Florida Guide > Other Parks
Busch Gardens In Tampa
If you enjoy thrill rides, Busch Gardens Theme Park, is a great choice. From our house west of Orlando it takes just over an hour to drive down the I4 to the nearest outskirts of Tampa to enjoy a family fun day out!
As the name suggests there are beautiful gardens of lush green foliage and brightly coloured flowers, dispersed with wildlife and fantastic thrill rides to enjoy – all with an African theme. Opened in 1959, and having celebrated its 50th anniversary, the park continues to grow.
Busch Gardens is split into various countries to help you navigate – as you enter to the left is Egypt with the massive ride ‘Montu’ stretching high above the ground with long inverted curves. Riders hang from a rail giving an immense sense of freedom. This is one of our favourite rides – so smooth and fun – and a must if you like roller coasters! From here you can also take the Sky Ride, a traditional cable car which gently takes you over the park, giving glorious views of the park and the many animals there are to see, over to Stanleyville. However if you stay on foot, from here you will head towards Nariobi, with the fabulous Rhino Rally. We thought this would be a simple ride around a few hills on a Land Rover, but no! It was great fun with a twist towards the end and most visitors can do this ride – its not a rollercoaster and recommended!
Next its over to Timbuktu with the ride Scorpian – this looks a simple two loop roller coaster but we are not sure we enjoyed the sensations of looping the loop without being strapped in – not as simple as it looks! So continuing in a northerly direction on towards Congo there is Kumba yet another rollercoaster which runs along a track and riders sit. Built in 1993 it reaches speeds of 60mph and has multi inversion loops. Then coming back south towards Stanleyville with the famous, brilliant SheiKra and their oldest rollercoaster Gwazi. This double wooden roller coaster is made up of almost 7, 000 feet of track. Although it looks an ‘old’ rollercoaster it was opened in 1999 and is one of a few roller coasters that have to trains that ‘dual’ with each other, holding the record for most fly-bys (six! ) on a dueling roller coaster. You need to be strong for Gwazi as it’s not as smooth as most roller coasters as you bump and toss along the track. However, it is a unique experience. SheiKra is totally different as riders climb a 200 feet hill and experience a ‘true’ 90 degree drop. And no Floridian theme park is complete without rapids or water rides and Busch Gardens doesn’t disappoint with their offerings either.
But if roller coasters aren’t your thing there are the stunning gardens with attractive flowers to view, shows with African music , singers and dancers, a critter show as well as stilt walkers and a 4D pirate show. If you enjoy learning about animals there are keepers to tell you about their animals – alligators, chimpanzees, lions, hipos, tigers and so many more. And don’t forget there are always restaurants to relax and meet up and discuss your day so far.
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