Spending a day at any theme park can be challenging without proper planning. Today we will bring you a complete Guide to Busch Gardens, a park located in Tampa Bay.
On this post
This wild and adventurous theme park is known for having some of the best roller coasters and thrill rides in Florida.
It's particularly one of my favorites, because I love roller coasters and extreme attractions and there's plenty of it there!
However, unlike what many people think, Busch Gardens is not just a park for adults.
As we will show here and we have also shown in another post, it presents several attractions for the whole family.
Formerly known as the Dark Continent, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay invites you to seek adventures in the lush and mysterious lands of Africa.
I have so many fond memories of this magnificent theme park.
I remember the first time I went and I hoped I wouldn't have time to go on the roller coasters, because I was scared to death.
While nowadays, it's one of my favorite parks in all of Orlando (despite being in Tampa).
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens opened in Tampa, Florida on March 31, 1959, by Anheuser-Busch, like a free animal attraction next to a brewery.
It has since become a 335-acre theme park divided into African-themed regions:
Cheetah Hunting Area
Sesame Street Safari of Fun
All areas of Busch Gardens in 2022 can be done in one day if you have a plan.
Here, we'll give you the perfect Busch Gardens itinerary further down the road in this complete guide!
What to know before you go
Here we'll give you 2 super quick tips that can help you if you've never been to Busch Gardens.
First, don't take a schoolbag very big as you will need to put it in lockers to ride the roller coasters.
And second, avoid baggy shoes as they can come off on an attraction.
What Should I Bring to Busch Gardens in 2022
Busch Gardens Roller Coasters
Well, as you probably know, one of the great attractions of Busch Gardens is its roller coasters, and of course we need to start talking about them.
Below we will list all the roller coasters in the park and later we will give more details about each one.
Later in this post we'll talk better about each of these roller coasters!
Tallest roller coaster in Busch Gardens
Sheikra is currently the tallest roller coaster in Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, reaching 60 meters in height.
Busch Gardens Prices
When planning your trip, you might want to know how much it costs to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa?
Let's look at the different ticket options you'll have at the park.
US $ 20: General parking for cars, motorcycles, trucks, recreational vehicles and campers (50% discount for Bronze Annual Pass members; FREE for Silver, Gold and Platinum Annual Pass members)
US $ 28: preferred parking (50% discount for annual Silver Pass members; free for Gold and Platinum members)
Busch Gardens Tickets
1 day entry, from $96
Play & Dine: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay + Eat Free All Day
Fun Card Pay: Get 1 year access to Busch Gardens plus Adventure Island for FREE.
Tampa Bay CityPASS: Attractions include: Busch Gardens® Tampa, the Florida Aquarium, the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, the Marine Aquarium of clearwater and the Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center or the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).
*All prices are subject to change without notice.
Busch Gardens Annual Pass Options
– Busch Gardens only from US $ 6.99 per month.
– SeaWorld or Adventure Island + Busch Gardens from US $ 9.99 per month
– SeaWorld + Busch Gardens + Adventure Island or Aquatica from US $ 11.99 per month
All prices vary depending on the plan chosen.
Busch Gardens All-Day Meal Plan
This is a meal plan where you pay a fee and can eat all you want in several restaurants in the park every 90 minutes.
That is, every 90 minutes you can go to one of the restaurants on the list below and eat 1 main course, 1 dessert and a non-alcoholic drink.
It's called All-Day Dining Deal and its price varies for the adult plan and child plan:
Adult: $ 39,99
Child: $ 19,99
Restaurants included in Busch Gardens All-Day Dining
– Zagora Café
– Oasis Pizza at Serengeti Overlook
– Dragon Fire Grill
– Zambia Smokehouse
Quick Queue by Busch Gardens
You can skip the lines at Busch Gardens' top rides and attractions.
It works similar to Lightning Lane Disney, but in this case you don't need to book, just arrive at the attraction and present your Quick Queue card and avoid the line.
Prices start at US$ 19.99 and vary depending on how busy the park can be that day.
Below are the current attractions included in the system Quick Queue:
– Falcon's Fury
– Cheetah Hunt
– Stanley FallsFlow
– Congo River Ride
– Snake's Curse
– Sand Serpent
– Tigris (single use)
Prices subject to change.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Busch Gardens
Arrive early at the Park
Arriving 30-45 minutes before the park opens is the best way to maximize your day, especially if you're trying to do it in one day.
