Busch Gardens Tampa: Home to Animals and Rides

Busch Gardens is a 19th century African animal theme park situated in Tampa Bay, Florida. It began operations on March 31, 1959, initially as a “no admission fee” facility for the Tampa Anheuser-Busch brewery. It is now operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the same group that operates Sea World Orlando.

Morocco, a themed area at Busch Gardens, is located at the park’s main entrance. The Mystic Sheiks of Morocco, a brass and percussion ensemble, greets guests as they enter the park. A 1,200 seat indoor theater, The Moroccan Palace, and the outdoor theater, Marrakesh Theater, are also located in this area. A mythological creature with a head of a tiger and a body of a lion, Gwazi, is behind the inspiration of a dueling wooden roller coaster.

The beak by livingonimpulse
The beak by livingonimpulse

Bird Gardens is another area of the park which consists mostly of gardens and animal exhibits/shows.

Sesame Street Safari of Fun replaced Land of the Dragons on March 27, 2010 with four additional attractions: an interactive play area, Telly’s Jungle Jam; a swing ride, Rosita’s Djembe Fly-away; a water play area, Bert & Ernie’s Watering Hole; and a children’s roller coaster, Air Grover.

Stanleyville is another section of Busch Gardens where the water rides and SheiKra are found. SheiKra is a 200-foot floorless dive roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop and also known as the first Dive Coaster in the whole of United States of America. Stanleyville is also home to a log flume with a 43-foot drop called the Stanley Falls Flume. It is also in Stanleyville where Tanganyika Tidal Wave is located. Tanganyika is a 20 passenger water ride with a 55-foot drop.

Kumba Roller Coaster by Lawrence Rayner
Kumba Roller Coaster by Lawrence Rayner

Guests can find Kumba in Congo, another part of the theme park. Kumba is 143-foot roller coaster ride with seven turnovers. A raging whitewater rapids simulation is Congo River Rapids which opened in 1982. Bumper car ride, Ubanga Banga Bumper Cars, is also available in Congo.

Jungala, which was opened in April 5, 2008, is home to a zip-line ride, Jungle Fliers. Wild Surge is a shot tower that propels guests atop the waterfalls. Tiger Trail is a walkthrough with tigers. Jungala is also home to up-close animal interactions, rope bridges and water play area for kids.

Tiger Trail by jeremy
Tiger Trail by jeremy

Timbuktu is patterned after the malls and bazaars of Africa. Roller coaster rides like Scorpion and Sand Serpent can be found in the area. Films like Sesame Street Film Festival 4-D and Pirates 4-D are alternately shown at Timbuktu Theater. Caravan Carousel, Sandstorm, and Phoenix are also popular rides at Timbuktu.

Alligators and crocodiles found a home in Nairobi. Guests can view mammal and reptile exhibits. Gorillas and chimpanzees are also aplenty at Nairobi. A major attraction is Rhino Rally, an unpredictable off-road safari.

Egypt is where guests can experience an Egyptian marketplace with Bedouin tents, authentic handicrafts and arts. An inverted roller coaster, Montu, is a major attraction in this area.

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay is open daily from 9am to 7pm. Tickets can be bought online at a discount.

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay