Busch Gardens Tampa

Go on a Serengeti Safari and play tiger tug-of-war at Busch Gardens and Jungala.

Tampa’s Busch Gardens is one of those places you can visit and revisit and always find something new. My family’s visit this summer included two new sights: the baby rhino that hid behind its parents as they kept a wary eye on our safari truck, and the fabulous new four-acre Jungala attraction at the amusement park and zoo.

Jungala Favorites

Jungala, built to serve 7- to 14-year-olds, has all the requisite Busch Gardens features—amazing animals, cool rides and interactive areas. My favorite: the tiger tug-of-war. With 10 or more kids and adults lined up on one side of the glass enclosure, and one tiger eagerly anticipating a treat on the other, it was no contest to see who would win this tug of war. The tiger used one huge paw and massive teeth to get a good grip on the heavy rope, gave one good yank and it was all over, leaving the humans giggling and the tiger munching on one very large hunk o’ meat.

The hands-down kid favorite of Jungala is Tree Top Trails, a three-story climbing structure modeled after a popular feature at the Chicago Children’s Museum. It’s big enough for adults who need to keep a close eye on little ones but safe enough for most kids to scale alone.

For the more adventurous kids, there’s the Jungle Flyers zip line. I was looking forward to a ride until I learned it’s open only to kids ages 6 to 13.

Safaris, Rapids and Roller Coasters

That meant I was left to fall back on my Busch Garden favorite: a Serengeti Safari jeep tour. For an extra fee ($33.99 per person), you can climb aboard the back of an open jeep (be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen—there is no relief from the hot Florida sun) and drive though an open animal habitat. The gentle giraffes will approach and stick out their long tongues to take a leaf of lettuce right from your hand. The other animals, including the rhino family, are warier and will watch but not approach as the humans drive by.

When you leave the safari, visitors 42 inches and taller can rinse off the dust and sweat with a trip down the Congo River Rapids. Then dry off with a ride on SkeiKra, which was the nation’s first dive coaster when it opened in 2005. This is the coolest, smoothest coaster I have ever ridden—it may send you down two 90-degree drops and shoot you through tunnels and around loops at 70 miles per hour, but it does it so smoothly that I came off the ride exhilarated rather than shaken.

Destinations: Tampa

Themes: Amusement Parks, Family Travel

Activities: Parks and Playgrounds

User Comments

Hi all I visited Busch garden that is in Florida and Exact location is TAMBA BAY. It has good attraction for the people who love the animals. Actually children love more to Busch Garden. Animals had been taken from south africa. there are so many animals like Zebra, Ziraff, elephant, Tiger.................. for more _gardens.php