Travelers may know a bit about Busch Gardens, Disney’s rival theme park in the Sunshine State. However, those that have never been there for themselves may not quite understand how much this amazing park has to offer. With its incredible attractions and constant expansion, travelers will always find something new and exciting at Busch Gardens,
Busch Gardens offers an incredible chance for day-trippers to experience the thrills of a themed amusement park at an accessible and convenient value, making it a popular go-to for years. With four million people passing through its gate, it is doing something right. Here is a guide to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida.
What To Know About Busch Gardens, Tampa
Busch Gardens is well-known for its amazing attractions that have kept people coming for years. From the numerous animals that call it home to thrilling roller coasters, this 335-acre park has been a go-to destination for years. With four million individuals passing through its gates annually, it is the second among SeaWorld parks in Florida. Here's a little look at the timeline for how it came to be what it is today.
- 1957–1959 - Busch Brewery and Gardens
- 1959–1968 - Additions and African veldt
- 1969–1975 - Boma and themed area expansions
- 1975–1989 - The Dark Continent and continued expansion
- 1990–1999 - Animal habitats and thrill additions
- 2000–present - Continued additions and expansions
When To Visit Busch Gardens
For those looking for the best time to visit this park, that would be just about any Monday or Tuesday. Historically this has held up, as lower crowd numbers are constantly reported for those days. The meaning is quite obvious, fewer people mean shorter lines for just about everything, especially for rides and food. The park will even incentivize those days by dropping ticket prices to help draw more people. However, the numbers are reliably low on those days, making the ideal days to plan a trip.
- Park Hours - 10 am to 6 pm
- Best Arrival Time - Between 10 am and 12 pm
Costs & Attractions At Busch Gardens
Being as well known as it is, many are aware that many may believe they have an idea of what Busch Gardens offers. However, it is hard to truly grasp until travelers visit. With 12,000 animals and record-setting roller coasters, there is much for travelers to do at Busch Gardens Tampa.
- Single Day Ticket - $89.99, (including dining) $129.99
- Annual Pass - From $156 to $420, details
- Full List of Attractions
The Morocco-themed section of the park also serves as the park’s main entrance. Here, visitors can purchase sweet treats from Sultan Sweets and the Zagora café. The Moroccan Parlance, a theater, can be found here along with the Iron Gwazi, built on the site of the Gwazi. This is a new hybrid iron and wood coaster. Visitors can also take a ride on Gwazi Gliders, which had formerly been located in the Congo section.
- Myombe Reserve - a 3-acre (12,000 m2) home for six lowland gorillas and nine chimpanzees located in Nairobi, opened in 1992.
- Moroccan Palace - A palace-themed theater nearby the Myombe Reserve chimpanzee entrance.
- Iron Gwazi - a hybrid wooden-steel roller coaster. In 2019, Busch Gardens Tampa announced that a new hybrid coaster would be built on the space where Gwazi once stood.
Sesame Street Safari of Fun
This is the rebranded “Land of the Dragons” children’s section of the park. The park re-themed the section in 2010 after having previously re-themed it in 1995. All the attractions from the previous iterations remain. However, they have added four attractions to the area as the park is constantly growing.
- Telly's Jungle Jam - An interactive play area.
- Rosita's Djembe Fly-Away - A swing ride.
- Bert & Ernie's Watering hole - A water play area.
- Air Grover - A children's roller coaster.
For travelers that love water rides, this is the part of the park to visit. Stanley Falls Flume is thrilling with its 43-foot drop. It is also home to Sheikra, which was the first dive coaster ever constructed in North America, and Tigris, a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II. The African Queen Boat Ride serves as a competition to Disney’s Jungle Cruise and features live animals, including alligators, crocodiles, rhinoceroses, and spider monkeys. Visitors to this section will absolutely stay busy with these attractions.
- SheiKra - A 200-foot (61 m) Bolliger & Mabillard floorless dive roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop.
- Stanley Falls Flume - A log flume with a 43-foot (13 m) drop.
- Tigris - A Premier Rides Sky Rocket II located on the site of Tanganyika Tidal Wave.
This part of the park has remained popular over the years thanks a lot to having two of the most popular rides in the park. The Kumba and Congo River Rapids are a blast; the Kumba offers seven inversions on its track, and the Congo River Rapids is a simple classic as it has been in the park since 1982. Its queue is also quite cool as the Komodo dragon exhibit encompasses it.
- Kumba - Meaning roar in Swahili, is a 143-foot (44 m) steel sit-down roller coaster with seven inversions.
- Congo River Rapids - A rapid river ride opened in 1982. The queue also houses a Komodo dragon exhibit.
- Ubanga Banga Bumper Cars - A bumper car ride.