I fly in into Orlando slightly before launch day. There are two good reasons for that: a) I don't want to view the launch with a jetlag problem and b) I didn't get any other flights. Obviously, b) was the prime decision driver behind it. And, yes, its not easy to find flights so soon before departure (except, of course, if you are in for business class, which I am not ;)).
So I arrive a little bit to early. Question now: what to do? Of course, visiting Kennedy Space Center is a good thing to do before launch. And I will definitely do that (I'll write more about this later).
There was one thing that I also always wanted to do and never had a chance to: Sea World offers a special attraction park "Discovery Cove", where you can swim with Dolphins! Sure, its only for a brief period of time (approx. 30 minutes), but your front-row is guaranteed. I've pasted their advertising picture right at the top of my blog and hope that the experience will at least be somewhat close to what the picture promises. Sea World promises the dolphin swim is not causing stress to the animals and everything is OK from that perspective. I hope it is so.
I couldn't resist to try it out. You need to make an advance reservation for Discovery Cove. In high season you typically need to book many weeks in advance. I discovered that a space shuttle launch is somewhat similar to high season - the launch week was quickly sold out. So fast, I couldn't get hold of any tickets. But yesterday some became available. As soon as I noticed that, I booked! And now I am a proud owner of a ticket for the 21st, 2 days before launch. Which also permits me to go to Kennedy Space Center on the 22nd. GREAT!
As a side note, discovery cove is a full-day attraction. You 30-minute dolphin swim is scheduled some time over that day. You get half an our briefing in before the session. In the mean time, you can wade through a ray lagoon, feed tropical birds and swim and snorkel through a tropical reef. It almost sounds too good to be true. Well, I'll see. I guess I keep everyone updated on that, too ;)
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