The newly opened Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction at Discovery Cove, is a wading adventure that brings you face-to-face with animals in a natural environment.
As you walk up to the Freshwater Oasis at one of the several entry points, you quickly realize that’s this is yet another unique experience you will only find by visiting Discovery Cove!
In the Oasis, you can relax and explore as you wade, swim, and float in the water-filled trails to discover marmoset monkeys on a serene island and playful Asian otters in a beautiful setting.
The unique waterways that make up the Oasis are waist-deep or shallower, and are filled with twists, turns, nooks, and crannies to explore. While you are walking and wading along the trails, you are going to want to make sure that you pay close attention to the terrain under your feet since like you would expect to find out in a natural setting the bottom is uneven and can be rough at times. I did not wear water shoes into the Freshwater Oasis, and while I was never uncomfortable it was easy to get caught up into the scenery around you and to lose focus and take a step that makes you go a little off course.
The water in the Freshwater Oasis is kept on the warmer side, so it is very comfortable to stay in for a longer period of time. Also while it was a sunny day, the beautifully designed rainforest canopy and well placed waterfalls did a great job of keeping us cool as we ventured into the Oasis.
Another unique feature of the Freshwater Oasis is the many areas that are available to just stop and enjoy your surroundings. My favorite was the In-Water Relaxation Station, where you can relax and soak up the sunshine or enjoy a beverage while lounging on the brightly colored and super comfortable sunken chairs and lounges that are built into the area. The Relaxation Station is conveniently located next to one of the several refreshment stands, and I have to admit that I spent a good amount of time there enjoying a nice cold drink and talking about how my daughter would want an otter as a pet.
The Freshwater Oasis is home to Asian small-clawed otters and Marmosets, and the way that you view them is an amazing experience.
When you are in the Freshwater Oasis, you wade past rocks and trees to encounter the thriving, lush habitat of the Asian small-clawed otter. The otters that reside in the Freshwater Oasis are a litter, so they play together as only brothers and sisters can! Watch as these active mammals romp and play their way through their naturalistic environment, and swim figure-eight’s around tree stumps. Experience the lively energy of the otter in an up-close-and-personal way, without ever having to leave the water. In addition to watching them in this great environment, there are animal specialists around who are there to answer any questions you may have about these cute inhabitants of the Freshwater Oasis.
The smallest of all otters, the Asian-small clawed otter weighs between two and eleven pounds. Native to Southeast Asia - in areas from Indonesia, to China, to India – these playful animals can be found in the most scenic of surroundings in Freshwater Oasis.
When you go into otter viewing area, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. The first thing that you will notice is that this area is slightly smaller than the normal size of the trails, darker, and full of elements that jut out into the trail, so you will want to make sure that you pay attention to what is around you as you are watching the otters. If you want a wider view of the otter habitat, there is a ledge that you can sit on that is opposite of the glass divider. If you are going to take pictures make sure that you turn your flash off, because if you keep it on your pictures will be full of reflections and not cute otters. And finally, if you have a waterproof camera grab some snorkel gear (included with your admission to Discovery Cove) and go under the water near the glass divider to watch the otters from an extremely unique perspective.
Here is a video that I took of the otters playing with an interview of one of the animal specialists about the otters living in the Oasis.
Swim through waist-deep water to the center of Freshwater Oasis, or view from a scenic pathway, an island abundant with life. There will be no glass separating guests from the marmoset monkeys that call the idyllic island home. Look and listen as these agile animals leap from tree to tree, and watch in wonder as they run upside-down on the branches. Experience a whole new world, right in front of your eyes.
Marmoset monkeys are native to the rainforest and upper canopies of South America. If they can’t be spotted up in the tip-top of the trees, these highly-active animals can be heard communicating through a variety of unique sounds including whistles, squeaks, clicks, and trills. Only weighing a pound when fully grown, marmosets are unique animals to take in.
The island that the marmosets live on is rather large, and takes a while to get around but it is totally worth it! The trails around this island are where I found that the terrain changed the most, so you want to be extra careful in this area. The marmosets have several areas where they eat, play, and just hang out so take your time peeking around every corner and into every tree to see them. Also, there are some really cute houses that they climb on and around!
And while I have been to discovery cove before, I have to say that spending most of my day in the Freshwater Oasis was a truly amazing and unique experience! The Freshwater Oasis is truly a great addition to Discovery Cove, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit this boutique park you really should!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelley Caran moved to Celebration, Florida a little while ago from Virginia, but has had a passion for Disney World and SeaWorld since her first visit in 1986. She is a wife and stay-at-home Mom, who never seems to stay at home! She loves to take pictures, talk about her adventures, and what is important to know as you are on the go in the Orlando and Tampa attractions. In addition to her own site, On the Go in MCO (www.onthegoinmco.com) she is a contributor for Touring Plans (www.touringplans.com).