Roller coaster sounded by trees at dusk

All About Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Height Requirements

If you’re planning a family vacation to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay sometime soon, then we hope you’re excited because this wild Florida park has so much to offer guests of all ages. From wildlife encounters to exciting live shows, from kid-friendly attractions to thrilling roller coasters and water rides, there’s something for animal lovers and theme park enthusiasts alike. With more than 25 different rides at Busch Gardens Tampa, you’ll have plenty to keep your group when you aren’t hanging out with the park’s animals.

And for those traveling with young children (or as very tall adults), you’ll also have to be aware of a whole herd of height requirements. For Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, ride restrictions vary greatly, with minimum height requirements not only for the park’s more intense attractions but also for kiddie attractions for little ones wanting to ride alone, and even maximum allowed heights, too. So, to save some stress at the theme park, we recommend that you familiarize yourself before you arrive. That’s where this guide to height restrictions for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay comes in. Buckle up, and let’s get started!

Montu Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Montu by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You Must Be This Tall to Ride: What You Need to Know About Ride Height Requirements for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Like other theme parks in Central Florida, namely those at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is more of a thrill-seeker’s paradise than a kid-friendly utopia. Sure, you’ll find a bunch of attractions for children. However, unlike Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, which is a veritable haven for families with little ones thanks to a slew of attractions without height restrictions, Busch Gardens is home to almost as many thrill rides (and particularly roller coasters) as kiddie rides.

So, unless you’re visiting as a group of grown-ups or a family with older kids, we can almost guarantee that you’re going to run into a snag or two (or more!), as most rides have a height requirement of some kind. But don’t worry! Even with the restrictions, we promise that you and your crew will still have a vacation to roar about. And doing some research on Busch Gardens height requirements is the perfect place to start!

Before we get started on all those numbers, let’s first go over some frequently asked questions about ride requirements at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

How tall do you have to be for rides at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

With Busch Gardens Tampa rides split pretty evenly between adrenaline-racing thrills and kid-friendly fun, height requirements unsurprisingly run the gamut. On the lower end of things, the shortest minimum height restriction is 36 inches (91.4 cm) for kiddos wanting to ride alone. Smaller children are still welcome, but they must be accompanied by a supervising companion. One attraction, Rosita’s Djembe Fly Away in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, even requires riders to be less than 42″ (106.7 cm) tall.

In contrast, when it comes to the required height minimum, SheiKra and other thrill rides require guests to be at least 54″ (137.2 cm). Meanwhile, a fair number of rides at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay fall somewhere in the middle. For example, Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars, Congo River Rapids and the park’s soon-to-open roller coaster, Phoenix Rising, have a minimum height restriction of 42″, while Stanley Falls Flume requires guests to be at least 46″ (116.8 cm).

SheiKra Sign at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
SheiKra Sign by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Can you be too tall for any Busch Gardens Tampa Bay rides?

Believe it or not, but yes! Although it’s true that most attraction restrictions are minimum height requirements, some rides at Busch Gardens actually have a maximum allowed height, too. At the Tampa Bay theme park, this isn’t just the case for a couple of thrill rides but several kids’ rides as well. However, note that for certain children’s rides, some exceptions apply if you are accompanied by a child.

Here are each of the rides at Busch Gardens Tampa with maximum height restrictions:

  • Rosita’s Djembe Fly Away – 42″ (106.7 cm)
  • Desert Runners – 48″ (121.9 cm)
  • Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie – 56″ (142.2 cm), unless a supervising companion
  • Snuffy’s Elephant Romp – 56″ (142.2 cm), unless a supervising companion
  • The Count’s Zambezi Rally – 56″ (142.2 cm), unless a supervising companion
  • Zoe-Patra’s Hippos of the Nile – 56″ (142.2 cm), unless a supervising companion
  • Bush Flyers – 56″ (142.2 cm)
  • Gwazi Gliders – 56″ (142.2 cm)
  • Elmo’s Safari Go-Round – 56″ (142.2 cm)
  • Phoenix Rising (Opening Spring 2024!) – 77″ (195.6 cm)
  • Falcon’s Fury – 77″ (195.6 cm)
Cheetah Hunt and Serengeti Express at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Cheetah Hunt and Serengeti Express by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Is Busch Gardens Tampa strict on ride height requirements?

