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Best Things to Do at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 17 December 2023
  • Revised 05 January 2024
Best Things to Do at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 17 December 2023
  • Revised 05 January 2024
Best Things to Do at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 17 December 2023
  • Revised 05 January 2024

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay Florida is a treasure trove of entertainment. A theme park and animal sanctuary combined, it has something for everyone. But with so much on offer, it can be difficult to whittle down the best things to do. Luckily, with our expert knowledge of all things Florida holidays, we are here to give you a helping hand when it comes to planning the dream Busch Gardens itinerary. So, get ready to embark on days filled with unforgettable experiences for the wild at heart…

Feel the Thrill 

Busch Gardens is packed to the brim with thrilling rides. For the bravest of the brave, Iron Gwazi awaits. With a 206-foot-tall peak, 91-degree drop, and speeds of up to 76mph, you are sure to feel the adrenaline pumping on this one. Ready to get the heart racing even more? SheiKra’s steep drop and Tigri’s exhilarating array of loops will do the trick. Plus, you will definitely want to get in line for the park’s new addition, Serengeti Flyer. Buckle into the world’s tallest and fastest ride of its kind as you soar high above the 65-acre Serengeti Plain before plunging back down at speeds of up to 68mph. 

Encounter Exotic Animals

What makes Busch Gardens truly stand out amongst other theme parks is the animal residents. Over 200 species, including rhinos, giraffes, sloths, and kangaroos, get world-class care at this Tampa Bay sanctuary. And there are many options for seeing these majestic creatures up close. You can observe animal care first-hand at the Animal Care Centre, ride the Serengeti Express for a safari like no other, or hop over to Walkabout Way, where you can hand feed Aussie’s icon, the Kangaroo. For even more one-on-one time with your favourite animals, Animal Connections is the hub for animal interactions.

Enjoy a Show

If you simply want to kick back, relax, and be entertained, Busch Gardens has a variety of live shows for you to enjoy. Prepare to be mesmerized by the award-winning ice-skating show, Turn it Up. This electrifying display of skills on the ice features spins, gravity-defying jumps, as well as synchronised routines to music and video. Cirque Electric at Stanleyville Theater will equally have you on the edge of your seat with exhilarating acrobatic acts and stunts. And if you’re lucky enough to be there over Christmas, there’s an array of festive shows for all the family. Elmo’s Christmas Wish, Storytime with Mrs. Claus, and the dazzling Holiday in the Sky Fireworks Show are just a few of the treats to expect.

Treat Your Tastebuds

To make the most of your time at Busch Gardens, you will need to fuel yourself well, and luckily there are plenty of options to do just that. Tuck into sumptuous barbecue ribs at Zambia Smokehouse, devour fresh from the oven pizza at Oasis Pizza, or enjoy market-style dining with a side of live entertainment at the Dragon Fire Grill & Pub. For quick bites, Twisted Tails Pretzels, and Dragon Dog can do the trick. Then, when it’s time for dessert, head over to Moroccan Delights for specialty sundaes, floats, and shakes. Plus, don’t forget to check out the newbie in town. Springs Taproom, located in the relaxing Bird Gardens area, features a menu of small bites, classic cocktails, and frozen beverages.

Cool Off With a Water Ride

What better way to cool off from the burning Florida heat than on a rip-roaring water ride? Embark on the ultimate whitewater rafting expedition on Congo River Rapids, where you will be greeted by spouting jets, waterfalls, and a water cave. Or get soaked in the family-friendly favourite, Stanley Falls Flume. Twisting and turning through the lush jungle before a 40-foot splashdown, it’s the perfect choice for those hot Florida days. 

Visit Sesame Street Safari of Fun 

For families with small children, Sesame Street Safari of Fun is an absolute must. Elmo and the gang await with a host of activities to enjoy. Take a ride on Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie or soar through the Sahara with Grover. Then escape the scorching rays in Bert and Ernie’s Splash & Play before relaxing with a heartwarming show all about the beauty of friendship. Plus, get your camera at the ready for meet and greets with your favourite Sesame Street characters. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the fabulous gift shop, where you can take a piece of the street home with you. 

Soak up the Seasonal Atmosphere

Add an extra layer of excitement to your trip with a seasonal visit to Busch Gardens. It hosts various seasonal events throughout the year such as Howl-O-Scream for those looking for a scary good time and Christmas Town when you’re in need of a little more Christmas spirit. Or maybe it’s the party spirit you crave? Their Mardi Gras celebration, complete with limited-time food, cocktails, and live music will have you letting your hair down in no time. And if you head to the park during the summer months, you can take advantage of their extended park hours, meaning more time to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Souvenir Shopping

Discover a wide selection of unique shops at Busch Gardens to pick up the perfect souvenir. Whether you want to keep the holiday memories alive with a t-shirt, keyring, or jewellery, you’re sure to find it here. Nature’s Kingdom is the place to go for all animal-related gifts while Emporium is your one-stop shop for all things Busch Gardens. Or shop market style with a visit to Marrakesh Market and Cobra’s Crypt Marketplace. And if you’re one of the brave ones who took on Iron Gwazi roller coaster, they have a full shop dedicated to letting you boast about it. 

Ready to take a walk on the wild side?  Book your Busch Gardens tickets and award-winning Florida holidays here.

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