Power tip: Book a hotel near Busch Gardens, such as Home2 Suites by Hilton, and explore Tampa Bay before heading back to Walt Disney World.
Remember that Busch Gardens is far from orlando, at least 1 hour by car.
Take this transfer time into account when heading to the park.
The Ideal Clothes for a Day at the Park
Florida's weather is mostly hot and humid, except for the beautiful months of December, January, February and March which can be a little cooler.
But there are still very hot days, so stay tuned for the weather forecast.
It even rains a lot at different times of the year, so take a raincoat in your backpack.
Like Universal, Busch Gardens does not allow bags and loose items on its roller coasters and offers paid lockers to store your belongings.
So don't take a very large backpack, take only what you need.
Find private and shady places
The Edge of Africa and Myombe Reserve are two, generally serene, living areas.
The great thing about Busch Gardens is the availability of hidden spots hidden throughout the park that also provide great views and shade.
Because unlike the Disney parks, it is normally an emptier park.
Therefore, it is possible to find several places like this to rest and enjoy a climate of nature.
To avoid the frustration that a crowded day at a theme park can bring, I suggest avoiding holidays, weekends, and summer.
This is the time when both locals and tourists flock to the parks.
Bringing unbelievable lines to attractions and making it difficult to walk through the entire park.
The best days to visit Busch Gardens are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
These tips are especially important if you are traveling alone and want to ride roller coasters.
Although we recommend that you pay for the all-day pass, but if you only want to ride 1 or 2 attractions, take 25 cent coins can be useful for renting lockers.
Try to get to Busch Gardens early and park near the tram station in the regular parking section.
If you pay for an upgrade to preferred parking, then there is a possibility that you could be placed in the back of that lot and will have to walk quite a bit to the front gates.
Buy the Busch Gardens Quick Queue Pass (Fura Filas)
This is a more important tip if you are going on a crowded day.
Busch Gardens Quick Queue will allow you to skip the long wait times on peak days at the park.
Buy All-Day Dining
For one low price, you'll get a wristband that will allow you to eat at participating restaurants throughout the day.
Each time you eat, your meal will include: 1 starter, 1 side or dessert and 1 fountain drink, tea or water for each visit. In other words, you can eat A LOT!
All-Day Dining Participating Restaurants at Busch Gardens:
– Zagora Café
– Oasis Pizza at Serengeti Overlook
– Dragon fire grill
– Zambia Smokehouse
Per Busch Gardens, it is prohibited to share All-Day Dining with the possibility of revoking your dining pass if it is found to be a violation of the rule.
1-Day Busch Gardens 2022 Itinerary
We will list here the order we recommend doing each tour and attraction.
– Plan to arrive before the gates open.
– Check out the famous Florida alligators in Morocco.
– Join the Cheetah Hunt.
– Do the Cobra's Curse roller coaster.
– Try Montu.
– Enjoy a walk along the edge of Africa or the Myombe Reserve to relax.
– Take the Skyride to the central area of the park.
– Do the Sheikra.
– Conquer the Tiger!
– Have lunch at Zambia Smokehouse.
– Do Stanley Falls.
– Conquer the rapids of the Congo River
– Do Kumba.
– Dive into the Scorpion Roller Coaster
– Ride the Phoenix.
– Try the Sand Serpent roller coaster.
– Conquer Falcon's Fury.
– Grab a delicious pretzel and beer at Pretzels Twisted Tails.
– Watch the shows you want
Special Events at Busch Gardens
Food and Wine Festival (March and April)
Coasters, music, food, drinks, fun and more can all be experienced at this annual Busch Gardens event.
This event is included in park admission.
Summer nights (June, July and August)
Experience the terrifying roller coasters at night and have fun with other Hipsters as DJs play your favorite tunes through the night.
This event is included in park admission.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay (September and October)
The Dark Continent-inspired theme park turns into a terrifying and spooky event where you will scream through the park.
A separate ticket is required for this event. You can read how to conquer Howl-O-Scream like a pro here!
Christmas Town Busch Gardens (November and December)
Christmas, Santa's home, Rudolph and more can be found at this annual Winter Wonderland experience in the heart of Tampa Bay.
Christmas Town is included with park admission.