Yup, and as well they should! Height restrictions are put in place for rides for safety reasons, whether that is due to an attraction’s top speed, the design of the track or ride restraints, or any number of other features. So, as a result, Busch Gardens ride attendants will follow height requirements to the letter (or, in this case, number) to ensure that all guests have a safe and enjoyable experience. Needless to say, even though you might think that you’re doing your kiddo a favor by adding little lifts to their shoes, trust us when we say that isn’t the case.

What rides at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay don’t have a height restriction?

Luckily, for those with toddlers and other small children, there is one Busch Gardens attraction without a height requirement, the Serengeti Express, meaning that the entire family can have fun together. Additionally, for some attractions, these ride restrictions only apply to young guests who are hoping to ride alone. In the case of these certain rides, a child who is too short must be accompanied by a supervising companion who is at least 14 years of age and meets the physical criteria. (Keep in mind that hand-held infants are not included.) Rides that allow a responsible person to compensate for a child’s height deficiency include:

  • Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie
  • Snuffy’s Elephant Romp
  • The Count’s Zambezi Rally
  • Zoe-Patra’s Hippos of the Nile
  • Grand Caravan Carousel
  • Skyride
Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Kumba by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Can you test out a ride seat before you get on an attraction?

Adrenaline junkies like us love roller coasters for their high speeds, steep heights and drops, and pulse-racing inversions. However, it’s those same heart-pounding thrills that can, at times, make a roller coaster downright uncomfortable to ride, especially for guests with certain body types. To ensure an attraction’s safety, ride restraints must be restrictive, but that restrictiveness can not only be unenjoyable. Sometimes, it can even make it impossible for riders to be securely fastened.

Fortunately, test seats at the entrance to select rides allow guests to try out an attraction’s seating before they even jump in line, saving them time, stress and potential embarrassment. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay rides with sample seats include:

  • Cheetah Hunt
  • Falcon’s Fury
  • Iron Gwazi
  • Kumba
  • Montu
  • SheiKra
  • Tigris

What if your child isn’t tall enough? Can the adults in your group still go on?

Absolutely! If you want to go on more thrilling attractions like Congo River Rapids or Cobra’s Curse but your child is too small to ride, don’t worry! Just like other theme parks in Florida—like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld—Busch Gardens Tampa offers a Rider Switch service, which allows guests to take turns riding while their little one is accompanied by a supervising companion outside the attraction. Best of all, it’s completely free to use! Just keep in mind that only certain rides at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay have the Child Swap service.

To use the Rider Switch service, all you need to do is let the attraction’s park ambassador know at the entrance to the ride. They will give you a Child Swap card, which will have a specific return time written on it. You are then free to go about your day, seeing the animals and experiencing other rides until it is your turn to go on. When it’s your return time, simply show the Rider Switch pass to the ride attendant. From there, the first group of riders will be directed to the Quick Queue entrance while the other members of your party wait back with any little ones who are too short or scared. When finished, hand the card off to the rest of your group so that they can also experience the ride through the Quick Queue line.

Sesame Street Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Sesame Street Safari of Fun by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Height Requirements by Ride Type & Minimum Height

With all of those questions taken care of, it’s time to embark on the safari of fun that awaits at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and the many height restrictions that go along with it. For your convenience, we’ve organized everything by ride type and minimum height requirement, beginning with attractions in Sesame Street Safari of Fun and culminating with Busch Gardens’ roller coasters and other thrill rides.

