TAMPA — After a seven year hiatus, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is bringing back its popular ice skating show on Feb. 2.
The new permanent production will feature a new staging, costumes original music, life size animal puppets and, for the first time in park history, 10 live animals appearing in a show called Iceploration.
It tells the story of a boy and his grandfather who take an adventure around the world that includes stops in the arctic and under the ocean.
The 20-minute show will feature floating, helium-filled animal puppets that mimic moray eels, macaws that fly over the audience, a pair of huskie dogs and a 30-pound Siberian lynx.
Busch, which is enjoying a double-digit attendance increase this year thanks to its new $40-millon Cheetah Hunt ride, is pouring about $3-million into the new ice show in the park's 1,000 seat theater which is equipped to simulate rainstorms and snow.
The show replaces Cirque Dreams, a temporary replacement that recently closed, in a theater that was last rebuilt for the staging of Katonga.
"We listen to our guests," said Jim Dean, park general manager. "Every day at least one of them asks we bring back an ice show."
Busch also will use the same theater during December for an annual revival of its holiday ice show.
Staff Writer Mark Albright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8252.