Busch Gardens Tampa
|Slogan||Born for Busch Gardens|
|Location||Tampa, Florida, USA|
|Opened||March 31, 1959|
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: 1990s–2006, 2008–present Busch Gardens: The Dark Continent: 1976–1990sBusch Gardens Africa: 2006–2008
|Area||335 acres (136 ha)|
Busch Gardens Tampa (formerly known as Busch Gardens Africa and Busch Gardens: The Dark Continent) is a 335-acre (136 ha) 19th century African-themed animal theme park located in the city of Tampa, Florida. It opened on March 31, 1959 as an admission-free hospitality facility for Tampa Anheuser-Busch; in addition to various beer tastings they had, a bird garden and the Stairway to the Stars which was an escalator that took guests to the roof of the brewery.
Busch Gardens continued to grow, and in 1965, opened the 29-acre Serengeti Plains, which allowed the African wildlife to roam freely. It continued to focus on its tropical landscape, exotic animals, and amusements to draw visitors. Busch Gardens began charging admission as the entertainment became more complex, with extra fees for the thrill rides, such as the roller coasters for which Busch Gardens is now known. Currently Busch Gardens competes with other such parks in Florida and charges comparable fees. The park is operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, majority owned by the private equity firm Blackstone Group. Busch Gardens is currently accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 2011, the park hosted 4.3 million people, placing in the Top 20 of the most-visited theme parks in the US and in the Top 25 worldwide.
- 1 Themed areas
- 2 Animal exhibits
- 3 Golden Ticket Awards
- 4 Annual events
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- The Serengeti Express (a replica steam train) runs along the back end of the park and makes stops at the Nairobi, Congo and Stanleyville themed areas. The train track was recently renovated, and its tracks have been changed.
- The Skyride transports guests between Crown Colony and Stanleyville.
The park's main entrance is home to the Mystic Sheiks of Morocco brass and percussion ensemble. Treats can be purchased at the Sultan's Sweets and the Zagora Cafe. The Moroccan Palace, a 1,200 seat indoor theatre, is located here, as well as the outdoor Marrakesh Theater. Gwazi is the major ride in this area.
- Gwazi, a 105-foot (32 m), 51 mph (82 km/h) dueling wooden roller coaster named after a mythological creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion opened. The dueling sides consist of a lion side and a tiger side, which cross paths seven times. In 2011 Busch Gardens replaced the original trains, which were boxy and sat four per coach. The new trains seat two per coach and should provide a smoother ride. Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters designed the original trains. Great Coasters International, who built the coaster, designed the new Gwazi trains. At the end of summer 2012, Gwazi's Tiger side was closed off, possibly permanently. Gwazi is rumored to be removed in the next couple of years, possibly by the summer of 2014/2015.
- Gwazi Gliders, a small hang glider flat ride relocated from the Congo section's defunct Pygmy Village kids area.
The original section of the park that opened back in 1959. The area for the most part remains to be mostly gardens and animal exhibits/shows. A staple attraction that once stood in this section was the brewery. However, the brewery closed in 1995 and Gwazi now sits where the brewery was located. The traditional, educational bird show is currently being replaced with a newer, more entertainment-based show, including a number of mammals.
- "Walkabout Way" Themed as an Australian outpost, Walkabout Way opened in June 2010. This area which is the Bird Gardens give guests the chance to see and hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. In addition this area is home a kookaburra, magpie geese and Australian black swans. This experience is open to all guests 5 years of age or older.
Sesame Street Safari of Fun
Former Land of the Dragons children's section of the park. Land of the Dragons was replaced by Sesame Street Safari of Fun on March 27, 2010. It contains all the attractions from Land of the Dragons which are now re-themed. It also contains four new attractions: Telly's Jungle Jam, an interactive play area; Rosita's Djembe Fly-Away, a swing ride; Bert & Ernie's Watering hole, a water play area, and Air Grover, a children's roller coaster.
This section of the park is home to the park's water rides and SheiKra, which was the first and only Dive Coaster in the United States until the addition of Griffon at the sister park Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The section opened up in 1973 with the addition of the Stanley Falls Flume. The African Queen Boat Ride opened in 1977 as Busch's version of Disney's Jungle Cruise. In 1989, the African Queen Boat Ride was transformed into Tanganyika Tidal Wave with the addition of a 55-foot (17 m) drop that generates a giant splash. The section remained unchanged from then until 2005, when SheiKra opened, and the surrounding area was renovated.
- SheiKra, a 200-foot (61 m) Bolliger & Mabillard floorless dive roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop. This is Florida's first Floorless Vertical Dive Coaster. The ride was repainted in 2013.
- Stanley Falls Flume, a log flume with a 43-foot (13 m) drop.
- Tanganyika Tidal Wave, a 20 passenger shoot the chutes water ride with a 55-foot (17 m) drop.
This section contains two of the park's more popular rides. In November 2006, Congo underwent major renovation, including the removal of the park's classic Python roller coaster.
- Kumba, meaning roar in Swahili, is a 143-foot (44 m) steel sit-down roller coaster with seven inversions. Built in 1993 by Bolliger & Mabillard, it remains a popular ride today. The ride was repainted in 2010.
- Congo River Rapids, a water ride that simulates raging whitewater rapids. The ride opened in 1982.
- Ubanga Banga Bumper Cars, a bumper cars ride.
Opened on April 5, 2008, Jungala is a 4-acre (16,000 m2) family attraction featuring up-close animal encounters, rope bridges to explore three stories of jungle life, and a water-play area for children. Also located in this area are two family attractions: Jungle Flyers, a zip line that offers three different flight patterns above the treetops of the new area, and Wild Surge, a shot tower that launches guests above a waterfall. Another attraction is Tiger Trail, which is a walkthrough with tigers where there is also a glass turret where you can look out right in the middle of the tiger enclosure. Stiltwalkers perform and interact with guests in the heart of Jungala during several parts of the day.
- Jungle Fliers, a zip line ride.
- The Wild Surge, a Moser family launch tower ride.
A section themed after the malls and bazaars of Africa that opened up in May 1980 as Timbuktu. The Phoenix was built in 1984 and remains a popular ride to this day. The section was renovated in 2003. Important rides added during this facelift included the Timbuktu Theater, which replaced the park's Dolphin Theater with an indoor 4-D movie theater. In 2004, Das Festhaus was transformed into the Desert Grill, and the park's family-friendly Sand Serpent wild mouse roller coaster opened, replacing the Crazy Camel flat ride. On June 2, 2013 the Sandstorm ride was removed from the park, then on June 11, 2013 Falcon's Fury was announced as a replacement. This section of the park will be re-themed to Pantopia in 2014, according to the announcement made on November 22, 2013.
- Scorpion, a steel, Schwarzkopf-designed sit-down roller coaster with one vertical loop.
- Sand Serpent, a steel wild mouse roller coaster.
- Phoenix, an Intamin Looping Starship themed as an Egyptian cargo vessel.
- Timbuktu Theater, an indoor theater that will house a new show with the opening of Pantopia in 2014.
- Sandstorm, was an orbiter ride that spun riders around on its six spinning arms. Sandstorm opened in 1979 and closed on June 2, 2013.
- Caravan Carousel, a carousel with horses, camels, and chariots.
- Falcon's Fury, a first of a kind drop tower that tilts riders 90 degrees face down before dropping 310 feet (94 m) at 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) . It will be the tallest free standing drop tower in North America at 335 feet (102 m) and will open in Spring 2014.
Alligators and crocodiles can be observed here up close. In Curiosity Cavern, guests can view mammal and reptile exhibits. Visitors to Nairobi can view injured or abandoned newborns at the Nairobi Field Station Animal Nursery. The area also contains Myombe Reserve, a tropical rainforest that is home to Western Lowland Gorillas and Common Chimpanzees. The major ride here is Rhino Rally, an unpredictable off-road safari that once sent its riders down a raging river. The river portion of the attraction was eventually abandoned due to repeated vehicle breakdowns. In 2012 the Animal Care Center opened. The main train station at Busch Gardens is located at Nairobi. Another popular attraction here is the Asian Elephant exhibit, which is also featured in the Rhino Rally ride.
- Rhino Rally, a Vekoma River Adventure ride, Riders board inside modified Land Rovers through the park's Serengeti Plain habitat, interacting with animals. (Currently closed until Summer 2014)
- Animal Care Center, this nearly 16,000 square-foot attraction allows visitors the chance to view the Busch Gardens' veterinarians at work in a new state of the art veterinary hospital. The major visitor aspects of the facility include a nutrition demonstration kitchen, treatment rooms, a clinical lab and an interactive diagnostic activity. Behind the scenes the veterinary hospital also includes the animal nutrition center, animal recovery and holding rooms and vet offices. The park’s former animal care center was located behind the scenes.
Crown Colony Plaza
Crown Colony is the smallest section of the park. It features a restaurant, the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster, and the Skyride station. 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of Busch Gardens, so a museum was set up, featuring a timeline of pictures, costumes from previous shows, and old maps of the park. It also has a preserved Python roller coaster seat. The museum is still there today.
- Cheetah Hunt A multi-launch steel roller coaster that opened in 2011.
- Cheetah Run an animal exhibit located next to Cheetah Hunt. It replaced the Clydesdale Hamlet.
