Family Vacations: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Photography by Morgan Stailey Wild rides and wildlife -- there's a little bit of everything at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay. See more pictures of roller coaters.

What happens when you mix the adrenaline rush of an amusement park, the beauty of a tropical garden, and the excitement of wild animals? The result is Busch Gardens.

It started out as a beer garden that featured a bird show. Over the years, more animal attractions were added. The first roller coasters were built in the 1970s. As more major rides were introduced, the park continued to grow into a major tourist attraction.


The animal exhibits in Busch Gardens have an African theme and are divided into eight different areas, with 2,000 exotic and endangered animals living in natural environments. All are easily viewed from the Skyride cable car that crosses above the park or by railway, walkway, or Land Rover. The Edge of Africa exhibit has rhinos, hippos, and more. The Myombe Reserve's Great Ape Domain is a particular crowd pleaser as chimpanzees and gorillas frolic in their large enclosure.

Scattered throughout the park are world-class roller coasters, rides for very young children, Broadway-style live entertainment, and plenty of water rides to cool visitors down during the steamy summer months. The gardens have mature trees, beds thick with blooming flowers and shrubs, fountains, and plenty of benches in their many shady corners.

Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay Information

Address: Busch Blvd. and 40th St., Tampa, FL

Telephone: 888/800-5447

Hours of Operation: Hours vary

Admission: Adults, $61.95; children, $51.95

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Florida State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Florida, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.