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Guide to Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a huge African-themed animal park and thrill ride adventure park just outside of Orlando. It’s home to almost 3,000 animals and some of Florida’s most thrilling rollercoasters.

Take the incredible Serengeti Safari across the wild African plain where you’ll meet zebras and rhinos, and can even feed the friendly giraffes! This is one experience you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Hand-feed tropical birds, kangaroos and more adorable animals, see spectacular Broadway quality shows and ride a 7-loop rollercoaster and lots more – all in the space of a day at Busch Gardens!

Busch Gardens Rides

These are some of the most popular rides at Busch Gardens (and our favourites!):

ARRIVING SUMMER 2016: Cobra’s Curse

Get ready for a whirlwind adventure! This family-friendly spin coaster combines the best of what Busch Gardens has to offer: animals and thrill rides!

Cobra’s Curse isn’t your ordinary spin coaster – in fact, it will be the only one of its kind in the world.

The queue for the ride itself is a live snake exhibit, so from the moment you enter you’ll find yourself face to fang with some of the world’s most notorious snake species!

The 400ft³ exhibit is designed with the snakes’ welfare in mind, including naturalistic elements, controlled heat sources and humidity control.

Even just watching the video has you on the edge of your seat….

Thrill Rides – Our Top Picks

Falcon’s Fury

Get ready to reach new heights at Busch Gardens with the first drop tower of its kind in the world!

Falcon’s Fury mimics the dive speeds of the fastest creature on earth – the falcon. Standing tall at 335ft, riders are plunged 60mph straight down just like a falcon diving at breakneck speed for its prey.

At the ride’s highest point, the ride pivots 90 degrees in mid-air until you’re in a face-down dive position - just like its bird of prey namesake. You can guess what’s coming next… an instant later you're plunged straight down with amazing speed and power!

Falcon's Fury

Cheetah Hunt

The cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth. A beautiful, graceful hunter admired by everyone…. the perfect creature to base a rollercoaster on!

Experience the speed and skill of the cheetah on Busch Gardens’ longest thrill ride; Cheetah Hunt launches you from 0 to 60mph in a few seconds – just like the cheetah does - not just once, but three times!

Height Restrictions: Riders must be 48” to ride Cheetah Hunt

Cheetah Hunt


This ferocious, floorless dive coaster takes you 200 feet up to the edge of a sheer, terrifying drop. As the ride inches carefully over the edge, then stops dead, you’ll be begging for mercy!

After a few nerve-shredding seconds, the brake are released and you plunge full-speed from the sky into an Immelmann inversion (loop-the-loop), dive into an underground tunnel and finish with a splashdown finale. Phew!

Height Restrictions: Riders must be 54’ tall to ride SheiKra



An absolute beast of a ride, Montu was the first coaster in the world to incorporate the Immelmann loop - a simultaneous loop and roll.

You’ll also experience a twisting drop, a 60ft vertical loop, a unique Batwing inversion and a zero-G roll…and that's just for starters!

With 7 intense inversions and named after an Egyptian god of war, it’s no wonder Montu is constantly voted one of the top steel rollercoasters in the world.

Height Restrictions: Riders must be 54’ tall to ride Montu



Get ready to scream on this blood-curdling thrill ride that takes its name from the African Kongo word for “Roar”!

There’s no messing about with this coaster - Kumba starts as it means to go on with a thrilling 135ft drop, before plunging straight into a diving loop.

Expect the unexpected – you’ll experience a full 3 seconds of total weightlessness as you spiral 360º, before smashing through one of the world's largest vertical loops.

Tip: Kumba is located at the back of the park, so it’s a good idea to start off here, then work your way back towards the front of the park, going against the crowds to avoid the queues!

Height Restrictions: Riders must be 54’ tall to ride Kumba



Great for Children – Our Top Picks

Jungle Flyers

Young adventurers can try zip-lining the easy way on this ride that takes them gliding 50ft high above Jungala’s village.

Kids are seated in hang-glider style seats and can choose from 3 different flight paths. See if you can spot the gibbons and flying foxes as you pass by the animal habitats!