Busch Gardens Tours, Attractions and Entertainment
Before visiting Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, you should know all the tours and attractions that are available for you to enjoy!
And there are many attractions found there, including many of them are radical. If you like roller coasters, you will undoubtedly love the attractions at Busch Gardens.
Extreme Park Attractions
Iron Gwazi, Morocco
Iron Gwazi is the park's newest attraction.
It is the tallest hybrid coaster in North America and the fastest and steepest in the world.
It is nearly 63 meters tall, has a 91-degree drop and has a top speed of 122 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).
The journey has a length of 1,242 meters and also includes three direction inversions and 12 airtime peaks (zero gravity sensation).
It replaced the old Gwazi, in fact it has been completely remodeled and it is almost impossible to see the old attraction there, apart from the wooden structures.
Cheetah hunt, Cheetah Hunt Area
Cheetah speed triple launch roller coaster and the largest in size in the park (+1.3km).
Height Requirement: Minimum 122cm
Snake's Curse, Egypt
Spinning roller coaster, with a vertical lift that takes you through the dark legend of King Snake.
Height Requirement: Minimum 106cm
Falcon's Fury, Pantopia
Turn 90 degrees in the air for a face-down dive into America's tallest drop tower (335 feet).
Height requirement: Between 137 cm and 195 cm
Read all about the Busch Gardens Falcon Fury tour here!
Hear the fierce roar of the lion in this classic must do roller coaster.
Height requirement: 137 cm
The Egyptian god named the roller coaster seven inversions.
Height Requirement: Minimum 137cm
A classic boat tour that can go full circle.
Height requirement: 121 cm
Floorless 90 degree diving roller coaster at speeds up to 70 km/h.
Height Requirement: Minimum 137cm
The second roller coaster built in Busch Gardens with a 360 degree vertical loop.
It's a good roller coaster for those who have never been on a looping one as it is quite small.
Height Requirement: Minimum 106cm
This is the tallest launch roller coaster in Florida with a height of 150 feet and a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour.
Height Requirement: Minimum of 54 ?
We have a post where we talk in more detail about the Bush Gardens extreme attractions.
Animal Encounter at Busch Gardens in 2022
Animal Care Center, Nairobi
This animal “nursery” features a state-of-the-art facility where guests can view animals receiving treatment, x-rays, and other forms of medical and physical care.
Lory Landing Aviary, Bird Gardens
It features a free-flight aviary for up-close encounters and a flamingo lagoon accompanied by beautiful tropical scenery.
Busch Gardens Official Tip:
Buy a cup of nectar on the way to the habitat to feed the lorikeets.
Also, check the guard times on the back of your park map to see special animal behaviors, feeding.
Cheetah Run, Cheetah Hunt Area
Come face to face with the fastest animal on land.
Edge of africa, Egypt
Walk through the peaceful African-inspired village as you watch and learn about the majestic lions, crocodiles, hippos, hyenas and more.
Elephant Interaction Wall, Nairobi
Meet the mighty creatures face to face.
Jungala, Jungala Area
Take a close look at the cane tigers and orangutans.
Penguin point, Nairobi
Check out African penguins that live in warmer climates and with water temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees.
Myombe Reserve, Nairobi
Lose yourself in this peaceful reserve full of gorillas and chimpanzees.
Walkabout way, Bird Gardens
A hands-on experience with kangaroos.
Busch Gardens Aquatic Attractions
Congo River Rapids
A brave soul riding through cold, icy waters on a January day.
Get ready to dive into this exciting river adventure through waterfalls and deep caves.
Height Requirement: Minimum 106 cm?
Stanley Falls, Stanleyville
Stay pleasantly refreshed on this classic water-flume ride.
Height Requirement: Minimum 117cm
Attractions for the whole family
Grand caravan carousel, Pantopia
Carousel with arabian stallions theme.
A ?wild? style roller coaster family fun, full of sharp turns and more!
Height Requirement: Minimum 116 cm with a possible companion.
Serengeti Express Train, Nairobi
Travel through the park and watch exotic animals roam. The train has stops at Congo, Nairobi and Stanleyville stations.
Height requirement: None
Skyride, Cheetah Hunt Area and Stanleyville
Get a bird's eye view of Busch Gardens from the cable car.
Height Requirement: Riders must be 142 cm or accompanied by a supervising companion.
