Make us your home page
Instagram

Busch Gardens to raise ticket prices

Samantha Huntt performs in the Christmas on Ice show at the Stanleyville Theater in Busch Gardens on Friday. The limited engagement continues through Jan. 1.

GEN YAMAGUCHI | Times

Samantha Huntt performs in the Christmas on Ice show at the Stanleyville Theater in Busch Gardens on Friday. The limited engagement continues through Jan. 1.

TAMPA — At a time when many people are cutting back on spending any way they can, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have announced a ticket price increase.

Effective Jan. 5, prices will increase $2 for a one-day ticket to Busch Gardens in Tampa, bringing the cost to $69.95 for adults and $59.95 for children. At SeaWorld, prices will go up $5, for a one-day ticket price of $74.95 for adults and $64.95 for children.

The parks attract thousands of visitors to Florida, and "in order to do so, we need to continue to invest in these parks, because that is what is going to continue to drive tourists into Central Florida, into Tampa and St. Pete," said Joe Couceiro, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Busch Entertainment Corp.

Busch Gardens this year opened Jungala, a complex with family rides and wild animals. Next year, SeaWorld plans to open Manta, a roller coaster with four vertical loops that will send riders plunging face-down toward a lake at nearly 60 mph.

This marks the company's second hike this year; in July prices went up by $2 to $3.

Orlando resident Carolina Lopez, 30, was at Busch Gardens with her family Friday for an after-Christmas treat. While she isn't surprised by the increase, "in this economy, prices should be going down because people can't afford food," she said.

Bigger changes may be afoot for Busch Entertainment. Its parent, Anheuser-Busch, was purchased by Belgian beer company InBev SA, which has said it may sell the company's theme park division. Couceiro said that prospect played no role in the ticket price changes.

"We're business as usual," he said.

Couceiro said the parks still offer value to families trying to curtail entertainment expenses, singling out the company's "Pay for a Day" plan. It allows Florida residents to buy one full-price ticket to Busch Gardens or SeaWorld, and then return with free admission for the rest of the calendar year.

"You don't need to be paying for a whole lot of other theme parks because you have unlimited access to this theme park each and every day," he said.

Veronica Kilkelly, 41, of Oldsmar was making use of her "Pay for a Day" pass with two of three daughters on Friday when she heard about the increase.

"I spend about $40 in the park on food every time I come with my family," she said. "And parking is expensive, so they should reduce those prices if they're increasing tickets."

Price increases also were announced for the company's water parks.

The one-day price for Tampa's Adventure Island will increase $2, to $39.95 for adults and $35.95 for children. The one-day price for Orlando's Aquatica will jump $3, to $44.95 for adults and $38.95 for children.

The price of fun

Cost of a one-day, full-price adult ticket at major theme parks:

SeaWorld

(starting Jan 5)
$74.95
Busch Gardens (starting Jan. 5)$69.95
Disney World$75
Universal

Studios Orlando
$75

($73 online)
SeaWorld

(starting Jan 5)
$74.95
Busch Gardens (starting Jan. 5)$69.95
Disney World$75
Universal

Studios Orlando
$75

($73 online)

Busch Gardens to raise ticket prices 12/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, January 1, 2009 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.