Restrictions: Riders must be aged between 6 – 13 and at least 48” tall. Maximum weight: 220 lbs.


A firm favourite with the little ones! SandSerpent is a “wild mouse” style coaster that seats 4 passengers per car, so the whole family can ride together!

This fun-filled coaster zooms around hairpin turns, surprises you with sudden dips and climbs five storeys into the air before bringing you back down to earth. They’ll definitely want to ride this one again (sorry mum and dad!).

Restrictions: Children must be at least 46” and 6 years old to ride SandSerpent. Children over 51” and 8 years of age or older may ride unaccompanied, all other children must be accompanied by a responsible person aged 14 years or older.

Animal Experiences

The animals are the stars at Busch Gardens! Don’t forget to check out your park map to find out what times you can meet the keepers!

Serengeti Safari

*Separate ticket required

This wild adventure is the ultimate highlight of your experience at Busch Gardens!

The Serengeti Safari Tour takes you right to the centre of the action, where hundreds of animals roam free on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain.

Get ready for some amazing photo opportunities as you venture out into this enormous natural habitat on a 30-minute open-air safari truck expedition. Meet zebras, rhinos and antelopes and even feed a giraffe a leafy snack!

Your personal tour guide will entertain you with funny stories and fascinating information about the animals who live there.

Add the Serengeti Safari to your Busch Gardens visit

Serengeti Safari

Animal Care Centre

Get a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at the state-of-the-art facility where Busch Gardens’ staff take care of their animals. Here you’ll find out about the X-rays, surgeries, nutrition, treatments and lots more!

Animal Care Centre

Bird Gardens

Get up-close to around 500 tropical birds from around the world in the free-flight aviary, and visit the flamingo lagoon for a family photo with of a flock of over 250 flamingos!

Bird Gardens

Cheetah Run

Fast, strong, beautiful and graceful – cheetahs are loved and admired by everyone! And here you can get just inches away from the world’s fastest land animals.

Tip: When you arrive at the park, ask a Busch Gardens educator when the cheetahs will be running – it’s a sight you don't want to miss! 

Cheetah Run

Edge of Africa

Take a walking safari through this attraction that’s themed around an abandoned African fishing village, and see all kinds of exotic African animals along the way! You can take things at your own pace as you encounter hyenas, lemurs, vultures, meerkats, hippos, lions, crocodiles and more.

Tip: The lions will be at their most active either early in the morning or at dusk.

Edge of Africa

Jambo Junction

Meet some of the park's animal ambassadors and find out how they are cared for, including Busch Gardens' newest hatchlings who are being hand-raised by the park’s animal care staff. You might even get the chance to help with feeding time!


Experience three storeys of jungle life at Jungala, from a tiger’s underground lair to an orangutan habitat in the treetops!

Get an incredible view into the middle of the tiger enclosure on the Tiger Trail, cool down on Wild Surge, a shot tower that launches you above a waterfall, and little ones can soar through the treetops on the Jungle Flyers zip line.

Tip: Check the keeper times on the back of your park map for feedings, special moments and even a tiger test of strength!


Lory Landing 

Make some new feathered friends as the friendly, colourful Lorikeets glide down to say hello - and feast on the cup of fresh fruit nectar in your hand! You can also meet other birds like hornbills, pheasants and many more.

Tip: Don’t forget to pick up a cup of nectar on your way in to hand-feed the lorikeets!

Walkabout Way

Say G’day to the animals of Australia! Here you can hand-feed friendly kangaroos and free-roaming wallabies, as well as meeting more creatures from down under such as kookaburras and tawny frogmouths.

The animals here are most active in the morning and at dusk, so these are the best times to visit as you’ll have the best chance to hand-feed them or even pet them!

Tip: Check out the kangaroo feeding times when you arrive at the park, and ask the kangaroo keepers about bottle-feeding the baby kangaroos (known as joeys).

Busch Gardens Shows


This outrageous a cappella singing competition pits two singing groups against each other in a laughter-filled sing-off!


