Busch Gardens – Tampa Bay, Florida
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335-acre 19th century African-themed animal theme park located in the city of Tampa, Florida.
Train cars from the Serengeti Express in the foreground with the Skyride in the background. 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 90-foot (27 m), 50 mph (80 km/h) dueling wooden roller coaster named after a mythological creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion.
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.
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.
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.
Python, the park’s first roller coaster. It was also Florida’s first inverting roller coaster. It was removed in 2006.
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. First built in 1993 by Bolliger & Mabillard, it still 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.
Python, an Arrow Dynamics looping coaster patterned after the original Corkscrew at Knott’s Berry Farm, previously occupied the site occupied now by Jungala.
A section themed after the malls and bazaars of Africa. This section opened up in May 1980. 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.
Sand Serpent, a steel wild mouse roller coaster.
Phoenix, an Intamin Looping Starship themed as an Egyptian cargo vessel.
Sesame Street Film Festival 4-D a 3-D short film starring characters from Sesame Street. The film is shown in the Timbuktu Theater jointly with Pirates 4-D.
Pirates 4-D a 3-D short film about Pirates starring Leslie Nielsen. It was closed in March 2010 to make way for Sesame Street 4-D, but returned on August 5, 2010 and will be shown in the Timbuktu Theater jointly with Sesame Street.
Sandstorm, an orbiter ride with three arms that spins riders around.
Caravan Carousel, a carousel with horses, camels, and chariots.
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 areas 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 ends spiraling its riders down a raging river. The river portion of the attraction was eventually abandoned due to repeated vehicle breakdowns. 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.
Crown Colony Plaza
Crown Colony House
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.
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, addra gazelle, eland, impala, ostrich, marabou stork, East African crowned crane and sacred ibis.
Giraffes at the “Edge of Africa” attraction.
A 3-acre (12,000 m2) home for six lowland gorillas and nine chimpanzees located in Nairobi, opened in 1992.
Edge of Africa
Opened in 1997, Edge of Africa is a walk-through attraction where guests can observe African animals. Among the exhibits are meerkats, two prides of lions, a pack of hyenas, a few hippos, 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.