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Why Animal Lovers Should Visit Busch Gardens in 2023

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 November 2022
  • Revised 23 November 2022
Why Animal Lovers Should Visit Busch Gardens in 2023
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 November 2022
  • Revised 23 November 2022
Why Animal Lovers Should Visit Busch Gardens in 2023
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 November 2022
  • Revised 23 November 2022

Despite being best known for its thrill-seeking attractions, the Sunshine State is an ecologically diverse paradise for animal and nature lovers alike. You can laze on hundreds of miles of white-sand beaches along the Gulf and Gold Coasts, explore the nature-rich waterways of the Florida Everglades and uncover underwater mysteries while scuba diving in the Florida Keys - always beside exotic wildlife. From bottlenose dolphins to great blue herons.  

With so much surrounding natural beauty and animals, Floridians are fiercely committed to the preservation and safety of the wildlife in their state. And with more than 120 million visitors each year here, it is imperative that tourism impacts Florida’s ecosystem and natural landscape as little as possible for future generations. Popular attractions like SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, and Busch Gardens at Tampa Bay are more than just theme parks, they provide a crucial role in the conservation of local wildlife and beyond and have been doing so for more than 50 years.

A trip to Busch Gardens or SeaWorld is not just a fun day out riding some of the best rollercoasters in the world – although that is still an awesome part of it – your visits are actively supporting the upkeep, safety, and growth of hundreds of species of plants and animals in Florida, including birds, manatees, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and other critically endangered and threatened creatures.

So let’s dive into the wildlife world of Busch Gardens and explore even more reasons why it’s a must-visit destination for animal lovers in 2023...

Why Busch Gardens?

Part theme park, part natural wonder, Busch Gardens is a 335-acre family adventure. Its fascinating attractions are based on exotic explorations from around the world, offering award-winning safaris and high-octane rides. Located in Tampa Bay only about 90 minutes drive from Orlando, Busch Gardens also makes for an easy day out if you’re not planning on staying long on the Gulf Coast. But it’s also another great reason to spend a few days by the sea, with the beautiful Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg right on your doorstep.

Specialising in the care of over 200 species of animals including giraffes, rhinos, tigers, lions  elephants, gorillas and primates, alligators, snakes, reptiles, tropical birds and antelope, Busch Gardens is home to a state-of-the-art Animal Care Center, which offers visitors a first-hand view of world-class treatments, surgeries, and procedures on the animals each day.

Located across the path from the Asian Elephant habitat, the Animal Care Center is usually open by late morning or early afternoon when procedures are being carried out, allowing visitors a sneak peek behind the curtains of the examination or operating rooms through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The schedule changes constantly so every day brings something new to observe!

Book the Animal Care Center Behind-the-Scenes Tour, which gives you hands-on experience and access to the labs, treatment rooms and surgical suites where you can watch professional veterinarians at work with these amazing animals. 

The Center runs like a hospital and features a pharmacy, utility room for sterilising and storing important equipment, radiology room for x-rays, three specific wards for mammals, reptiles, and birds, as well as an intensive care unit for animals who need extra special monitoring and care.

Busch Gardens is also home to some of the world’s best rides, including the mighty Kumba, the breathtaking Tigris, the extreme heights of SheiKra - with its 90° vertical drop from 200ft - plus Iron Gwazi, the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid coaster. Or in other words, they're not for the faint-hearted!

Alongside this white-knuckle action are family-friendly shows, jam-packed events scheduled throughout the year, educational safaris and tours, restaurants, shops and loads of child-friendly activities.

Rescue and Rehabilitation at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Busch Gardens is part of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, one of the world's foremost zoological organisations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry, and veterinary care. The SeaWorld Rescue team are on call 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned animals. From the ongoing efforts of saving injured sea turtles caught up in fishing gear to the world’s largest and most successful manatee rescue operation, they have rescued over 40,000 animals as of 2022. However, the end goal is always to return these precious animals to their natural habitats.

2003 saw the inception of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens conservation fund and since then, more than $19 million in grants has been donated to over 1,391 organisations helping animals in need in the US and overseas. This includes partnering up to research and help with the conservation of coral reefs, sustainable fishing, humane farming, and the challenges we’re facing when it comes to ocean pollution.

More Ways to Get Up-Close and Personal With Animals

Fancy going behind the scenes to witness some of this incredible work in action? SeaWorld and Busch Gardens offer exclusive educational tours and experiences for you to meet some of their patients, learn about animal care and chat with the park keepers themselves.

Fun Facts:

•    Did you know the word pinniped is the collective name for sea lions, walruses and seals? 85% of marine mammals  rescued by SeaWorld Parks are Pinnipeds, that’s more than 8500 in total
•    April 25th is World Penguin Day (yes, it’s a thing) and there’s no better place to celebrate it than at SeaWorld or Busch Garden parks, which are home to ten different species of our wobbly feathered friends! 
•    Busch Gardens is home to the vast 65-acre Serengeti Plain®, allowing giraffes, zebras, antelope, and ostriches to freely roam – hop on the Serengeti Express Train or the Serengeti Safari Tour for a chance to watch these majestic animals in action

Ready for a Walk on the Wild Side?

The SeaWorld Parks are as much about education as they are about entertainment - get in touch with our Travel Specialists and we'll help your SeaWorld holiday tick all the boxes.

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