Do you love the Thrill of roller coasters? Love the crazy feeling of being suspended upside down? The force that glues you to the back of your seat? Then Busch Gardens FL is the place for you.
Busch Gardens FL provides a great family vacation with animals, rides, and shows. Current hours are 10am-6pm Monday through Friday, 10am-8pm Saturday, and 10am-7pm Sunday. Check the park schedule for hours before you go. Busch Gardens FL also offers special discounts for active military members, veterans, and their families. Right now they are offering their special Fun Card where you pay for 1 day and can return all year. Of course some black out dates apply. In addition, check their website for seasonal events such as Summer Nights and Howl-O-Scream.
While in Busch Gardens FL you will be transported into different lands. You will journey to the edge of Africa, the Congo, Egypt, Morocco, and Nairobi where you will see ancient art and wild animals. In addition you will be transported through Pantopia and Jungala. Plus you will visit the more whimsical areas of Stanleyville and Sesame Street Safari of Fun.
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What to do at Busch Gardens FL
Of course there are tons of roller coasters for thrill seekers plus family friendly rides. This is hands down one of the best theme parks for those who love rides.
- Tigris– Florida’s tallest launch coaster, this ride takes you through upside down twists on over more than 1800 feet of steel track. In addition, the ride speeds at more than 60 miles per hour and catapults you 150 feet upward. Of course, this is not for the faint of heart and you must be over 54″ to ride.
- Cobra’s Curse– Florida’s first family spin coaster where you ride through snake like twists at 40 miles per hour. Each car rotates based on weight distribution so you never experience the ride the same way twice. Kids over 42 inches tall may ride this with an adult. While waiting in the air conditioned line, you will witness an amazing snake exhibit.
- Cheetah Hunt– A triple launch roller coaster, this ride takes those 48″ and up high above the park and then down through a gorge on over 4400 feet of track.
- Sheikra– You must be at least 54″ tall to experience this 90 degree drop from 200′ in the air at speeds of 70 miles per hour. After that the ride loops up again for an additional drop into a tunnel ending in a splashdown drenching passengers.
Even More Thrill Rides!
- Montu– Get ready for thrills x7 on this roller coaster which loops you through 7 inversions of different types. However, you must be over 54″ to experience these thrills.
- Kumba– This steel coaster roars like the king of the jungle as it drops you 135 feet into a diving 360 degree loop where you will experience several seconds of weightlessness. Again, riders must be over 54 inches tall to ride.
- Scorpian– Riders 42″ and up will twist through an upside down 360 vertical loop.
- Sand Serpent– This 5 story high rollercoaster is filled with curves and drops for those over 46″ tall.
- Falcon’s Fury– Get a bird’s eye view of the city of Tampa from this 335 foot freestanding drop tower which plummets you in a face first dive at 60 miles per hour. Of course, you must be over 54″ tall for this experience similar to sky diving.
- Iron Gwazi– opening 2021- This is soon to be North America’s fastest and steepest hybrid rollercoaster. It will drop from a peak of 206 feet and go through 3 inversions.
- Congo River Rapids– Go white water rafting and get soaked from spouting jets, waterfalls, and water caves. Even kids can enjoy this thrill ride as long as they are at least 42″ tall.
- Stanley Falls Flume– Another family friendly water ride takes those over 46″ tall on a 40′ splashdown on a log flume.
- Serengeti Express– Everyone can ride this train through the Serengeti while viewing animals. Since the train stops in several areas of the park, it makes a great mode of transportation when your feet need a break.
- Air Grover- Even the little ones can experience the thrills of this Kids’ Safari rollercoaster in Sesame Street area. While the kiddies need to be at least 38″ tall, mom and dad can still fit on this ride.
- Wild Surge– This family friendly drop tower takes you up 35′ high above waterfalls. View the village of Jungala and animal habitats from above before plunging back down into the crater below. Unfortunately, this ride is temporarily closed.
- Skyride- Take this cable car from one side of the park to the other to witness panoramic views. However, this ride is temporarily closed.
What to See at Busch Gardens FL
Animals at Busch Gardens FL
You can view many animals at Busch Gardens FL. For example:
- Rhinos– Learn about the difference between Southern white rhinos and black rhinos while observing them in a natural habitat. Even better, see the new baby white rhino that is already over 200 pounds!
- Sloths– Here is your opportunity to see sloths close up. Sloths live in the trees of the Central and South American rain forests. Theses herbivores eat, sleep, mate, and give birth while hanging upside down from trees! In addition to viewing sloths you will have an opportunity to ask an animal educator any additional questions.
- Cheetahs– Did you know that cheetahs are the only cat unable to retract their claws? Go to the Cheetah Run area to learn more about these fastest land animals.
- Tigers– View these endangered Bengal tigers weighing almost 500 pounds in Jungala.
- Lions– These African mammals live in social groups known as prides and can be viewed at Edge of Africa.
- Gorillas & Primates– Throughout the park you will find numerous species of primates. Learn about gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, lemurs, as well as gibbons.
- Elephants– In Nairobi you can view these regal Asian elephants which are endangered due to habitat loss and of course, human conflict.