Bedouin tents and authentic handicrafts and art create an Egyptian marketplace feel. Guests can visit a replica of King Tutankhamen's tomb with the excavation in progress. The primary attraction of the Egypt themed area is Montu, an inverted steel coaster.
- Montu, named after the Egyptian Falcon God of War, is a 150-foot (46 m) steel inverted Bolliger & Mabillard roller coaster with seven inversions.
In May 2011, Cheetah Run opened. Cheetah Run is home to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay collection of cheetahs. There are running demonstrations and meet a keeper throughout the day. In addition, the exhibit has interactive screens with cheetah facts.
The Serengeti Plain
In 1965, the park opened its Serengeti Plain animal habitat, the first of its kind to offer animals in a free-roaming environment. Over the years, the habitat has expanded from 29-acre (120,000 m2) to its current size of 65-acre (260,000 m2). It is home to the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, bongo, addax, white rhinoceros, eland, impala, ostrich, marabou stork, East African crowned crane, and sacred ibis.
Edge of Africa
Opened in 1997, Edge of Africa is a walk-through attraction where guests can observe African animals. Among the exhibits are a Nile Crocodile, meerkats, two prides of lions, a pack of Spotted Hyenas, two hippos, vultures, and a troop of lemurs.
This cavern attraction, formerly known as Nocturnal Mountain, contains animals such as bats, snakes, lizards, tamarins, and sugar gliders in the low-light environment. This attraction offers the true facts about the creatures inside and cracks the myths about them wide open.
Asian Animals in Rainforest Komodo Dragon
Golden Ticket Awards
The following is a list of roller coasters at Busch Gardens that have placed on Amusement Today's Top 50 coasters, along with their highest ranking.
|Roller Coaster||Highest Rank|
Real Music Series
Bands, Brew & BBQ
(Previously called Bud & BBQ) For the month of February, Busch Gardens hosts a series of concerts in Gwazi Field, from many classic and contemporary Country music acts; there are special culinary offerings along the walkway from the Gwazi Roller Coaster to the gate in Gwazi Field.
Viva La Musica!
In March, several Latin music acts, such as Guyacon, are hosted on the Stage in Gwazi Field. There is a similar culinary setup with special offerings for the concert days as there is for Bands, Brew & BBQ.
In the summer months, the park stays open later and includes concerts by performers like David Cassidy and Starship with Mickey Thomas. The park's Independence Day festivities add fireworks to the entertainment lineup.
In 2010, Busch Gardens added a new nighttime show called Kinetix, the first special effect-heavy show put on in Gwazi Field. Also, they added many new special effects (i.e. Strobe, Lighting, Fog) to their existing rides just for the Summer Nights season.
Every September and October since 2000, Busch Gardens is transformed into Howl-O-Scream. This event contains haunted houses, scare zones, and shows. Howl-O-Scream is one of the top rated Halloween events in the US. Howl-O-Scream has featured some attractions of the park turned into "horrified" attractions at night. This includes Serengeti Safari Tours, which was turned into Evening Serengeti Safari Tours, and Curiosity Caverns, which was turned into Dark Cavern, both in 2000. 2012 Howl-O-Scream's celebrated 13 unlucky years.
In November through December, theaters throughout the park are transformed into Christmas themed shows in celebration of the Holiday season.
- Adventure Island (water park)
- Busch Gardens
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- SeaWorld Orlando
- Incidents at Busch parks
- Howl-O-Scream (Tampa Bay)
- List of attractions in Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
- "Park History". BGTNation. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Kiplinger, Lisa (June 17, 1989). "Busch Gardens keeps on growing". Wilmington Morning Star. Retrieved 2009-06-07.[dead link]
- Staff. "Gwazi, Busch Gardens' wood coaster, reopens with new cars". Tampa Bay Online. TBO.Com. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Staff. "Busch Gardens Tampa's New Area - Walkabout Way - Featuring Kangaroos". Seaworld.com. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Albright, Mark (1/12/2012). "New attraction lets you see Busch Gardens' vets at work". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Animal care becomes part of the Guest Experience". Seaworld Parks. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Albright, Mark (February 18, 2011). ""Busch Gardens' Cheetah Hunt coaster in sprint to May 27 completion".". St. Petersburg Times. Tampa Bay. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Hayes, Stephanie (May 26, 2011). "At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Cheetah Run habitat, the cats are a nose away". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Fact Sheet", page 4. Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
- "There's a lot more to Africa than animals.". St. Petersburg Times. August 19, 1975. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Gershman, Rick (October 14, 2004). "Scare tactics". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Staff. "Do You Dare Enter Trickster's Garden as Howl-O-Scream 2012 Celebrates an Unlucky 13 Years?". SeaWorld Press release. SeaWorld. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
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