Themepark Guide
Busch Gardens
Cobra's Curse

Summer of party zones, coasters in the dark and a new ice show

Busch Gardens is retooling its annual Summer Nights dance party this year, letting you ride some thrill rides in the dark, such as the park’s new spin coaster, Cobra’s Curse.

If you go:

  • 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa.
  • Admission: $89.99 for ages 3 and up in advance. $104.99 at the gate
  • Special dates: Special fireworks show July 4. Animal expert Jack Hanna visits May 27-28 for wild animal shows, meet and greets. Summer Nights party zones open June 16-Aug. 6.
  • More info: (813) 884-4386 or

The Tampa theme park also is bringing a new ice show to the Moroccan Palace called Turn It Up. The opening date hasn’t been announced, but the ice show — the sweetest way to escape the Florida heat for a short spell — is expected to open in June with “contemporary performances, aerial moments and eclectic pop music.”

Summer Nights is an annual tradition at the park with extended hours and stage or music shows followed by fireworks. The fireworks are gone this year, but the park has split the nighttime entertainment into three party zones running June 16 through Aug. 6:

Some of the thrill rides that will be open in the dark include Falcon’s Fury, Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra and Cobra’s Curse, which opened last summer. The twirly spin coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, sending riders forward, backward and finally freely spinning in the last third of the ride.

Insider tip

Get a price break on the Summer Nights cuisine with an eight-punch summer sampler lanyard, modeled after the Food & Wine Festival sampler lanyards. For $34.99, you get sample-sized portions of food and drinks at locations throughout the park.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected]. Follow @SharonKWn. Designed by Lyra Solochek and Lauren Flannery.