Busch Gardens Tampa
is a 335-acre family theme park that recreates the sites and sounds of Africa with an array of fascinating attractions. The park is divided into eight different regions, and includes one of the nation’s premier zoos with more than 2,700 animals, along with thrill rides, an entertainment center, shops and a 1,200-seat Moroccan Palace Theater that features an ice-skating show. Busch Gardens Tampa is really an amusement park and zoo combined into one and it appeals to a variety of age groups. For your convenience, restaurants, snack bars and juice stands are located throughout the park, and wheel chair seating is available at all facilities. Other services inside the park include strollers, wheelchairs, lockers and climate-controlled pet kennels available for rental, along with diaper changing areas, first aid, foreign currency exchange, 24-hour automated teller machines and taxi and bus parking. Busch Gardens is located at the corner of Busch Boulevard and 40th Street, approximately eight miles northeast of downtown Tampa, and one hour from Orlando. Take Interstate 275 in Tampa to the Busch Boulevard exit (exit 33). Turn east (left) onto Busch Boulevard and follow the signs.
Busch Gardens Tampa Address and Phone Number
Busch Gardens Tampa
3605 E. Bougainvillea Ave.
Tampa, FL 33612
Busch Gardens Tampa Rides and Attractions
One of the best ways to see Busch Gardens is to start at “Egypt” and make a circle around the park in order from the entrance gate. The 335-acre park is divided into eight different regions, and the 7-acre Egypt contains a museum, shopping bazaars and an inverted steel roller coaster called Montu. At the Timbuktu area, you will find a dolphin theater, a German restaurant, the Myombe Reserve (with gorillas and chimpanzees,) and an entertainment center. Visitors can also take an African safari through the Edge of Africa, a 15-acre animal theme park, which is located at the Serengeti Plain. The Trans Veldt Railroad also circles the Serengeti and is a great way to sit back and relax while viewing the scene. The Morocco area has all kinds of shops and cafes and is home to the impressive 1,200-seat Moroccan Palace Theater, which features an ice skating show. All throughout the park are special exhibits such as an animal nursery, bird garden and a rare white tigers exhibit. Another exciting opportunity to view the animals is with the two-hour, behind the scenes Animal Adventure Tour, which features some of Busch Gardens most exotic animals. The parks’ education specialist and animal care staff host this tour, and it involves a walking safari with an off-road truck tour. Along the tour, you’ll encounter hippos, giraffes, elephants, black rhinos and Clydesdales. Children must be five years of age or older to go on this tour, and guests should wear hats and sunscreen.
The thrill rides are the other big draw to Busch Gardens, starting with Gwazi, the mammoth double wooden roller coaster that is the Southeast’s largest and fastest of its’ kind. Named after the fabled lion with a tiger’s head, Gwazi takes passengers on an unbelievably fast ride through almost 7,000 feet of track on two distinct coasters that are intertwined. You must be over 48 inches tall to ride Gwazi. Another coaster, Montu, is one of the tallest and longest inverted roller coasters in the world, and a new roller coaster at the park called Sheikra, goes higher than any other roller coaster in the state (200 feet,) as it twists and plunges at 70mph. There are also several water rides at Busch Gardens, including the Tanganyiki Tidal Wave, Stanley Falls and the Congo River Rapids. Land of the Dragons is where you’ll find numerous kids’ rides and an Enchanted Forest, and Lory Landing is another popular place with children, where they can feed the nectar crazy lorikeets.
Other attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa includes KaTonga, a 35-minute musical celebration of animal folklore, and R.L. Stine’s Haunted Lighthouse, a “frightening” 4-D tale starring Christopher Lloyd. King Tut’s Tomb is a replica of the famous Kings’ burial site, and there is even a skyride at Busch Gardens that takes you over the spectacular scenery from one end to the other, for an awesome birds-eye view of the park.
Busch Gardens Tampa History
The history of Busch Gardens Tampa goes back to the 1950s when beer-brewer Anheuser-Busch opened a beer garden (offering free beer) and a bird show in front of its new brewery in Tampa Bay. Millions of people visited. This prompted animal-lover August A. Busch Jr. to add the 70-acre Serengeti Plains, which included free-roaming elephants, giraffes, etc. It opened in 1965 and became a model for animal parks around the world. The Sky Ride was added in the 70s, along with more African areas, and the Python and Scorpion roller coasters were built in the 80s. The brewery, meanwhile, closed in 1995, but visitors can still get free beer at the hospitality center in the park.
Busch Gardens Tampa Park Map (click on map for larger view)