Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Africa is a major theme park, the highlights being extensive wild animal habitats and some of the best roller coasters in the country. Plan to spend a full day covering the park's eight different sections, which include animal habitats, rides and shows. Special play areas are great for toddlers, heart-pounding roller coasters are a goldmine for thrill-seeking tweens and teens, and everyone in the family will enjoy the African animals up close. Next door to Busch Gardens is Adventure Island water park.

Tip: Pack your belongings in a water resistant backpack. Bring the kids' swimsuits and a change of clothes for the adults, and plastic bags to carry wet clothes home. Wear comfortable shoes, and don't forget hats, sunscreen, and water.

Animal Habitats -
Serengeti Plain - Going to the Seregeti Plain at Busch Gardens is the quickest way to take an African safari. Ride the 45 min. Serengeti Express Railway, where you'll see rhinos, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, gazelles and antelopes.
Next to the Serengeti Plain, Edge of Africa animal exhibits have hippos, flamingos, hyenas, lions and tigers.
Serengeti Safari - Take a safari truck into the Serengeti Plain where you'll see the animals up close and feed a giraffe (families with kids ages 5 and up). Book your safari in advance, as it is very popular, additional fee is required.
At Lory Landing, buy nectar and these colorful birds will land on kid's hands!
Rides -
Roller coasters - The heart-pounding selection of coasters distinguishes Busch Gardens from other regional parks. Choose from: SheiKra, a "floorless" dive coaster that travels 70 mph, Kumba, which gives you a weightless sensation as you spiral through one of the world's largest vertical loops, Montu, one of the tallest and longest inverted roller coasters in the world, Scorpion, with a 60-foot drop and 360 degree loop, and Gwazi, a 7,000-foot double wooden coaster.
Wet rides - The Tanganyika Tidal Wave is a 20-passenger boat ride ending with a 55-foot drop, creating a wave that leaves you soaked. The Congo River Rapids is a thrilling ride on a circular raft along swift white water. Your children need to be at least 42' to ride it, but the Stanley Falls log flume ride is open to accompanied kids 2 and older.
The Land of the Dragons - The tot-sized rides are in this shady section of the park, and a small water play area and a three-story tree house. Stopping here is a must if you have pre-schoolers.

Shows -
Critter Castaways is a musical animal show which appeals to kids of all ages. A variety of animals, from dogs and cats to birds, even a bearcat and a wallaby, perform typically human activities, such as opening a recycle bin to deposit a can, pump water from a well, take down the laundry, etc.
Pirates 4-D - A comical adventure movie which surprises you with effects like water mist and smoke, while you watch a bumbling captain and his gang of greedy buccaneers unsuccessfully search for treasure on a remote island. Spending 20 minutes in the Timbuktu Theater is a great way to cool down and relax.
Fun food - There are food and drink vendors throughout the park, offering everything from turkey legs to frozen lemonade. It's worth seeking refuge from the sun by dining indoors. There are five indoor restaurants. The cavernous Desert Grill offers an impressively diverse selection of entree options and healthy fare, as well as live entertainment on stage.
Adventure Island - Next door to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island is kid-pleaser water park with slides, wave pool, and water play areas. The hotter the weather, the larger the crowds, so get there when it opens, or later in the day. You can bring in small coolers with food and drinks to the park. Purchase multi-park discount tickets if you plan to visit Busch Gardens too. Open March through October.
Tips for enjoying Busch Gardens
Lines and Quick Queue - Go to popular attractions like Jungala when you first arrive to avoid long waits on line. There are signs at the line entrances which give wait-time estimates. For an additional fee, you can get "Quick Queue" vouchers to skip lines at major rides. Buy them at the front gate or at the Adventure Outpost inside the park.
The "Baby Swap" procedure at major rides allows one parent to ride the coasters and water rides while the other waits at the head of the line with the younger kids.
Height requirements - Most rides have height requirements, which are listed in the park map you receive at the entrance. Check out the height requirements, before you get in line.
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