Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida has been around since 1959. The African-themed amusement park has been a staple in terms of Florida's bevy of entertainment excursions with shows, wildlife, and more roller coasters than many of its competitors. It is one of the most visited theme parks in the U.S. and is an anchor for the multiplex run by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Busch Gardens is known for it salient wildlife conservation practices as well as its rides. It has more to offer in terms of thrill compared to Universal Studios or Disney World with nine roller coasters and two water rides. This park sees the same amount of volume and the former, meaning that ample planning is needed before you visit these parks. So in case you what to know which roller coaster to ride first, here are five Busch Gardens' rides that are actually worth waiting in line for, as well as five that aren't).
SheiKra opened up in 2006. It became one of the most highly anticipated coasters when it became clear that its 200-foot drop would have passengers linger momentarily over the edge before plummeting them into the darkness. The climb and the drop are the most intense parts of this ride, but with theater-style seating and a floorless car, every minute of this ride the SheiKra
Scorpian is one of the park's oldest coasters, which is why it can seem a bit lack-luster compared to today's thrill rides. It has a single vertical loop, with the rest of the track being pretty low to the ground and simple in terms of twists and turns. Out of all the coasters at this park, the Scorpion will definitely not be missed.
The Cheetah Hunt opened in 2011 and has proven to be one of Busch Gardens' fan-favorite rides. Located in the Edge of Africa section, this yellow and green steel coaster brings passengers on a ride that is not only painstakingly high but is definitely fast. Riders are propelled through a series of twists and loops as the ride takes them upside down and upwards for aerial views of the park. Its speed makes the ride only last about two minutes, but it will definitely get your adrenaline-pumping.
The Phoenix is located in Pantopia alongside Falcon's Fury, the Pantopia Theater, and the Caravan Carousel. The Phoenix has an Egyptian cargo vessel facade that sweeps passengers back and forth through the air, even taking them upside down. This ride has been a popular attraction since it's arrival in the 1980s. However, it is in major need of some renovation and is routinely shut down.
The Montu is a must-ride at Busch Gardens. The blue and yellow tracks are the first thing you see at the entrance to the park. Passenger's feet dangle as they are brought up a deliberately steady climb which lingers just briefly enough before dropping into a steep sloop. You are then instantly brought back up into an upside-down loop before speeding off through the seven inverted tacks. Named after the Egyptian falcon-god of war, the Montu should be at the top of your ride list.
While the Kumba has proven itself to be one of Busch Gardens more enticing coaster rides, it falls short compared to the newer attractions, and even next to rides like Montu or SheiKra. The low-riding coaster is best known for its linear upside down thrills as well as its deafening sounds (which makes sense, since its name means "roar" in Swahili). It used to be a top contender, but considering you have to make the trek all the way to the Congo in the back of the park, don't feel bad if you miss out on this one.
Cobra's Curse is another newer ride that you will find in the Eygpt sector of Busch Gardens. It opened in 2016, and riders have raved about the Mack spinning coaster's innovativeness. The cart, instead of slowly climbing the tracks, is risen on a platform to face the majestic, col0ssal cobra. Then, after a couple of exciting twists and loops, passengers are suddenly yanked backward and taken through a portion of the track blindsided by what dip or turn might be coming up next.
The Sky Ride is mostly used by park visitors to get from one side of the park to the other. It's will take you from Egypt and Stanleyville, though you won't see anything too exciting from your aerial point of view. Though the park is supposed to be brimming with wildlife, it's hard to make out any creatures from this vantage point. Your best bet to get from one side of the park to the other without having to pick your feet up is the Serengeti Express. At least you may get a chance to see some animals on that ride.
Water rides can always be fun at Florida theme parks because the heat is unrelenting. Plus, rides like the Congo River Rapids may not leave you completely drenched. It's part of the fun for this ride, as the rapid's unpredictable turns and drops will choose a new victim to get soaked on every ride. There are even water guns on the overhead bridge so other park-goers can use their coins to try to get the Congo River Rapid riders even wetter.
The second water ride at Busch Gardens is the Stanley Fall Flume. This ride is pretty tame as a log-shaped boat carries riders through the river, with a small backstory filling in the awaited space. There's a 43-foot drop at the climax of the ride, but there are several intentional bumps along the way which slows down the pace of the log flume boat. Compared to water rides like Disney World's Splash Mountain or even Universal's Jurassic Park water drop ride, this one doesn't quite meet expectations.