Classic carnival style bumper cars.
Wild surge, Jungala
Prepare to be launched from a 35-foot mountain crater on this drop tower attraction.
Height Requirement: Must be at least 106 cm tall to ride alone or 38″ tall and accompanied by a supervisory companion to ride.
Busch Gardens Shows
Rock A Doo Wop, Pantopia
Rock A Doo Wop is a show that takes place at the Dragon Fire Grill and celebrates the Doo Wop era with a live band.
In it you will see live singers and dancers taking the stage several times a day.
This is a reboot of the show of the same name that had already been shown at the Marrakesh Theater several years earlier.
Busch Gardens restaurants
Eating at Busch Gardens 2022 is much better these days than it ever was in the past.
The addition of the Zambia Smokehouse made the theme park dining experience quite satisfying.
Although the offers don't match the levels of some restaurants found in other Orlando parks, there are several options.
Let's list them all here.
Bengal Bistro, Counter Service, $, Multiple Cuisines
Bengal Bistro is located in the Jungala area and is a bistro-style café.
There you will find options for fresh fish, wraps, sandwiches, salads and vegetarian dishes.
The Bengal Bistro is one of the best places to observe the huge green area of the park.
Cheetah Snacks, Counter Service, $, American
This kiosk is located in the Cheetah Hunt Area and as the name implies, you can buy snacks here like chips, pretzels and churros.
Dragon fire grill, Cafeteria Style, $, Multiple Cuisines
The Dragon Fire Grill is certainly one of the most sought after restaurants in the park and consequently one of the biggest as well.
It is located in the Pantopia region and is where you have the chance to have a meal while watching a live show.
There are several different food options there, almost as if it were a food court.
Garden Gate Café, Counter Service, $, American
A large restaurant with a beautiful view of a lake. It is in the Bird Gardens area.
It's a good place to take a break from your day and have a beer and some snacks.
Kenya Kanteen, Counter Service, $, American
Kenya Kanteen is a kiose in Nairobi that offers fast food.
There you can find hot dogs, turkey legs, funnel cakes, among other fresh products.
Serengeti Overlook, Quick Service, $, American
At Serengeti Overlook you can find Oasis Pizza and Giraff Bar.
It is located in the Egypt area.
It is a good option to have beer, drinks and eat fresh pizzas or salads.
Zagora Cafe, Counter Service, $, American
Another restaurant located in the region of Morocco.
It's an open restaurant with lots of places to sit.
The food there is traditional American fast food like Cheeseburgers, Nuggets and French Fries.
Zambia Smokehouse, Cafeteria Style, $$, Barbecue
This is a relatively new restaurant at Busch Gardens and one of the best dining options there.
The Zambia Smokehouse it is in the Stanleyville area very close to Sheikra.
The cuisine is of the American barbecue type, which consists of ribs in barbecue sauce and grilled chicken, among other excellent options.
It is also possible to find other food options such as sandwiches, salads, Mac N' Cheese and assorted desserts.
You can see the restaurant's full menu clicking here.
Busch Gardens Tours 2022
Not everyone knows, but at Busch Gardens there are several tours that are paid separately.
On these tours you have the opportunity to get up close and even interact with some of the park's animals.
There are some very interesting options. Let's check them all out here!
Elephant Insider Tour
On the Elephant Insider tour you could get up close and personal with the Asian elephants at Busch Gardens.
It's a 30-minute tour and you can go behind the scenes of the park and watch the animal care team feed and train the elephants up close.
If you really want to do the tour, we recommend that you make a reservation as daily spaces are limited.
Check-in is at Serengeti Outpost in Nairobi (north of the train station) at least 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time.
Elite Adventure Tour
The ultimate Busch Gardens VIP experience where you can customize your own 7-hour tour. With values starting at $399 per adult.
Children must be 5 years or older to participate in the Serengeti Safari, Aldabra Tortoise and Kangaroo feeding portion of this tour.
What is included in the Elite Adventure Tour:
? Approximately 7-hour private guided tour
? Includes ONE top-tier access to Iron Gwazi
? Includes Serengeti Safari Tour, Aldabra Tortoise Interaction, Lory Feeding and Kangaroo Feeding
? Meal is included
? VIP seats at shows
? Frontline access to most major rides
? Preferred parking; subject to availability
Hippo Insider Tour
On this tour you will have the opportunity to see some of the most amazing animals at Busch Gardens, the hippos, up close.
