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Busch Gardens

Editor's pick

Categories: Theme parks, Tourist attraction

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

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: Beer and wine only

Parking: Lot

Admission: $95, $90 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. Gwazi is that rarity: two wooden coasters that cross at "approaching speeds" up to 100 miles per hour. Too chicken to do these? The Scorpion is a must for the beginner.

The Florida attraction's newest 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 beginning Feb. 2, 2012. Shows will 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

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival
Saturday, March 7, 2015 10:00am
Gavin DeGraw
Sunday, March 8, 2015 10:00am
Fifth Harmony
Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:00am
Kool & The Gang
Sunday, March 15, 2015 10:00am
Boys Like Girls
Saturday, March 21, 2015 10:00am
Kenny Rogers
Sunday, March 22, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, March 28, 2015 10:00am
Steven Curtis Chapman
Sunday, March 29, 2015 10:00am
El Gran Combo
Saturday, April 4, 2015 10:00am
Collective Soul
Sunday, April 5, 2015 10:00am
Saturday, April 11, 2015 10:00am
KC and the Sunshine Band
Sunday, April 12, 2015 10:00am
Josh Turner
Saturday, April 18, 2015 10:00am
Austin Mahone
Sunday, April 19, 2015 10:00am
Daddy Yankee
Saturday, April 25, 2015 10:00am
Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:00am
Aloe Blacc

Busch Gardens Serengeti Night Safari
Saturday, March 7, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, March 14, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, March 21, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, March 28, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, April 11, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, April 25, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, May 2, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, May 9, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, May 23, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, May 30, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, June 6, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, June 13, 2015 7:30pm
Saturday, June 20, 2015 7:30pm

Happy Birthday Sesame Street Safari of Fun
Friday, March 27, 2015 10:30am
Saturday, March 28, 2015 10:00am
Sunday, March 29, 2015 10:00am

Jack Hanna's Wild Days
Saturday, April 18, 2015 11:00am
Saturday, April 18, 2015 1:00pm
Saturday, April 18, 2015 3:00pm
Sunday, April 19, 2015 11:00am
Sunday, April 19, 2015 1:00pm
Sunday, April 19, 2015 3:00pm

Real Music Series
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 11:30am
Exile and Juice Newton
Thursday, March 5, 2015 11:30am
Exile and Juice Newton
Friday, March 6, 2015 11:30am
Exile and Juice Newton

Reader reviews

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Busch Gardens - Tampa