- Giraffes– These giraffes are the tallest animals on the Serengeti. Sporting irregular tan spots surrounded by white lines, they never cease to amaze those that see them.
For almost 20 years the Seaworld & Busch Gardens conservation fund has provided global organizations and grassroots groups over $18 million in grants for conservation projects around the world. Find out more on their website.
More Animals at Busch Gardens FL
- Hippos– The African mammals are the third largest land animals and eat grasses and vegetation. Due to their unpredictability , they are considered highly dangerous.
- Hyenas– Another animal located at the Edge of Africa is the hyena. These social animals hunt in groups to take down larger mammals.
- Zebras– The Serengeti is home to two different species of zebras at Busch Gardens, Grevy’s zebras, and Grant’s zebras. Don’t forget to ask an animal educator to tell you the differences between the two.
- Penguins– View these African penguins who like water temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees at Penguin Point in Nairobi. This animals can swim more than 12 miles per hour and dive down 400 feet to catch fish.
- Meerkats– Located in the Edge of Africa, viewers can see complex underground burrows of the meerkat. Meerkats live in a matriarchal society, and they build their homes with more than 20 exits and entrances!
- Kangaroos & Macro pods- Hand feed Kangaroos in Walkabout Way in addition to learning about wallabies and wallaroos.
- Alligators, snakes, & Reptiles– At different spots in the park you will learn about alligators, aldabra tortoises, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and snakes.
- Gazelle & Antelope– From the Serengeti Express or on the Serengeti plain you will see gazelle, sable, wildebeest, kudu, bongos, and nyala.
- Flamingos & Birds– Get up close and personal and even feed the flamingos and lorikeets. In addition, ostriches, bald eagles, toucans, and kookaburras live at Busch Gardens FL.
Sesame Street Safari Adventure
This area is for the little ones. They can run and climb in Elmo’s Tree House. When they get hot they can cool off in the splash zone. Then have more fun on kid friendly rides. Plus meet some of your Sesame Street friends.
Additional Tours offered at Busch Gardens FL
These options range from $19.99 per person up to $599 for the private group safari and the majority don’t include park admission.
- Keeper for a Day- These are 4 hour walking tours from 8:30-12:30 where you will chat with animal care specialists and meet animals up close. You can either meet flamingos, sloths, and tortoises or kangaroos, wallabies, and lorikeets
- Animal Ambassador Insider- Here you can feed flamingos and participate in a training session
- Australian Insider- Help feed and learn about kangaroos, wallabies, and emus
- Aldabra Insider Tour- During this 20 minute tour you will learn about this amazing creature and get close and personal with it.
- Private VIP Rhino Safari Tour- Reserve your own tour vehicle for up to 12 people for this off road safari. During this 45 minute tour you will hand feed giraffes as well as explore the habitat of the black rhino. Then you will go behind the scenes to learn how keepers work with these endangered animals.
- Serengeti Safari- Tour the Serengeti in an open air vehicle which covers the 65 acre Serengeti Plain. Great photo op.
- Penguin Insider Tour- Learn about conservation efforts and meet the South African penguins.
- Elephant Insider Tour- Travel behind the scenes to meet the keepers and learn how they train and care for these majestic creatures.
- Sloth Encounter- When you participate in the Sloth encounter you will help feed and train this amazing animal along with its trainer.
- Hippo Insider Tour- This 30 minute walking tour includes meeting the keepers to learn about the habitat, feeding, and behaviors of hippos.
Where to Eat in Busch Gardens FL
- Giraffe Bar- In this new bar which overlooks the Serengeti Plain, guests can sip a variety of craft cocktails, Florida craft beers, and wines. Try some of their frozen concoctions when you need to cool off. Selection of wine and spirits supports wild life conservation around the world. Indoor and outdoor seating available plus sports featured on multiple television sets.
- Oasis Pizza-Who doesn’t like pizza? Enjoy this family favorite in air conditioned seating.
- Dragon Fire Grill & Pub- This international food court features Asian cuisine plus pizza, chicken, and burgers. In addition, those over 21 can enjoy craft brews and cocktails.
- Zambia Smokehouse- Either enjoy the fresh outdoors or dine in air conditioning while enjoying BBQ ribs, beer and wine.
- Zagora Cafe- For a quick bite grab a burger or chicken tenders and dine outdoors.
- Garden Gate Cafe- Grab a drink and a light snack while people watching outdoors. Open weekends after noon.
- Treetop Kitchen- Coming soon!
- Parking- You can pay for general or preferred parking on line when you purchase your tickets
- Rentals- Strollers, wheelchairs, and motorized wheel chairs are all available to rent at an additional price.
- Quick Queue- Don’t want to wait in long lines? Options include skipping the lines once per ride for most popular rides for one day or skipping the lines an unlimited time for one day. Also, the park offers a quick queue junior where kids can skip the lines once per ride for one day at the kid friendly rides. In addition, if you are an annual pass holder you can buy a year round quick queue which allows you priority access to most attractions year round.
- All-Day Dining Deal- pay a set price per child or adult which allows you 1 entree, 1 side item or dessert, and 1 soft drink each time through the line(once per hour) at select restaurants.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.