Discovery Cove with Elderly Relatives

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It was in 2004 that we last visited Discovery Cove when my niece was six. In 2015 we were visiting Florida in September where we were due to celebrate her eighteenth birthday and she was given the choice of where she wanted a day out. Her response was quickly “Discovery Cove! ’ We haven’t been for years! ” The only thing that was worrying us slightly was that we had my 85 year old mother with us this time and she suffers from poor mobility and memory loss. Anyway, we decided to go ahead anyway and made a booking for the date of the birthday. It wasn’t too difficult to get our chosen date as unlike on our previous visit it wasn’t in the school holidays.

There was my sister and brother in law, eighteen and twenty six year old daughters and myself and my mother. We decided that we would book four places to swim with dolphins so I could stay with her while the others swam. We were considering booking a cabana so that we would have had a place to base ourselves but as it happened none were available.

The day arrived and we excitedly made the journey from our villa at Highlands Reserve. It was a gorgeous day with beautiful blue skies and the first thing mum did was buy herself a new larger sunhat! We hired her a wheelchair with special inflatable tyres and though not too easy to push on the sand, it certainly made things easier as she always had somewhere to sit.

Mum isn’t an early riser so we didn’t get there in time for the breakfast but we all thoroughly enjoyed the buffet lunch. It wasn’t too difficult to find seats and the quality and quantity of food was superb.

Mum was absolutely mesmerized by the surroundings and we found one part where we could push her in the wheelchair through shallow water which she loved. It really made her feel part of the day out. We all loved seeing the sloth brought out for a cuddle at one of the feeding stations and my niece chose a fluffy version of her own to take home for a present!

We kept moving Mum around the park so that she was always within sight and she was happy and relaxed; on reflection I don’t think that a cabana would really have been used that much.

When the others went to swim with dolphins we found a spot on the beach overlooking them which meant Mum and I had a really good view. They enjoyed swimming and interacting with dolphins as much as they did last time (and this time realised it was better to go with the full wetsuit rather than the short one as the water is so cold) While they were looking at the photographs that had been taken, the staff member who had swam with them spent quite a while talking to Mum and I about the dolphins and really made her feel part of the occasion.

It was definitely a very successful day, enhanced by the way that Mum was treated by the staff. We wondered if she would cope but it was a fabulous day which gave us many wonderful memories and I would recommend it to anybody with an elderly or disabled relative particularly at an off-peak time of year.

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