We decided to throw the traditional Thanksgiving tradition out of the window and go to Busch Garden in Tampa, Florida. Our plan was to enjoy the day at the park if it was definitely not crowded and then we would return home for a reduced Thanksgiving party. We were a little surprised to note that Busch Gardens raised their admission price to $ 64.95 per person. We were pleased that they offered a $ 10.00 discount on each ticket when they were purchased online, which we did.
Tickets in hand, we drove to Tampa via interstate I-275, which was traditionally empty of vehicle traffic. The great thing about Busch Gardens is that it's easy to find anywhere in Florida. We drove south, so we left I-275 at the Fowler exit (exit 51) and then drove east on Fowler Road to a park that is extremely monstrous and cannot be missed when driving down Fowler Avenue. Above Fowler are McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts, right above the park, in case you need to eat or have coffee before you start your adventure.
Another really nice feature of Busch Gardens is their parking lots. The plots are located near the park entrance and the tram flows to and from the main gates. The $ 9.00 parking fee is a bit too high. Why not add parking with an increased entrance to the park? Some argue that the $ 9.00 fee allows them the staff and trams needed to get visitors to the park and to get to the park with little waiting time.
Buying tickets online paid off because we quickly entered the main gates, showing printed tickets and scanning them at the turn. I was a little surprised when there was a large crowd at the front gates at 10 am. I had imagined that the park was empty, except for a handful of visitors. Just like most park visitors, we did roller skates.
Busch Gardens is known for its beautiful animal exhibitions and is located outside this world roller coaster. These rollers are not for those with stomachs or who are afraid of heights. As many have never seen before, Montu, Kumba and Shiekra are fast, high and screaming rollers. I personally don't like roller coasters, so I don't usually ride them when I go to Busch Garden. I've traveled with Kumba, Montu and Gwaz before and I have to admit they are exciting and awe-inspiring.
We went to Montu first and I was happy to wait below while my exciting family members were waiting for a very short line. That's how Busch Gardens describes Montu, one of the tallest and longest reversed rollers in the world. If you suffer more than 60 miles per hour and a G-force of 3.85, experience the excitement of the reverse dive loop and 60-foot vertical loop. It makes my stomach uneasy just by reading their driving description!
My family drove to Montu, and when I met them, two of them were not as firm on their feet as they had been a few minutes earlier. I can always get caught watching people when they come out of the roller skates.
Next, we walked a short distance from an exhibit on the edge of Africa, which gives you a close-up view of African animals in enclosures that resemble their natural habitat. They are not cages or pens, but are very large and open air areas where they roam. We were very pleased to learn that coming to the park early in the morning meant more than beating the crowds, allowing us to see the animals feeding. We arrived and found 2 park workers sitting on the ground inside the Meerkat exhibit. The two meerkats were quite entertaining as they caught up with the workers at the rushed park. For those who have forgotten, meerkat is the lion king's cute animal (Timon), who is best friends with Pumba the Warthog.
Then the park staff told us that they were heading to the lion's exhibit and that we should come if we wanted to watch the feeding. I always enjoy the theme park more when I meet warm and friendly staff. The African Lion show was absolutely impressive. I love the wild life and the opportunity to walk to a huge glass wall and stare face to face with two huge lions was exciting. The male lion walked over to the glass and looked at the small number of visitors as if trying to decide what our morning meal should be. I had seen lions in zoos before, but seeing a close one gave me a better idea of why they are called the "king of the jungle". The lion is a large, muscular and apparently powerful beast with large tit and huge paws. I waited for the park staff to let the lions toss the plates, but they only fell into small pieces at a time.
The rest of Africa's exposition consisted of picturesque habitats of hippopotamus, hyenas, vultures and the Nile crocodile.
Next we went to Skyride to go over a scenic hike to Stanleyville Park. Skyride takes you high up in the Serenget Plain, where you can view zebras, water buffalo and an array of other African animals. This view gives an impressive view over a wide area of the Serengeti Plain. Skyride took us to Stanleyville, home to SkeiKra, Stanley Falls Flume and Tidal Wave.
This area is the hub of The SheiKra, Busch Gardens' most dreaded coastal cruise ship. Busch Gardens describes the ride – the name SheiKra evokes African golden power and speed in twisting and diving – giving riders 70 miles per hour, an adrenaline pumping experience like no other. At 200 feet, SheiKra takes the crown to be Florida's tallest mountaintop. What drives me about SheiKra is that the ride takes you 200 feet up and then shoots 90 degrees straight down.
Busch Gardens has recently renovated your ride and now your driving cars have no floor so your feet hang in the air. I watched this ride at a glance and knew it wasn't for me. SkeiKra has to be the most impressive mountain bike I've ever seen. Only two members of my party were nervous about driving with SheiKra, and one of them admitted that he was blindfolded throughout the ride.
Next we visited the guest house where we sat by the lagoon and enjoyed 2 free beers. The weather was cool and windy, which made the day much nicer. Wooden roller coaster, Gwazi is nearby, so we headed there. Here is a description of Busch Gardens in Gwazi -Guasi is a Tampa Bay mammoth double-decker wooden beach liner. It is also the largest and fastest double-sided reel in Southeast, with over 1.25 million log feet of lumber and over 2 million bolted joints. Under the name of a fairytale lion with a tiger's head, Gwazi riders almost 7,000 feet in length and there are two separate coasters that are intertwined: I actually rode this roller coaster and it was a lot of fun. It's much faster than it looks and it was a tougher ride than I could have expected.
We couldn't see everything the park has to offer because there is too much to do in one day. Busch Gardens has something for everyone to enjoy. Excitement seekers can spend the day on the world's best rollerblades and other rides, children enjoy the land of dragons, animal lovers enjoy many beautiful animals and exhibits, and all admire the endless amount of beautiful gardens and flowers. We thoroughly enjoyed this Thanksgiving trip and will be back soon.