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Close Encounters

Be the first to swim with the fishes at Florida's new Discovery Cove


There's a good chance your kids won't leave you alone until you take them to the much-hyped Discovery Cove in Orlando. In a way, you can't blame them: At the soon-to-be-opened attraction, visitors will enjoy a massive man-made beach, a tropical aviary, snorkeling around an artificial coral reef and -- most important -- the chance to nuzzle with live dolphins (as well as stingrays and glassed-in sharks). Marine biologists will be in the water, too, handing out fish food and answering questions. But do yourself a favor and drive an extra 40 minutes to Lake Wales to stay at the Chalet Suzanne, a 30-room inn and restaurant that has maintained its quirky character for 70 years. There's a cannery on the site -- the Chalet is locally famous for their romaine soup -- a ceramics studio, a vineyard, and elaborate mosaics everywhere. Request the Balcony Suite; in the morning, breakfast is delivered to your private balcony by dumbwaiter from the restaurant below.

Details Discovery Cove, 877-4discovery or admission including lunch and Dolphin Encounter, $179); Chalet Suzanne, 800-433-6011 (doubles with breakfast start at $169).


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