Tide of research rises at Discovery Cove

Guests who swim amongst the tropical fish at Discovery Cove in Orlando now have a new connection to the world’s oceans when they sign up to the Rising Tide Conservation project. Swimming in the park’s Grand Reef, or participating in the SeaVenture underwater dive experience, sees them surrounded by and supporting a conservation research programme designed to help protect the world’s most fragile ocean reefs.

Discovery Cove

Started by SeaWorld, Rising Tide Conservation is a ground-breaking initiative that also includes universities, professional aquarists, aquaculture facilities and retail pet supply companies as partners.

It promotes efforts to breed and raise marine tropical fish in aquaculture facilities rather than collecting them in the wild (the collection of marine tropical fish can cause damage to both the reef and the ecosystem it sustains).

Discovery Cove directly participates in the program by collecting and donating fish eggs that otherwise would not hatch and purchasing fish that have been raised through the programme.

The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove, which all guests can swim and snorkel in, is now home to hundreds of fish that have been aquacultured through this initiative, and hundreds more that are involved in the research program by providing eggs.

Additionally, new for 2016, guests who participate in the SeaVenture programme will directly help support Rising Tide Conservation, as the park is donating five per cent of every programme purchased.

SeaVenture is an ‘underwater walking tour’ through an oceanic world teeming with marine life. Guests wear a dive helmet (SCUBA certification is not required) and come eye-to-eye with sharks; touch unique animals, fish and velvety rays; and are surrounded by schools of feeding fish – all with the open reef as the backdrop.

Agents can visit SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s trade-facing website, The site includes new online training modules, the latest news from the parks, agent offers, incentives and competitions, and a fam trip gallery.

Something brewing in North Carolina

North Carolina is brewing up a storm in April as cities, towns and villages across the state celebrate the fourth-annual NC Beer Month.

North Carolina

From the mountains to the coast, the festival pays homage to locally crafted brews and highlights the current boom in the North Carolina craft beer industry.

At the forefront of the beer scene in not just North Carolina but across the nation in general is the mountain town of Asheville, which is home to several craft beers. The latest is The New Belgium Brewery, which opened its Asheville taproom this month. The taproom is running behind-the-scenes tours throughout April and is hosting exclusive pint nights and tasting events as part of NC Beer Month.

Two other breweries planning to pull the pints for the first time include The New Sarum Brewing in Salisbury, which will hold the grand opening of its new downtown brewery and taproom during NC Beer Month, and The Bond Brothers Beer Co in Cary, whose grand opening was on April 2.

On April 21 the town of Hickory will once again kick off Hickory Hops, featuring hand-crafted beers from more than 50 local microbreweries, along with the Carolina Championship of Beers competition.

Similarly, on April 23 Raleigh’s annual Brewgaloo will celebrate North Carolina beer with live music and local food trucks.