Busch Gardens, Tampa
As Disney found out with it's newest addition to its
fleet of Theme Parks, Animal Kingdom. There's only so much that you
can do with a Theme Park themed around 'live animals.' Busch Gardens
is certainly no different, and after all, they were the first to
venture into this type of Theme Park...
Billed 'From Wildlife to Wild Rides,' at Busch Gardens you're sure to
find some very distinct and different areas including a dizzying
array of 'world-renowned' roller coasters, water rides or the 'live'
animal exhibits of the Serengeti Plains. So in sense, we might best
describe Busch Gardens as a combination of things: part Amusement
Park, part Theme Park, part Water Park and part Zoo...
Over the years Busch Gardens has added many things, as once upon a
time, Busch Gardens was simply known for either Roller Coasters or
their Animals Exhibits - those were basically your choices. But
things have changed considerably (they always do, right?) as they
now offer the following rides, shows and exhibits as part of the
main highlights here:
Tanganyika Tidal Wave - Enjoy a peaceful jungle journey aboard
your 20-passenger boat which all climaxes with a sudden plunge down
a 55-foot drop! You're sure to get soaking wet on this one!
Stanley Falls - Just like 'Splash Mountain' at Disney's Magic
Kingdom Theme Park in the Orlando area, here you'll board a 'Log
Flume' water ride that takes you through a journey that's sure to
end with a 'Big Splash!'
Kumba - Described as a 'blood curling' thrill ride, we would
have to agree with this assessment from our personal experience.
Plunging, twisting and spiraling, you'll actually experience
'weightlessness' as part of your journey!
Montu - One of tallest, 'floorless' Roller Coasters in the
World! Vertical loops and speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. All
topped off with a G-force of 3.85!
Gwazi - A blast from the past! Gwazi is the Southeast's largest
and fastest 'wooden roller coaster!' More like a bobsled with 7,000
feet of track!
Python - Just like the name would imply - A twisting, turning
'double spiraling' corkscrew combined with a 70 foot plunge just to
get you started!
Scorpion - Terrifying drops and loops, and all at incredible
King Tut's Tomb (a realistic replica of the Boy King's Tomb,
which was excavated in the the early 1920's), Serengeti Railway
(a leisurely encounter with Busch Garden's famed 'free-roaming'
herds of African Animals. Makes several stops through the Park),
Skyride (get a 'bird's-eye' view of Busch Gardens from a vantage
point high above the Park. Takes you from one end of Busch Gardens
to the other), Rhino Rally (an 'off road' adventure that
allows you to get up close and personal with some of the African
Animals featured here), Edge of Africa (a 'safari' experience
billed as one of the most intense ones that you'll find outside of
Africa!), Myombe Reserve (a lush forest environment where you'll be
able to view gorillas and chimpanzees in a realistic, naturalistic
setting), Serengeti Plain (really the centerpiece of the
Park. Can be experienced in several different ways: by Skyride, by
Railway, by Safari or by Walkways - It's sure to be one of your
highlights here!), R.L Stine's Haunted Lighthouse (newest of
the attractions added in 2003. State-of-the-art 3D 'Special effects'
combined with multi-sensory surprises!).
For The Children Only
Land of Dragons - A 3-story tall tree house, an enchanted
forest and a variety of rides and slides.
If you've ever wanted to visit Africa, Busch Gardens is probably the
closest you'll ever get, as throughout the Park, most everything,
most every ride is themed (or named) around something, somewhere or
someone related to the 'Dark Continent.' More than a Zoo, more than
an Amusement Park, Busch Gardens can be a delightful day for most
any age. Figure on about a 1 Hour drive from the Walt Disney World
Resort Area. Then head west on Interstate 4 (I-4) towards Tampa
(just follow the signs as you begin to enter the Tampa Area). Most
Orlando hotels will have the Busch Gardens Brochure in their lobby,
which also includes detailed instructions of how to get there.
Time Needed to Visit: 1 Very Full
Minimum Height Requirements:
54" (1.37m) or taller: Kumba, Montu
48" (1.22m) or taller: Tanganyika Tidal Wave, Gwazi, Python
42" (1.07m) or taller: Congo River Rapids, Scorpion