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Busch Gardens

Editor's pick

Categories: Attraction, Tourist attraction, Theme parks

Features: Guided tours, Kid-friendly, Play area, Sprayground

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: Beer and wine only

Parking: Lot

Admission: $97, $92 for ages 3-9

One of Tampa Bay's top tourist attractions, Busch Gardens is an Africa-themed park with some of the southeast's largest roller coasters, Broadway-style shows, exotic animals, multi-story family play areas, rides and live entertainment.

Rollercoaster enthusiasts, you'll love the choices here. The newest is Cheetah Hunt, a launch coaster that opened in summer 2011 and is meant to mimic the speed and movements of the cheetahs that are housed in the Cheetah Run habitat at its entrance. Sheikra is a floorless plunge coaster whose first drop will leave you breathless. Kumba offers a smooth ride that features a distinct roar, while the floorless Montu flips, dips and zips. Too chicken to do these? The Scorpion is a must for the beginner.

The Florida attraction's family-friendly area is the Sesame Street exhibit, where kids can interact with all of the familiar characters like Big Bird and Elmo. And fear not, it still has the fun sprayground that keeps them cool on a sunny Florida day.

Adults who are rollercoaster averse can amuse themselves with water rides like Congo River Rapids, the Tanganyika Tidal Wave and Stanley Falls. Or take a ride across the Serengeti Plain on an old-time train.

You'll find plenty of dining options, with either sit-down family dining (Zagora Cafe) or quick-bite places like the Kenya Kanteen or Oasis Snacks.

Be sure to visit the animal exhibits. Jungala offers a chance for animal interactions (that lion seems awfully close!), while the Myombe Reserve lets you see magnificent gorillas safely from a distance.

World-class skaters, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry and live animal stars take to the ice in Iceploration. Shows run daily in the Moroccan Palace.

Read a review of Cheetah Hunt.

And here's the lowdown on the other coasters.

Events at Busch Gardens

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
Friday, December 4, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, December 5, 2015 10:00am
Friday, December 11, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, December 12, 2015 10:00am
Friday, December 18, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, December 19, 2015 10:00am
Sunday, December 20, 2015 10:00am
Monday, December 21, 2015 10:00am
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 10:00am
Wednesday, December 23, 2015 10:00am
Thursday, December 24, 2015 10:00am
Friday, December 25, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, December 26, 2015 10:00am
Sunday, December 27, 2015 10:00am
Monday, December 28, 2015 10:00am
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 10:00am

New Year's Eve Busch Gardens
Thursday, December 31, 2015 9:00am
Real Music Series
Monday, January 4, 2016 11:30am

Reader reviews

  • Cheetah Hunt riders
  • SheiKra2
  • SheiKra
  • flamingo

  • Restaurants

  • Bars

Busch Gardens - Tampa