The first time I went to Busch Gardens was March of 2002. My college roommate had tickets so we piled up into a car and drove out there for some fun in Tampa. It was the first trip my hubs (he was the boyfriend at that time) took together and it gave me a great window into how him and I can’t drive on long road trips together at all. Anywhoo…the kids and I went to Orlando for a conference and decided to hit the road and travel to Tampa for a day at Busch Gardens…..Here is how we spent the day. Stay tuned for the end on why Busch Gardens is more than just a theme park.
We went on a Thursday. We originally was going to go on a Friday but thought hmmmm it might be to packed so we need to go Thursday before the weekend hits. Good thing we did that because Busch Gardens was practically empty. The lines weren’t long at all and it wasn’t crowded in the park. Here are some quick tips for a day at the theme park
- Pay for Valet. A lot of theme parks you gotta pay anyway might as well pay extra to be right there at the entrance. I know to some that might be bougie but I already have to walk…I’m not walking a mile to and from car also. When it’s time to go it’s time to go lol
- Carry a backpack that can go on your back. It’s easier to manage and your arms are free plus it won’t be anything heavy on one arm
- Put everything in that backpack including extra clothes because you just never know what may happen
- Get the all you can drink cups buy 3 or more so it can be cheaper. That way you can fill up with drinks all day especially if you are going in the heat
- Carry someone with you. Since my hubs passed I always get a friend or trusted family member to tag along because going to a theme park by yourself with two kids who don’t get along….not good
- Put on walking shoes please….no flip flops…..trust me you don’t want to know that type of pain
- Have a budget for food or eat before you come…that’s what we did so we didn’t buy anything but drinks
When we arrived I didn’t realize that Busch Gardens was so colorful! My kids loved the tall people as they called it lol.
I don’t ride rides so I am always the bag lady at every theme park that I go to. I have no desire to have my heart jumping out of my chest so I prefer to just hold the bags and people watch. Just because you don’t ride rides doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things to do. Busch Gardens is part theme park part zoo and that is nice for those like me who don’t ride rides. Let me give you a little history on Busch Gardens.
Busch Gardens parks were initially developed as marketing vehicles for Anheuser-Busch and featured hospitality houses with samples of Anheuser-Busch products. They also included stables that housed many of the company’s Clydesdale horses, which have been associated with Anheuser-Busch since 1933. Eventually, rides and attractions were added to the parks and over time were developed into full theme parks while still promoting Anheuser-Busch. Busch Entertainment Corporation, now called SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, was created as a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies to run the various parks in 1959
My son rode all of the rides that he could. My daughter rode a couple of them to. I liked that they had an area where you could sit down and let the kids run around. Let’s talk about that part of our trip shall we….
My son and daughter don’t like each other. I don’t know why they don’t but they just don’t. I told my son to keep an eye on his sister while my Aunt and I sat down to rest our feet. There was only one way out of this area so we sat near the entrance so I was okay letting them run wild. After about an hour of playing my son comes back down from the play area and sat down by us to get a swig of something to drink. Where is your sister I asked……
Dman: I don’t know lost her a while back
Me: Did I not tell you to keep up with her and to don’t come down here without her
Dman: Yeah….well she went in another direction so I just let her go
Me: You just don’t care that someone can snatch her up and take her
Dman: They would bring her right back….
Me: That’s not the issue here I told you to keep an eye on her
Meanwhile my Aunt was panicking because my daughter was nowhere in sight. I wasn’t worried because my daughter knows about the danger of strangers. I wanted my son to know the consequences of his actions and to go and find her. So I told him to go and find her and don’t come back without her he had 10 min. He got up and called for her right where we were sitting…well damn, I could have done that too…why didn’t I think of that. Boy, if you don’t get your butt up and go find her. He finally got up and went to look for her. My Aunt went with him and they all came back about 5 min later. I took his phone for the rest of the day at the park because if you don’t care about your sister you shouldn’t care about a phone. The two of them….anywhooo that was the only mishap that we had for the day. Overall it was a nice day riding rides, walking, and seeing the animals.
My favorite part of the entire day though was the show that they put on in Pantopia
All of the animals performed! That was cute, funny, and entertaining for all the ages. The animals did tricks and stuff it was amazing. You will have to make sure you see that show when you go
Here are some more pointers from our day
- Ride the train around the entire park…trust me it will be relaxing and you get to meet people
- Everytime the kids and I go somewhere we always buy something that reminds us of the trip. It can be a shirt, a magnet for the fridge, or even a mug for your coffee
- I had on shorts but make sure you have on comfortable clothing.
- If you are on a budget, be sure to plan ahead and take advantage of the wide variety of rides and shows that are included with your park ticket
- There may or may not be animals walking around roaming free….you will have to go to see which ones (hint: it’s not a dangerous one)
The park was cool with me making sure I was able to walk my son up to most of the rides. He is 11 and I want to make sure he is strapped into those things with my own eyes lol. All of the rides were cool to let me walk across the rides after I made sure he was secured. I stood in all the lines with him and made sure I was waiting for him at the end of each ride because his butt will try to sneak right back on. Overall we had a blast at Busch Gardens. The tickets aren’t cheap so my advice is to make sure you pick a day where you can spend the entire day at the park riding rides and seeing the animals. There is so much more to Busch gardens than rides! It’s like you are in an African Safari of some type with many cultures and animals. The colors out there are amazing and will make you have a great mood if you aren’t in a good one. To see the animals up close and to even go behind the scenes in the clinic…it was cool to see. They worked on a bird while we were there and we got to see them do so with live action. No need to visit a zoo when you go to Florida you might as well do rides and the zoo all in one place. Have you ever been to Busch Gardens? What area on the map above would you want to visit the most?
I was given complimentary tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.