Cindy. I was basically instructed to grab a hold of her fin and flipper and to hold on!

It was AWESOME! I want to do it again and again. All I had to do was hold on and Cindy carried me through the water. She was speedy and it was over way to quickly, but still a moment to remember. πŸ™‚

The dolphin interaction came to an end with a big finale of dolphins jumping and dancing. It was a sight to see and the perfect way to end our day in the water.

After our swim we stopped at the bar so Derek could enjoy one last beer before we hit the road (I was driving) and I munched on an orange.

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We also split a small ice cream cup. I had two or three bites and Derek finished the rest.

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Danger. Danger.

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I guess someone forgot to sunscreen his legs? Hmmmm…

Discovery Cove was so much fun! If you ever have an opportunity to go, I say GO!!! We had a blast and would do it all again in a heart beat.

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I make the mask and snorkel look work, don’t I? πŸ˜‰

My parents were in town this afternoon, so we met them, my sister, and Anthony at Seito for dinner.

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Maddie joined us as well.

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I’ve always wanted to order a bento box

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Miso Soup

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Bento Box with goyzas, sashimi, sushi, rice, and salad.

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I ate it all, minus the rice. Anyone else out there not a white rice fan? It has no flavor. I don’t get why people like it so much?!?!

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And with that it’s time to say good night. πŸ™‚

Good night!

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beth May 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Wow looks like a BLAST!! I can’t believe you got to kiss a dolphin and ride one – awesome!! And I love bento boxes.. a little bit of everything!

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2 [email protected] May 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

What an amazing day! I live in Tampa and I had no idea Discovery Cove even existed. Now I want to go too. That’s great that it’s all inclusive once you are there for the day!

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3 missyrayn May 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I’m super jealous of the dolphin swimming. I want to do it some day. Hunni and I are planning on an Orlando trip sometime in the next year or two and that would be great!

I only like white rice if it has cilantro and lime.

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4 Beth @ fatbustermack May 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I am so jealous! That has been my dream forever. Happy late birthday!

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5 Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 15, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Wow that sounds like one AMAZING day!! And what a way to be proposed to for that girl.. so sweet!

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6 Sana May 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

This looks sooo amazing! I went to San diego when I was 10 and I still remember sea world!!
You had the best b-day ever!!

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7 rachel May 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm

It looks like you had a great time! Swimming with dolphins is definitely on my bucket list πŸ™‚

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8 Leah May 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm

What an amazing day!!! LOVE the dolphin kissing picture!

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9 Emily May 15, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Wow! That place looks amazing! I want to go now!!

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10 Lea May 15, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Hey there are a few girls we went to high school who work there. Who was in your group? I’m curious now lol!!

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11 Kilee Johnson May 16, 2010 at 12:07 am

Awww… It looks like you two had such a fun day! Thanks for sharing all the photos. I’m now dreaming of taking my own little trip there. Have a great night!

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12 Kellie May 16, 2010 at 12:25 am

What an incredible day! I loved reading this post. It makes me want to save to take my kids to Florida.

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13 RIka May 16, 2010 at 12:48 am

this is amazing!! i didn’t know such a thing existed! thanks for the post, i’ll definitely put it in my bucket list πŸ˜€

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14 Rachael May 16, 2010 at 1:10 am

All of these photos are amazing!! You are rockin’ the pigtails πŸ™‚ I especially love the photo of you attempting to kiss the bird. Happy Belated Birthday, it looks like you had a blast!!

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15 Jessie May 16, 2010 at 1:34 am

I used to go to Seito with my roommate all the time when I lived in Orlando! Seriously it was probably once a week. We used to always to go the one in Winter Park Village. As soon as you said bento box I instantly thought of that restaurant and it having one of the best bento boxes, something clicked and I realized that was the same place. Oh, memories. It looks like you had fun at Discovery Cove, I’ve always wanted to go.

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16 Samantha May 16, 2010 at 1:52 am

No doubt the smiles on your face made Derek more than happy to have treated you in such a cool way. How awesome…looks like a blast! Must do this with our kids when we’re stateside again.

And for the record, in a recent post you mentioned being a few lbs heavier but not stressing over it. For what its worth, you still look great and have a very real body.

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17 chasingthenow May 16, 2010 at 2:02 am

This looks absolutely amazing! What a memorable experience!!!

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18 britchickruns May 16, 2010 at 3:27 am

What an amazing day/birthday present!! I am DEFINETLY going on holiday to Florida now – the themeparks, the weather, and now that place! You are so lucky πŸ™‚

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19 Karen May 16, 2010 at 3:44 am

That looks like a brilliant day!
I love that they have a bunch of different things to do as well as the dolphin swim.

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20 Diana May 16, 2010 at 6:05 am

Aw, I love dolphins. πŸ™‚

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21 Anne P May 16, 2010 at 7:55 am

Aww that looks SO fun! I love how dolphins always looks like they’re smiling πŸ™‚

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22 Matt May 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

Wow that sounds like fun!

I seriously despise brown rice.

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23 Krista May 16, 2010 at 8:41 am

Discovery cove sounds amazing! I think my kids would love the place. Maybe a trip to Florida is in order???