On this tour you'll have the opportunity to meet Busch Gardens' animal care experts as they learn what it takes to feed, enrich and conserve these exotic species.
Check-in can be done at the Serengeti Outpost in Nairobi (north of the train station) at least 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time.
Keeper for a Day Tour
You'll work with the zoo staff taking care of giraffes, antelopes, birds and more! This hands-on experience lasts 6.5 hours. US $ 249.00
Penguin Insider Tour
Guided tour with specialized coaches. US $ 29.00
Outdoor touring vehicle that takes you across the Serengeti plain. US $ 39.00
Tiger Insider Tour
30-minute walking tour with expert coaches. US $ 29.00
Aldabra Tortoise Insider Tour
You can get up close and personal with one of the largest tortoises in the world on this 30-minute walking tour. US $ 19.00
30-minute walking tour that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to care for cheetahs. US $ 29.00
Gorilla Insider Tour
You'll get up close to these endangered species on a 30-minute walking tour. US $ 29.00
Roller Coaster Insider Tour
This unique tour lets you get a behind-the-scenes look at how the roller coasters are maintained each day, along with a bird's-eye view of the Sheikra.
The roller coasters included in this 2-hour tour are SheiKra, Cheetah Hunt and Cobra's Curse. US $ 69.99
Discounts available for Annual Pass members.
Prices subject to change.
Busch Gardens stores
No self-respecting theme park, especially in orlando, has few stores.
Just like us, whenever we arrive anywhere in Orlando, we are taken by the spirit of maximum consumption and we want to buy everything.
Jokes aside, it's always nice to have several stores around the parks so you can find everything from clothes to souvenirs for the family.
You'll also find African crafts and clothing in the Morocco section of Busch Gardens.
Abby Cadabby's Treasure Hut
Cobra's Crypt Marketplace
Cookie Monster's Trading Post
Marrakesh Market: Inspired Threads
Painted Camel Bazaar
Sahara Trading Company
How to get to Busch Gardens in 2022
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is about 110km / 68 miles from Walt Disney World Resort, which takes about an hour and 25 minutes by car.
There is a Busch Gardens shuttle that provides transportation to and from the park.
Round-trip fare is free with park ticket purchase and departs Orlando daily with a maximum of three stops to Busch Gardens.
Reservations are highly recommended and can be booked by calling 1-800-221-1339 or visiting Mears Destination Services online.
How to get to Busch Gardens Tampa from Disney World
Travel WEST on I-4 to I-75 (approximately 90 km or 55 miles)
Enter I-75 NORTH at exit 9 towards Ocala (stay on I-75 for approximately 6 km or 3.7 miles)
Take EXIT 265 towards Temple Terrace (this exit is also the exit for the University of South Florida)
You will enter Avenue E Fowler / FL-582 W via EXIT 265 and stay here for approximately 7.5 km or 4.6 miles
Turn left onto N McKinley Dr / County Hwy-585A (stay here for approximately 1 mile or 1 mile)
Make a U-turn at N McKinley Dr / County Hwy-585A
Arrive and park at Busch Gardens
The address for Busch Gardens is 10165 N McKinley Drive Tampa, FL 33612.
Busch Gardens opening hours
The Busch gardens normally opens at 10:00 and closes at 18:00.
However, during peak summer days, the park may be open until midnight. Remember, when planning your trip, always check the park's website or mobile app for current times and wait times.
The Busch Gardens It's one of my favorite theme parks to go to and I try to go every time I go to Orlando.
It offers a wide range of attractions and exhibits that can be enjoyed by anyone.
I personally appreciate the nostalgic factor of classic Florida theme park days, which Busch Gardens also brings back to my mind!
To finish this guide, I leave a little of what we showed on our instagram and compiled it into a youtube video.
In our Youtube channel we show a little bit of a walk through the park!
We hope we helped, this was a very complete and practical guide to what you will find around Busch Gardens 2022.
I hope again that this post helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.
As a way to help us keep the blog going, we just ask you to help us by sharing this publication and subscribing to our social networks as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube channel.
In addition to helping us, we are sure that there you will find hundreds of useful posts for your trip!
About the Author Carlos Braga:
Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.
My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.
During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!