What do you get when you mix an amusement park with a zoo? Why, you get Busch Gardens Tampa, a 300-plus acre venue in the Bay area of Florida that combines roller coasters and thrill rides with animal exhibits and demonstrations.
The park originally opened in 1959, but not as an amusement park. In fact, its early roots were brewing related, as it began life as a free Florida tourist attraction for the Anheuser-Busch location.
Things eventually changed and the venue has since grown by leaps and bounds into the amusement park and African-themed wildlife park that it is today. In fact, its theme park roots truly started in 1965 when it opened a 29-acre grass plain for animals to roam, the first of its kind that allowed animals to freely roam in an environment that mimicked their natural habitat. The plain has since been expanded to 65 acres.
Today, while it's animals are still a popular attraction, the park is probably best known for its thrill rides - namely its Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Scorpion and dueling Kumba and Montu roller coasters. Busch Gardens Tampa is presently under the ownership of Sea World Entertainment and attracts over 4 million guests each year, regularly making it one of the 20-most popular theme parks in the country and 25-most popular theme parks in the world.
The park features more family-friendly rides as well as a children's themed area. Live shows are also offered throughout the day. While separate from Busch Gardens Tampa, the park is also adjacent to a 30-acre sister water park known as Adventure Island.
Visiting Busch Gardens
Located about eight miles to the northeast of downtown Tampa and about 30 miles away from Tampa International Airport, Busch Gardens Tampa is easily accessible. Since the theme park is open year-round, its hours of operation vary. For instance, on summer days the park opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Spring, fall and winter hours are generally more limited, typically running from 10 a.m. to either 6 or 7 p.m.
For many, a visit to the Tampa area isn't complete without a stop at Busch Gardens. Fun for the whole family, the park's unique offering of wildlife and thrill rides is an enjoyable way to spend a day in Florida's bay area.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in Tampa is the closest Holiday Inn brand to Busch Gardens. You can see roller coasters from our front doors and purchase your tickets at the front desk. We are...