TAMPA — Busch Gardens bumped up its full-price admission by $3 on Friday, kicking off the annual season of Florida theme park price increases and pushing the Tampa park over the $80 threshold for the first time.
Including sales tax, the new daily admission is $83.45 for adults or kids older than 10, $72.75 for children 3 to 9.
"It's in line with our usual annual price increase, but we also will continue to offer a variety of discounts and introduced a couple new ones," said Jill Revelle, Busch Gardens spokeswoman.
Florida residents can buy a Fun Card for the price of a single day admission, which will be good for unlimited visits through Dec. 31, 2011, or 14 months for the price of 12. People who currently hold a Fun Card can renew at the 2010 price to extend it for another year.
"That's $8 less than the 2011 pass," Revelle said. Busch also continued its EZPay plan which lets passholders make monthly payments as low as $9.16.
Busch Gardens continued to price itself slightly below the premium Orlando theme parks including its corporate sibling SeaWorld. SeaWorld also raised it prices Friday to $85.19 including tax, $74.54 for kids 3 to 9.
That, however, remains $2 under the full price at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, which last raised their prices in August. SeaWorld attendance has yet to recover from the shadow cast by a Feb. 24 backstage incident in which a 6-ton orca whale from the park's marquee attraction Believe killed one of its trainers.
With discounts, only about a third of all theme parks' patrons typically pay full price.