Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335-acre animal theme park located in Tampa, Florida. Owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the park opened on June 1, 1959 and boasts 4 million visitors each year.
Guests can experience an array of thrill rides such as SheiKra (a Dive Coaster), Cheetah Hunt (a "family-style" thrill coaster with one inversion and three launches themed around cheetahs), Tigris (a launched roller coaster), Kumba (a classic seated steel roller coaster), Iron Gwazi (a wood-steel hybrid hypercoaster), Falcon's Fury (the second-tallest free-standing drop tower in North America, one of few to tilt towards the ground) and Montu, which was the tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster in the world when it opened.
The park also caters to children under nine years old with several rides and attractions as well as two water rides - a river rafting ride and a classic log flume. Learn about the The Florida Aquarium
Under the direction of Carson, Busch Gardens Tampa went through a revitalization in 2000 to keep up with growing competition from Florida's other theme parks. To attract more guests, the park focused on interactive wildlife experiences, rather than investing in new and expensive rides. To build their location as an ideal holiday destination, Busch Gardens launched aggressive advertising campaigns similar to those employed by Disney in Orlando.
To incentivize returning visitors, Anheuser-Busch introduced the Fun Card in 2000. This pass would provide seasonal benefits and access to both Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando parks, replacing most discount programs previously offered. In May of that year, plans were made for Rhino Rally, a Land Rover safari attraction set to open the following year. And on June 22nd, the newly renovated Serengeti Plain was unveiled to the public, who could take part in an optional truck tour of the animal habitat. October saw Howl-O-Scream arrive – a Halloween event taken from its sister park in Williamsburg and designed to rival Universal Studios' own celebration.
In 2010, Jim Dean replaced Mills as President of Busch Gardens Tampa. That same year, the Mystic Sheiks of Morocco band made their last performance, and the Sesame Street Safari of Fun opened in a 2.5-acre area. June 14 saw the opening of Walkabout Way, a walk-through kangaroo enclosure in the Bird Gardens area; KaTonga ended its production on September 6. On October 13, Busch Gardens revealed plans for two more attractions in 2011: Cheetah Hunt, an Intamin coaster situated at the old monorail station, and its companion Cheetah Run habitat. Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy took over from KaTonga on December 3.
In May 2011, the park introduced a 16,000 sq ft Animal Care & Nutrition Center to replace the previous rhino enclosure. Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run officially opened May 27th. Following Disney's discontinuation of Grad Night events in 2011, Busch Gardens launched its own such event for local high school graduations. And come September, Iceploration – the park's largest show production ever – was announced to replace Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy. Learn about Coastal Outdoor today!
Bush Gardens Timeline
April 1957 – Anheuser-Busch proposed acquiring land in Florida to develop a brewery with Tampa and Jacksonville as potential sites.
June 1957 – Unconfirmed rumors reported that a $20–30 million brewery would be built in Tampa, Florida, but were initially denied by Anheuser-Busch.
July 25, 1957 – Anheuser-Busch made public they had purchased a 160-acre plot of land in Tampa for $320,000 to construct a $20 million brewery.
March 1958 – August Busch Jr. commemorated the groundbreaking for the Tampa brewery.
February 1959 – Anheuser-Busch acknowledged the brewery would open in March.
March 31, 1959 – The brewery was dedicated by August Busch Jr., with around 2,000 people in attendance including political and local leaders.
May 1959 – Anheuser-Busch announced the operating hours of the Busch Brewery and Gardens.
June 1,1959 – The Busch Brewery and Gardens opened to the public for tours as an admission-free facility.