If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine State and looking for a vacation highlight besides Disney, check out Busch Gardens Tampa. What are some of the highlights for visiting families?
Below are a lot of fun things to do for all ages and stages:
Sesame Street Safari of Fun – is the perfect area of the park for families with kids from toddlers to nearly preteens.
Rides that are just for the littles, and some meant for littles and a parent- from the Elmo’s Safari Go Round to Snuffy’s elephant romp kids are met with colorful, fun characters all over.
There is also a themed show where Elmo, Cookie, Zoe, and Grover entertain everyone several times a day. While you’re there don’t forget to stop by Bert and Ernie’s Watering hole- a splash pad with dumping buckets, geysers, bubblers, and jets- A must in the nearly unbearable Florida heat. I like to bring Water-Misting Fans to keep little ones cool as well.
Looking for something a little more thrilling for the older kids? There are a bunch of Busch Gardens roller coasters to satisfy the pickiest of thrill seekers.
Some of the best rides:
Falcon’s Fury – America’s tallest freestanding drop tower at 355 feet, that will drop your stomach to your knees as it plummets seemingly straight to the ground.
Sheikra– This roller coaster speeds up to a whopping 70 MPH, suspends then launches you, loops, and ends in a splashing finale- for you and passers by.
Cheetah Hunt– the longest thrill ride at the park is 4,400 feet long and carries you up and then down through rocky terrain.
Congo River Rapids – A seemingly gentle and relaxing 12 person raft ride turns exiting with a few surprise drops, waterfalls, and water canons manned by passers by. An excellent way to cool off in the heat of the day.
Skyride– One of my favorite attractions to visit is this slow ride in a gondola across the cable that takes you up above the park- right above the Serengeti plain where you can see zebras, rhinos, and more. A great way to take in the sights of the park.
Serengeti Railway– With train stations in three different areas of the park this is a great way to see the Serengeti up close while you ride from one side of the park to the other.
Need a break? Rest your feet and take in a few shows. Busch Gardens Tampa offer quite a variety. My favorites are Madagascar Live: Operation Vacation with singers, dancers, and a live band as they entertain with original songs and classic hits and Iceploration– an amazing ice skating show with music, large puppets, and animals. Keeping with the parks Serengeti theme but also incorporation the Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic, and Amazon Rainforest.
Where should you eat?
Zambia Smokehouse– This was my favorite bite of the day with BBQ chicken and ribs, beef brisket, chicken strips, baked beans, corn on the cob, and warm bread pudding.
Crown Colony Cafe– A nicer sit down restaurant that also has a pub on the top floor, here you will find items like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, pizza, and club sandwiches.
Lunch With Elmo– If you are celebrating something special with your little one consider booking lunch with Elmo. $22 for adults, and $15 for kids for a long, tasty looking menu that includes;BBQ pulled pork, Ceaser salad, fresh fruit, mac n cheese, and a lot more.
Zagora Cafe– Nearly immediately after entering the park you will find this cafe where you can dig right in or just grab a cold beverage. Cheeseburgers, wraps, chicken tenders, and hot dogs are the main fare at this location.
You will find ice cold beer throughout the entire park, as well as snack vendors with popcorn, churros, and ice cream treats.
If you’re going to visit VA, you might like my article on How to Maximize Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.