The Busch Park in Tampa is quite unlike any other theme parks one normally associates with Florida. To start with many of the stimulating attractions are not rides or high tech shows but rather charming animals and sea creatures in the park.
The vast 365 acres of parkland houses more than 2,700 animals – most of them from Africa. The park has Cheetahs, Hyenas, Lemurs, Meerkats, Peacocks, Elephants, Flamingos, Giraffes, Chimpanzees, Orang-utans, Zebras, Alligators, Kangaroos, Hippopotamus’ Lions, Tigers, Rhinoceroses, Gorillas, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Kookaburras, Magpie Geese and Australian Black Swans.
The inspiration for the exhibits and themes is a legacy of Busch Park’s origins. When it opened in 1959 it was named “The Dark Continent.” Today it is one of America’s largest zoological institutions.
In line with its overall ‘nature’ theme the Busch Gardens has interactive engagements and events that involve its loveable resident creatures. The Park and its owners, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, have managed to find an excellent recipe that blends entertainment and nature. The Park enables guests to connect with and spend time caring for and learning about the animals in particular and the natural world in general. One may even hand-feed some of them.
Aside from its animal related wildlife attractions Busch Park has achieved world-wide fame for its exceptional thrill rides and scream-inducing roller coasters. One of its best known rides is the famous SheiKra, the original Vertical Dive Coaster, with a 90 degree drop. With the addition of its Waterpark section, Adventure Island, Busch Gardens has turned into a multi-themed amusement complex.
Since 2002, the Busch Gardens introduced the, now famous Halloween event, the Howl-O-Scream. The event takes place every year during September and October and is a great crowd puller. It is a night event and features some really “horrific” attractions.
Another holiday-based event is Snow World. It takes place from November through December. The whole park is turned into a Christmas-themed town with lights, real snow and ice slides turning tropical Florida into a winter wonderland.
The Pantopia section is very popular. It features Africa themed bazaars, rides, roller coasters and the Pantopia indoor theatre. The Falcon’s Fury, a drop tower, opened to the public in 2014. It plunges riders 310 feet down at 60 mph.
The many millions of visitors to Busch Park attest to its successful formula and rather unique combination of attractions.