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24 Lindsay May 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

WOW! That looks like sooooooo much fun! I’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins…it’s still on the bucket list. Seeing your experience just makes me want to do it even more than I already did. Seems like you had a real once-in-a-lifetime experience at Discovery Cove! Right on!

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25 Therese Lean May 16, 2010 at 8:51 am

Oh wow! What an experience! I seriously need to get down to Florida (AND find someone who’ll swim with the sting rays with me)!

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26 Jenna May 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

Fun dayyy!

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27 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) May 16, 2010 at 10:18 am

best post ever!!!!!! i was so jealous reading this… how awesome! glad you had a great time!

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28 Bridget May 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

Looks like you had a great time! My aunt took a class to Discovery Cove, and I was so jealous! I’ll have to try and go sometime after I return stateside…

I’m not a big fan of white rice, either. We eat it at lunch almost every day. I hate to waste it, but sometimes I can’t eat it all. Why they don’t eat brown rice baffles me. All in all though, your bento box looked pretty tasty and authentic!

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29 fitandfortysomething May 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

Oh what an amazing day! It looks like so much fun πŸ™‚ I wonder if there is place to go here in so cal? I may have to research it!

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30 Leslie May 16, 2010 at 10:50 am

Looks like you had a great time. Such an awesome birthday gift!

You really need to watch The Cove. I would love to know what you think about it after your dolphin experience today.

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31 She-Fit May 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

WOW! This place looks amazing. Sounds like you guys had a great time. I love all the pictures. It’s beautiful over there

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32 Erica May 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

WOW! What a fabulous day! It seems like a first class experience for sure. You guys are just adorable. Such a great present

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33 amandapanda1981 May 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

Wow that place sounds awesome!!! I always wanted to try a Bento box too. I agree that white rice sucks…I normally try to get opt for brown rice whenever possible. Normally at most places they give you the fried…can’t win them all!! LoL

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34 Andrea May 16, 2010 at 11:30 am

Looks like a super fun day! The picture of you kissing the dolphin is adorable. I would frame it.

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35 Jenny May 16, 2010 at 11:37 am

Looks like an awesome day! I’ve always wanted Togo there!! I like to spread icing around on my cupcakes too:)

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36 Hatty May 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

I LOVE DISCOVERY COVE!
i went there in 2004 when my family took me to florida and it was sooooo amazing!
looks like you had a fab day πŸ˜€

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37 Dynamics May 16, 2010 at 11:51 am

Amazon.com has a deal of the day, today, Sunday for 124.99 Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receive with HRM. Regularly 299.99. WOW a whopping 58% off. Hope this helps

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38 Ashley May 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Aw I’m glad you loved it!

Gawd I wanna go back. What an awesome boyfriend you have! I wish I get that lucky some day!

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39 Morgan May 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

While I am sure swimming with dolphins is incredible, it is not their natural habitat. I encourage you to research where Discovery Cove and Sea World gets their animals. It’s not something I think animal lovers should support and if no one went there, they’d be forced to close and not take animals out of their world.

And the crotch shot is not something I would expect to see on a wholesome blog such as yours.

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40 [email protected] May 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Omfg!!! I’m going to Orlando next month and had nooo idea discovery cove was all inclusive!! I literally sol: screamed out loud! And bento boxes are my fave!! Seriously.. Can Derek email my bf for gift buying tips?

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41 caronae May 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm

That sounds like such an amazing adventure! I love how Liko is smiling in the picture where you’re giving him a kiss. Watch out Derek! πŸ™‚

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42 Jayce May 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Looks like an awesome time! I love how you said “for once” Derek was right, lol. πŸ™‚

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43 Sammy May 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm

OMG, putting this place on my “desperately need to visit” list. It looks so awesome!!!!

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44 luckytastebuds May 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Ahh this was such a great recap! I’ll have to check that out when i go visit Florida one day. Thank you for taking incredible pictures and sharing your experience. πŸ™‚

I’m Asian and i hate white rice. hahah I grew up in Hong Kong and even so, the bland flavor doesn’t cut it for me…However, with that being said, I have fond memories of me eating a bowl of white rice mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil. It was a strange childhood favorite. hehehe

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45 runningwithsass May 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm

how fun!!! I have never been, looks like a blast. I have always wanted to swim with dolphins!

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46 Mary May 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm

What a great day!! It looks like a blast!!! πŸ™‚

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47 hundredtenpounds May 17, 2010 at 12:17 am

What a cool vacation!!! I’ve always wanted to try snorkeling!

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48 zoe May 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

what fun! dolphins are super cute πŸ™‚

and BLEH i hate white rice! always have…it’s so boring!

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49 Kelly May 17, 2010 at 10:54 am

Wow that looks so amazing!!! I did the same sort of thing at the Atlantis resort last year and it was so fun!

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50 Johanna B May 17, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I am seriously jealous of your experience with the dolphins. Another life-list item added.

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51 Sweet and Fit May 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm

this needs to be added to your favorite posts tab!

loved this post, what an incredible gift =)

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52 kirsten May 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

That place looks awesome!! Looks like you guys had a great time! πŸ™‚

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53 Kacey Mullins February 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I was just wondering what type of camera you used. I’m going to discovery cove in March and am looking for a cheap underwater camera to take with me for my vacation. Please let me know! Thanks!

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