Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335 acre African themed theme park in Tampa Florida. Currently Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They are also a part of the Tampa CityPASS (learn more here).
This locate was first opened in 1959. There was a brewery that offered beer tasting and a bird garden. Than in 1965 Serengeti Plains opened and let all the African wildlife roam free. Over the years Busch Gardens added more exotic animals, tropical landscapes, and both family friend rides and top of the line thrill rides.
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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the 2nd most visited theme park owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment behind SeaWorld Orlando. 3.9 million people visited Busch Gardens Tampa in 2017.
There are currently 9 yes 9 different roller coasters here. A 10th one will be opening in 2020. One thing SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is know for are their roller coasters. This park is no different.
2019 saw the addition of a ninth roller coaster called Tigirs. Tigirs is Florida’s tallest launch coaster.
Another great coaster for thrill seekers is Sheikra. This roller coaster is 200 feet high and reaches a max speed of 70 miles per hour. Here’s the thrilling part for most. Once you reach the top you stop for about 4 seconds on the first drop. You are looking straight down the 90 degree drop.
No even non thrill junkies can enjoy SheiKra. Head over to the splash zone and get soaking wet when the ride comes through.
Cheetah Hunt is another one of those must ride attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa. This roller coaster was awarded 2nd place for best new ride in 2011. It is still ranked in the top 50 for steel roller coasters.
This isn’t the tallest or fastest roller coaster in Tampa. But it does reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour and the ride last close to 2 minutes.
Other favorites at Busch Gardens Tampa would have to be Scorpion. Scorpion is only 1 of 3 remaining roller coaster of it’s kind. It is the oldest roller coaster here. Ride it today before it becomes just another part of theme park history.
Cobra’s cruse is a spinning roller coaster that will keep you guess each time. Each ride is different as the cobra put’s it curse on you.
Besides all of the roller coasters they have a few other great rides for anyone to enjoy. Check out the Congo River Rapids. This whitewater rafting ride is bond to get you wet. Great for that summer Florida heat.
After you get soaked dry off with Falcon’s Fury. This drop style ride reaches 335 feet into the air. If that is too high for the kids make sure to check out wild surge. It’s a much shorter family friendly drop ride.
Don’t forget in 2020 a brand new roller coaster is coming. Iron Gwazi will be North Americas tallest, fastest, steepest hybrid roller coaster.
FOR THE KIDS
Even though Busch Gardens Tampa is well know for their roller coasters they also have a fantastic kid zone. Come hang out with all your friends over at Sesame Street.
Come over and take the kids to Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Your kids could play for hours in the water areas or in the tree top trails. I remember as a kid playing for hours in the climbing nets at Sesame Place in Langhorne PA.
Sadly Sesame Place removed the nets a few years back. However, here at Busch Gardens Tampa the climbing area is bigger than it ever was in PA. Keep an eye on your kids because they will get lost wondering around.
There are also other areas in the park that have some kid friendly rides. Be sure to check out the Skyride. This cable car ride gives you great views of the animals below.
If you’d rather both feet on the ground check out the Serengeti Express train. This train ride takes you around the many herds of free roaming African animals. Kids and adults will love the spectacular views you can only get on the train.
For an additional fee you can get an even better look by taking the Serengeti Safari Tour. Ride in open air vehicles and listen to the guide tell you stories about the Serengeti habit. You will also get a chance to hand feed giraffes. That’s pretty cool for someone of any age.
As much as Busch Gardens Tampa know for it’s thrill rides. One could also say it is know for it’s animals as well. After all that’s what this location started as at first. A place to view some interesting and exotic animals.
Walking around you will find many different animal exhibits.
Walk around and see Hippos, Flamingos, Lions, Sloths and many more. Watch cheetah’s running freely around the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster. Follow penguins as they splash and swim at penguin point.
Walk around and feed and pet kangaroos. If you ever wanted to get up close and personal to kangaroos check them out over in walkabout way.
Now Busch Gardens is more theme park than zoo. Unlike Disney’s Animal Kingdom which is more zoo than theme park. In saying that you do get some pretty great views of the animals.
You can get some amazing shots of animals if you enjoy that type of thing. I for one love it and is one of the reasons I enjoy visiting these types of places. I can get some amazing photos and my daughter can enjoy all the rides.
Food, Food everywhere. There are so many different places to eat, it will blow your mind. Grab everything from ribs, pizza to burgers. The choices are endless.
If you want to try everything that is offered. Check out the All Day Dining Deal. Pay one price and stop down and eat once every hour. With over 5 different places to pick. The options are endless.
To top it off. The food is pretty good. SeaWorld Entertainment & Parks is really stepping up their food game. While there is always room for improvement. They are heading in the right direction.
So many shops are dotted all around this theme park. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. While they do have some unique offerings like t-shits, pins, and more.
They also have the common stuffed animals, mugs, and picture frames. Don’t get me wrong the stuff is pretty cool. Just wish I had to the room to pick up some more. Next time I’ll be making sure I have the extra space.
There is one thing that is really unique. I don’t think I have come across this on any of my travels. I know not on any recent travels.
Make your own souvenirs in minutes. There are a few of these scattered around the park. There are a few different animals you can choose from. The price was pretty good too. I don’t remember how much they are but I do remember them being under $5.
There are also plenty of the beloved pressed penny machines. I don’t remember seeing any that DID NOT take 2 quarters and a penny. Pretty sure there was no dollar only ones.
Busch Gardens Tampa was one of the reason I ended up getting the Tampa CityPASS. Going here and to one of the other attractions list on the CityPASS will cover the cost of the CityPASS. All of the attractions are top notch.
However, I don’t think you will have as much fun at the others that you will here. From some amazing roller coasters to spectacular views of the African plains. Busch Gardens Tampa has something for everyone in the family.
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