We’ve also made a note of other important factors you might want to consider when deciding if an attraction is right for you, like intensity and the general ride experience. (For even more rides inspired by those lovable Muppets, be sure to visit Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld Orlando. Check out our complete guide here.)

Children’s Rides

Rosita’s Djembe Fly Away

Height Requirement: Must be shorter than 42″ (106.7 cm); hand-held infants are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Child-sized spinning swing ride

Desert Runners

Height Requirement: Must be shorter than 48″ (121.9 cm) with feet that touch the running boards; hand-held infants are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Classic kiddie motorcycle ride

Bush Flyers

Height Requirement: Must be shorter than 56″ (142.2 cm); hand-held infants are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Airplane-themed spinner ride

Big Bird's Whirly Birdie at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Gwazi Gliders

Height Requirement: Must be shorter than 56″ (142.2 cm); hand-held infants are not allowed

Intensity: Kid-friendly thrill

Ride Type: Pint-sized hang glider rider in the Morocco section of the park

Elmo’s Safari Go-Round

Height Requirement: Must be shorter than 56″ (142.2 cm) unless accompanying a child shorter than 36″ (91.4 cm)

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Kiddie carousel with whimsically designed creatures

Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie

Height Requirement: Must be at least 36″ (91.4 cm) or have a supervisor; hand-held infants and non-supervising companions more than 56″ (142.2 cm) are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Fun-sized Ferris wheel with ride vehicles that look like eggs

Snuffy’s Elephant Romp

Height Requirement: Must be at least 36″ (91.4 cm) or have a supervisor; hand-held infants and non-supervising companions more than 56″ (142.2 cm) are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Classic spinner ride with colorful elephants for ride vehicles

Air Grover at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Air Grover by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Count’s Zambezi Rally

Height Requirement: Must be at least 36″ (91.4 cm) or have a supervisor; hand-held infants and non-supervising companions more than 56″ (142.2 cm) are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Slow-moving flume ride for tiny tots

Zoe-Patra’s Hippos of the Nile

Height Requirement: Must be at least 36″ (91.4 cm) or have a supervisor; hand-held infants and non-supervising companions more than 56″ (142.2 cm) are not allowed

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Slow-moving car ride for tiny drivers

Grand Caravan Carousel

Height Requirement: Must be at least 42″ (106.7 cm) or have a supervisor; hand-held infants are only allowed on bench seats

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Classic merry-go-round with a herd of trusty steeds

Air Grover

Height Requirement: Must be at least 38″ (96.5 cm); riders between 38″ and 41″ (104.1 cm) must be supervised

Intensity: Kid-friendly thrill

Ride Type: Kiddie coaster inspired by everyone’s favorite furry, blue monster from Sesame Street

Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Other Family Rides

Serengeti Express

Height Requirement: None

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Leisurely train ride for all ages around the park, with breathtaking views of free-roaming herds of African animals on the Serengeti Plain

Skyride

Height Requirement: Must be at least 56″ (142.2 cm) or have a supervisor

Intensity: Minimal

Ride Type: Old-fashioned aerial gondola ride between Congo and Egypt, with sweeping views of Busch Gardens’ animals and rides from 50 feet in the air

Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars

Height Requirement: Must be at least 42″ (106.7 cm); guests between 48″ and 52″ (132.1 cm) in height must be supervised

Intensity: Kid-friendly thrill

Ride Type: Iconic amusement park bumper car ride

Log Flume ride in the water
Stanley Falls Flume

Water Rides

Congo River Rapids

Height Requirement: Must be at least 42″ (106.7 cm)

Intensity: Family-friendly thrill

Splash Level: Drenched

Ride Type: Whitewater raft ride down a racing river and through a water cave, with spouting jets, rushing waterfalls and plenty of splashes

Stanley Falls Flume

Height Requirement: Must be at least 46″ (116.8 cm); shorter riders of at least 2 years of age must be supervised

Intensity: Family-friendly thrill

Splash Level: Drenched

Ride Type: Log-flume ride through verdant jungle ending in a 40-foot splashdown

Cheetah Hunt From Below at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Cheetah Hunt by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Roller Coasters & Other Thrill Rides

Phoenix Rising (Coming Spring 2024!)

