Busch Gardens

Exotic animals and thrill rides all on the one site at this theme park and zoo designed for the whole family.

Busch Gardens is an African-themed adventure park featuring more than 2,000 exotic animals, roller coasters, thrill rides, shows and exhibits. The 335-acre (135-hectare) site is divided into eight themed areas. Each area has its own attractions, and animals living in natural-style habitats.

The Serengeti Plain is one of the park’s most popular destinations. This 65-acre (26-hectare) replica of the African region is home to hundreds of free-roaming animals, including giraffes, zebras, white rhinos, ostriches and impalas.

Observe animals from aboard the Serengeti Express train, or on the Skyride, a cable-car trip that covers most of the park. Seats on both rides are included in the price of admission. Reserve a place on the Serengeti Safari, a trek across the plain in an open-top vehicle. You’ll stop by some of the animals to feed them by hand. For prices and details, visit the park’s official website.

Head on over to Jungala, a themed village that features rides, live entertainment and close-up viewing areas of Bengal tigers, crocodiles, gibbons and orangutans.

Animals are only part of the appeal of Busch Gardens. Take a deep breath and summon your nerves for Sheikra, a dive coaster that travels straight down a 90-degree drop at 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour. Cheetah Hunt is a 4,400-foot (1,340-meter) long coaster that travels inside the Serengeti and down into a rocky gorge. It reaches a top speed of 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour.

Take younger thrill seekers and animal lovers to Sesame Street Safari of Fun. There are child-sized rides, a water play area and lots of Sesame Street characters.

Busch Gardens is situated approximately 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of downtown Tampa. The amusement park is open every day of the year. Opening hours are updated each week. Check the website for up-to-date information. There is pay parking available.

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