Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
Florida Guide > Other Parks
Busch Gardens is located approx 60-70 miles west of Orlando near Tampa.
It is a cross between a zoo & a theme park a little bit like Chessington World of Adventures in the UK, only much bigger & better.
Before driving the hour or so from Orlando to Tampa, it may be advisable to ring them to find out if any rides are going to be closed for maintenance etc.
Upon arrival, you are directed to the car park & then board a courtesy bus to the park entrance. There is preferred parking available at an extra cost which will allow you to park nearer the entrance. If you already have tickets you may proceed through the turnstiles. If not purchase your tickets at the kiosk before making your way through.
The park is divided in various areas; each named after an area of Africa.
Go through the entrance and enter ‘Morocco’, collect a park map & familiarise yourself with the layout of the park. Lockers can be found at various locations & cost approx 1 dollar (4 quarters). This is non-returnable so make sure you have everything before locking up or it will cost you another four quarters.
The best advice is to get the big rides out of the way at an early stage. Large queues will build up at peak times of the day so it’s a good idea to plan your route around the park.
Directly ahead of you after entering the park you will be confronted with ‘Gwazi’ a wooden twin coaster which is very deceptive. It may look like a throwback to the 1920s but it is only a few years old & gives a great ride.
Egypt is located to your right as you enter the park & contains a probably the most popular rollercoaster, ‘Montu’. This is a suspended rollercoaster with several loops & twists.
Look at your map & you will see that the water rides are located towards the back left corner of the park. These include the log flume, Tanganyika tidal wave & the rapids. If you’re planning on going on these rides do one of two things, either go on them in the morning so you’ve got the rest of the day to dry off or take a change of clothes with you.
Make no mistake, this is a very large park & your legs & feet will ache if you choose to walk all day.
Make best use of the train & cable cars to get around the park. Be warned though, if you only use these you will miss out on an awful lot. There is plenty to be seen by walking between the various areas. It is better to combine walking & riding.
Staff members are on hand to tell you about many of the resident animals. They even bring some of them out for a hands-on experience. There are many different species including elephants, lions, giraffes, gorillas, alligators, snakes, lizards, birds & so many more.
One of the newer attractions is the brilliantly designed ‘Rhino Rally’, I won’t give anything away but it is certainly worth a visit. There is also ‘R.L. Steins Haunted Lighthouse 4D’, which is currently the newest attraction. This is indoors & lasts for 20-30 minutes – a welcome break from the intense summer heat.
This is a sister park to SeaWorld & is beautifully presented. The gardens are immaculate & fantastically colourful. For ice cream lovers try the waffle cones in ‘Morocco’
Make sure you allow plenty of time for Busch Gardens, because of its size you will need it!
This really is a family park, it has something for everyone whether you’re 8 or 80.
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Page added on: 30 August 2004
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