Height Requirement: Must be between 42″ (106.7 cm) and 77″ (195.6 cm)

Intensity: Family-friendly thrill

Ride Type: Family=friendly suspended roller coaster in Pantopia, with speeds as high as 44 mph and stunning views of the Serengeti Plain

Cobra’s Curse

Height Requirement: Must be at least 48″ (121.9 cm) or have a supervisor if 42″ (106.7 cm) or shorter

Intensity: Family-friendly thrill

Ride Type: Unique spinning roller coaster where every ride is different, with 70-foot vertical lift and a max speed of 40 mph

Cheetah Hunt

Height Requirement: Must be at least 48″ (121.9 cm)

Intensity: High thrill

Ride Type: Speedy roller coaster—the longest in Tampa Bay (4,400 ft)—inspired by the world’s fastest land animal, with three launches, an inversion and a collection of catlike twists and turns

Scorpion at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Scorpion by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Iron Gwazi

Height Requirement: Must be at least 48″ (121.9 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Award-winning hybrid coaster—the world’s fastest (76 mph) and steepest (91-degree drop) and North America’s tallest (206 feet)—with three inversions and a dozen airtime moments

Scorpion

Height Requirement: Must be at least 48″ (121.9 cm); guests between 48″ and 54″ (137.2 cm) in height must be supervised

Intensity: Family-friendly thrill

Ride Type: One of the world’s last three coasters of its kind, with speeds as high as 50 miles per hour and a thrilling 360-degree loop

Serengeti Flyer

Height Requirement: Must be at least 48″ (121.9 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Screamin’ Swing ride, the world’s tallest and fastest, located in Serengeti Plain, with a max speed of 68 mph, a peak height of 135 feet and multiple negative-G moments

Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Falcon’s Fury by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Falcon’s Fury

Height Requirement: Must be between 54″ (137.2 cm) and 77″ (195.6 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Pulse-racing drop tower that takes riders up 300 feet before pivoting them 90 degrees and plunging them facedown in a 90-degree, 60-mph dive

Kumba

Height Requirement: Must be at least 54″ (137.2 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Regal roller coaster named for the king of the jungle’s threatening roar, with a 135-foot drop followed by one of the largest vertical loops in the world (offering three full seconds of weightlessness)

Montu

Height Requirement: Must be at least 54″ (137.2 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Heart-pounding roller coaster with no less than seven inversions, including an Immelmann loop (the first of any coaster in the world), a 60-foot vertical loop, a Batwing inversion and a weightless roll

Montu Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Montu by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

SheiKra

Height Requirement: Must be at least 54″ (137.2 cm)

Intensity: Extreme thrill

Ride Type: Intense steel roller coaster with a 90-degree drop from 200 feet and an Immelmann loop at speeds of up to 70 mph, culminating in a splashdown finale

Tigris

Height Requirement: Must be at least 54″ (137.2 cm)

Intensity: High thrill

Ride Type: Thrilling, tiger-inspired roller coaster with an inverted heartline roll, a 150-foot surge skyward, forward and backward looping twists, and surprise drops, all at a top speed of over 60 mph

SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
SheiKra by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

That brings our journey through Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to an end. What are your favorite rides at Busch Gardens, and which ones are your kiddos most excited to be tall enough for? Roller coasters like Cobra’s Curse, Cheetah Hunt and Iron Gwazi? Do you love cooling off on Stanley Falls Flume? Or maybe you like soaring over the park on Serengeti Flyer. Whatever it is, let us know in the comments! Then, find out how you can make your family visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay a little more affordable with our discounted tickets.