Photo Report: A Day at Busch Gardens Tampa
The other day, we took a trip to Busch Gardens Tampa to ride some great coasters, see some shows, explore the animal areas, and check on the progress of their new coaster, Cobra’s Curse. Busch Gardens is an easy 60 minute drive from the Orlando area and is very easy to find. We went on a weekday during their off-season and therefore, the park was not crowded at all. We walked onto every ride we wanted, only waiting for the next train or two. We saw two shows and multiple animal exhibits and were still finished everything we wanted to do by 3:30. Then we repeated a couple rides and headed out. Check out the photos below!
Busch Gardens was about to begin their Food & Wine Festival for their second year, so we had a chance to see much of the decorations and booths, but those pictures come later.
The main entrance courtyard wasn’t very busy, a good sign for us as we walked in. We stopped by one of the merchandise shops and saw this great thrill ride T-shirt. I wonder if they’ll change it for Cobra’s Curse.
In the shop was also a model of Cobra’s Curse. The layout looks exceptionally fun and with this spinning cars, it’s sure to pack some fun thrills for families.
First up was Cheetah Hunt. This is a great coaster to start off the day, especially if you aren’t a morning person and still a little groggy. With it’s quick acceleration, high drop, twists and turns, and one inversion, it’s sure to wake you up. Plus, it’s one of the best ‘themed’ coaster experiences, meaning you are the cheetah as you ‘run’ across the fields. It is definitely a must ride. The cheetah enclosure is right next to the station for the ride. Be sure to check out the trainers speaking and giving information about the cheetahs.
Cobra’s Curse construction is really coming along. They had just recently added the big cobra head riders will see as they leave the lift tower.
Montu is one of my favorite inverted coasters. Opened in 1996, the coaster is still impressively smooth and I’m able to ride it multiple times. It has 7 inversions and can definitely make you dizzy! After Montu, we decided to check out the animals.
Did you know South Africa has penguins? The penguin exhibit was added in late 2014 and is very popular among Guests. One thing Busch Gardens has over Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the ability to see the animals much closer.
Right by the elephant area is the Animal Care Center. Here, you can see live surgeries and other check ups on the animals they have at the park.
We headed into Pantopia to brave Falcon’s Fury. This 335′ drop tower is one of a kind as the seats fold inward near the top, forcing you to watch the ground as you plummet to earth. It is a very fun ride.
Here’s a video of Falcon’s Fury in action! What’s really neat is they have cameras set up at the base of the tower to take your photo as you drop, something I’ve never seen before.
Kumba is one of my favorite coasters. It opened in 1993 and also has 7 inversions. It is still very smooth and a great ride. Another that’ll make you dizzy!
Heading over to Jungala, we explored the Tiger Trail and got very close to the tigers. This is one of my favorite areas in the park because their habitat is gorgeous to look at and it’s great fun watching the tigers.
The children’s area in Jungala provides many areas to climb around in as well as child friendly rides. The Jungle Flyers is one that is great for all ages. Atop the tower, you also get good views of the park!
We returned to Pantopia for lunch and dined at the Dragon Fire Grill. This restaurant was recently refurbished and now has multipe styles of food to choose from: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, American, and a market style of food. I chose to get the chicken nachos. Unfortunately, the tops were all very mediocre and it wasn’t overly satisfying, even though I did get a lot for my money. During lunch, we got to see the belly dancing show, Treasures of the Mirage. The show was pretty much a variety act with belly dancers and different tricks performed. It was nice to watch while eating, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.
After lunch, we went to see Opening Night Critters. This is Busch Gardens Tampa’s animal show which opened in 2014. The show is about the lead trainer quitting on opening night and two stage hands trying to learn how to be successful animal trainers. The show is a bit corny and mostly features dogs, cats, and birds, but it is a very entertaining show nonetheless.
Shiekra! Another favorite. This is a 200′ drop coaster and gives lots of air time! I managed to take some video of the ride.
After we rode Shiekra twice, we had finished all of the coasters. We decided to continue exploring the park.
In the bottom left corner of the park is Kangaloom, an area where you can pet and feed kangaroos and wallabies. This is a great experience at Busch Gardens and I highly recommend doing it!
We then stumbled into the area that was becoming their Food & Wine section for their seasonal event. This year is their 2nd year holding this event for Guests and was very popular last year. We only saw about half of the booths and menus since everything else was in the closed off area where they keep the main stage. They also had some excellent topiaries!! Looks like Epcot isn’t the only one who can create great characters with bushes and flowers!
Well that wraps it up for us. We had a great time at Busch Gardens Tampa! It is definitely the roller coaster capitol of Florida and looks like it will remain that for quite some time. It’s just a shame Gwazi couldn’t get the Rocky Mountain Construction treatment it so deserves! The park is great for families and should definitely be put on your itinerary for your Disney/Universal vacation! Thanks for reading.