This is Busch Gardens biggest-ever ice show! A 30-minute performance starring world-class skaters, giant-sized puppets, amazing costumes and even some animal stars in a show that takes you through some of the most incredible parts of the world.

Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation

Join the party with Alex the Lion and the rest of the Madagascar characters as they holiday at Busch Gardens! With singers, dancers and party favourites performed by a live band, this musical show will have you singing, clapping and dancing along!


Summer Nights at Busch Gardens see a rock-fuelled blast of music and acrobatics in the award-winning Kinetix show!

These energising performances pump up the crowd every Sunday - Friday in Gwazi Park, and light up the sky with an incredible fireworks finale.

A is for Africa

Elmo, Grover, Abby, Zoe and Cookie Monster star in a musical performance that takes kids on an adventure powered by their imaginations! You can catch this show several times a day at the Sesame Street® Safari of Fun's Sunny Day Theater.

Burn the Floor: Untapped

Expect fiery Flamenco performances, passionate guitar players and raucous tap dancing at this eclectic Moroccan-influenced club that has become Pantopia’s gathering place for artists from around the world.

Busch Gardens Restaurants

Busch Gardens All Day Dining Pass

For the best restaurant value, get the Busch Gardens All Day Dining pass, which lets you eat and drink as much as you like all day in most of the eateries at Busch Gardens!

Find out more about the Busch Gardens All Day Dining Pass

Waiter Service Restaurants

Crown Colony Restaurant

If you’d like to eat here, we recommend to make your reservation as soon as you arrive at the park - it’s a very popular choice!

Located above the Crown Colony Café, this restaurant has outstanding views over the Serengeti Plain. A typical menu includes fish, seafood, steak, pasta dishes, fresh salads and vegetable platters and specialist sandwiches.

Pantopia Grill

A delicious, family-friendly menu with entertainment included! Food at Pantopia Grill includes freshly prepared sandwiches, baby back ribs, chicken alfredo, spaghetti, salads and scrummy desserts, as well as cocktails for the grown-ups.

Cafés and Bistros

The Zagora Café

Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner – the Zagora Grill has something for everyone, including fresh-from-the-grill hamburgers, cheeseburgers and fajita wraps, plus more healthy alternatives like sandwiches and salads


Follow the smoke for a delicious variety of chargrilled goodies from the open barbecue pit! Their menu includes BBQ chicken and ribs, smoked beef brisket, macaroni & cheese, Kids BBQ meals, speciality sandwiches and more.

Other cafes and bistros at Busch Gardens include:

  • The Bengal Bistro
  • Crown Colony Café

Snacks & Quick Bites

Twisted Tails Pretzels

This can only be described as pretzel heaven! With fresh-rolled pretzels and breads, pretzel sandwiches, pretzel dogs, pretzel bites and more, pretzel lovers definitely need to make a pit-stop here!

Kettle Corn

Grab some kettle corn or other flavoured popcorn, which is popped fresh right here! At Kettle Corn you can also pick up wraps, corn dogs and other quick snacks.

Other places to grab a quick bite to eat include:

  • Kenya Kanteen
  • Orang Cafe
  • SheiKra Sweet Treats
  • Sultan's Sweets
  • Lynx Frozen Treats

Busch Gardens Facts

Busch Gardens Opening Times

Busch Gardens’ opening hours can vary depending on the season.

For example, in some of the summer months the park opens at 9.30am and closes at 9pm, and in winter opening hours are around 10am – 5pm.

We recommend to check with the park before you visit if you need to know the opening times on a specific date.

Busch Gardens Parking

Busch Gardens has almost 5,000 parking spaces. Parking prices per day are:

  • Cars, motorcycles, trucks, recreation vehicles and campers - $17
  • Valet parking is offered at $30
  • Preferred parking is $22 for the general public, ($11 for 2 Year & 1 Year Pass Members; free for Platinum members)

Please Note: Both Valet and Preferred parking are subject to availability and not guaranteed.

Directions to Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is located at the corner of Busch Boulevard and 40th Street.


10165 N McKinley Drive
FL 33612

Busch Gardens is easy to find, wherever you’re travelling from:

  • About 1 hour from Orlando via Interstate 4
  • 8 miles North-East of downtown Tampa
  • 2 miles West of Interstate 75 at exit 265
  • 2 miles East of Interstate 275 (Busch Boulevard exit)
  • 30 minutes East of area beaches and Tampa International Airport

Free Busch Gardens Shuttle:

Free round-trip transport to Busch Gardens from several convenient Orlando area locations is included with your Busch Gardens tickets when you book with FloridaTix!

You will need to reserve your transport in advance by calling Mears Destination Services on 1-800-221-1339. Please also call this number for any additional information, including pick-up times and locations.

Getting there:

From Orlando:

  • Travel WEST on I-4 to I-75.
  • Head NORTH on I-75 to the FOWLER AVENUE exit #265 (the exit for the University of South Florida)
  • Bear left on the exit ramp, and proceed onto Fowler Avenue.
  • Head WEST on Fowler Avenue to McKinley Drive. (the first junction past the main entrance to the University)
  • Turn left onto McKinley Drive
  • Keep going on McKinley Drive until you reach the car park and main entrance to Busch Gardens.

From St. Petersburg:

  • Travel NORTH on I-275 to the FOWLER AVENUE exit. (Exit # 51, Exit # 34)
  • Turn right onto Fowler Avenue and proceed 2.5 miles to McKinley Drive.
  • Turn right onto McKinley Drive
  • Keep going on McKinley Drive until you reach the main car park entrance.

From the North:

  • Travel SOUTH on I-75 to FOWLER AVENUE exit #265. (the exit for the University of South Florida)
  • Bear right on the exit ramp, and proceed onto Fowler Avenue.
  • Head WEST on Fowler Avenue to McKinley Drive. (the first junction past the main entrance to the University)
  • Turn left onto McKinley Drive
  • Keep going on McKinley Drive until you reach the car park and main entrance to Busch Gardens.

From the South:

  • Travel NORTH on I-75, past the intersection of I-4, to the FOWLER AVENUE exit #265 (the exit for the University of South Florida)
  • Bear left on the exit ramp, and proceed onto Fowler Avenue.
  • Head WEST on Fowler Avenue to McKinley Drive. (the first junction past the main entrance to the University)
  • Turn left onto McKinley Drive
  • Keep going on McKinley Drive until you reach the car park and main entrance to Busch Gardens.

What can I bring into Busch Gardens?

Prohibited items include:

  • Coolers
  • Glass containers
  • Any food such as sandwiches, meals, snacks etc.
  • Flavoured drinks

Acceptable items include:

You are allowed to bring water bottles into Busch Gardens.


Ride Accessibility:

Guests with physical conditions that would prevent normal seating or use of safety restraints should not board the following rides:

  • SheiKra
  • Cheetah Hunt
  • Stanley Falls Log Flume
  • Congo River Rapids
  • Kumba
  • Tanganyika Tidal Wave
  • Montu
  • Phoenix 
  • Scorpion
  • Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars 
  • Sand Serpent

Disabled Parking

Disabled parking spaces are available in Lot A near the main entrance. Please note that you must have a legal parking permit.

Wheelchair & Stroller Rental:

  • Wheelchairs and Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) can be rented at Stroller Rental near the front gate of the park in Morocco.
  • Wheelchairs and ECVs are available on a first-come first served basis to guests with disabilities.
  • Guests may also use their own wheelchairs in the park.

Deaf & hard of hearing

  • Scripts for all shows are available at Guest Relations
  • A sign-language interpreter may be available for your day at Busch Gardens, with advance notice. Please contact Guest Relations at to ask about scheduling an interpreter at least two weeks prior to your visit.
  • Assistive Listening Devices are available at Guest Relations and most theatres. These amplify the volume of the performance for guests who have difficulty hearing.

Vision Disabilities

Guests with visual impairments must have someone (a companion or park team member) read the ride restrictions to them prior to boarding.


Guests with hard casts cannot ride Kumba, Montu or SheiKra.

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