Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at dusk
Cheetah Hunt by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Busch Gardens Tampa Park Tips & Guide

For a truly wild vacation, there’s no better place Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Home to more than 200 different animal species and soon-to-be ten roller coasters, this zoo-meets-theme park is an oasis for animal fans and adrenaline junkies alike. Plus, as it’s just a reasonable drive from Disney World and the rest of tourist central, it’s an easy addition to any Orlando vacation. 

Read on for all the details on how to have a roaring good time at Busch Gardens Florida. 

Visiting Busch Gardens Florida

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your visit. 

Busch Gardens Tampa Hours

Park hours at Busch Gardens Tampa vary depending on when you visit – specifically closing time, the park always opens at 10 AM. On most weekdays in the spring, fall and winter, you can expect the park to close around 6 PM, while weekday holidays may close at 8 PM or even 10 PM. 

Weekend nights run similarly late, with most closing at 9 PM or 10 PM. As for Busch Gardens Tampa hours in the summertime, expect the park to be open from 10 AM to 10 PM every day of the week. 

Getting to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Roller coaster upside down

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is located on the city’s east side at 10165 McKinley Drive, Tampa, FL 33612. If you’re driving from around Disney Springs, you can expect to be in the car for just over an hour. 

However, be forewarned things can get hairy along the stretch of I-4 between Orlando and Tampa. Accidents are frequent, as is rubbernecking, causing standstill traffic for miles. Seriously, it’s a jungle out there. So, if you’re hoping to spend a full day visiting the park, be sure to plan accordingly. 

Parking at the Tampa Busch Gardens

For those driving to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, be prepared to pay for parking. Unless you’re an annual passholder – then parking is either complimentary or discounted. General parking costs $30 per vehicle, whether you’re driving a motorcycle or an RV while preferred parking starts at $35, with the rate subject to change daily. 

Busch Gardens Tampa Tickets, Annual Passes & Add-Ons

Ready to book your tickets for Busch Gardens Tampa? You have some choices to make. Of course, you can always buy admission directly through Busch Gardens. Tickets are available as either single-day or multi-park, each with a variety of options for each. 

Single-Day Busch Gardens Tampa Tickets

When purchasing your tickets, you’ll need to decide between a base single-day ticket for a specific date of your choice or an Any Day Ticket. Starting as low as $89.99 each, basic Single-Day Tickets are the most affordable option. 

However, keep in mind that pricing for these tickets is dynamic. In other words, tickets will be more expensive at busier times of the week or year, such as holidays or weekends. So, if you have some flexibility in your dates and choose your dates wisely, you can really save some money.

Sky tram in the sky over trees

If you like, you can also opt to add on the All-Day Dining Deal (more on that later) to the base Single-Day Ticket. Just remember that as you need to pick your travel date, your actual rate could vary. 

Can’t pin down an exact travel date? Then the Any Day Ticket is for you. While it is pricier, you’re paying for convenience, as the ticket allows guests to visit the park on any one day of their choosing within six months of purchase. 

Single-day ticket prices, including taxes and fees, through Busch Gardens Tampa are:

  • Single-Day Ticket – As low as $106.73 
  • Single-Day Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – As low as $144.35 
  • Any Day Ticket – $136.83 
Multi-Day Busch Gardens Tampa Tickets

Hanging out around Central Florida for a few days (or weeks)? Then you might want to consider one of the park’s multi-day tickets. With admission to your choice of Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island Water Park, SeaWorld Orlando or the Aquatica Orlando Water Park, this fun-filled ticket option is made with animal-loving thrill-seekers in mind. 

Several options are available, from two- or three-park tickets – with or without the All-Day Dining Deal – up to a Four Park Ticket with free parking and unlimited visits for 14 consecutive days. So, consider how much time you have and how many parks you’d like to visit. 

You don’t need to select a specific travel dates and tickets are valid for six months from the date of purchase. However, as you must use up the rest of your visits within 14 days of your first trip to a park, be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

Multi-park ticket prices, including taxes and fees, through Busch Gardens Tampa are:

  • Two Park Ticket – $136.24 
  • Two Park Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – $189.75 
  • Three Park Ticket – $164.06 
  • Three Park Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – $244.32 
  • Four Park Ticket: Unlimited Visits + Free Parking – $234.60 
Busch Gardens Tampa Annual Passes & Fun Card

Log Flume ride in the water

Want to spend even more time at theme parks in Tampa and Orlando? Then an annual pass or Fun Card could be for you. 

The Fun Card is like an annual pass lite. You don’t get any food or merch discounts, there are blockout dates and admission to events like Howl-O-Scream isn’t included. However, you are able to get into the park as much as you want. 

In contrast, Busch Gardens annual passes come with a range of perks depending on which level you get, such as discounts, complimentary guest tickets, no blockout dates, event access, free parking and more.  

Options, with taxes and fees, start at:

  • Two Park 2022 Fun Card – $140.06
  • Bronze Pass – $174.47 or $12.75/month + tax
  • Silver Pass – $222.84 or $16.50/month + tax
  • Gold Pass – $261.54 or $19.50/month + tax
  • Platinum Pass – $436.92 or $33.25/month + tax

Busch Gardens Tampa Discount Tickets

Looking for a deal? For all the thrifty travelers out there, you’ll find plenty of places with Busch Gardens Tampa discount tickets. 

Of course, our favorite source for discounted tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa is our ticket partner, Undercover Tourist. Offering the same great tickets you get through the park – even annual passes – with straightforward rates (all taxes and fees are included) and savings as high as $60 per ticket, they’re really a no-brainer. 

Train in the Serengeti with lake

Best of all, unlike with Busch Gardens, you aren’t required to pick a date for single-day tickets purchased through Undercover Tourist, meaning you get the cheaper price without the inconvenience. Busch Gardens Tampa ticket deals currently being offered by our partner include:

  • Single Day Ticket – $98.89 
  • Single Day Ticket + Free Meal Voucher – $98.89 
  • Single Day Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – $128.99 
  • Two Park Ticket – $120.19 
  • Two Park Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – $154.60
  • Three Park Ticket – $144.44 
  • Three Park Ticket + All-Day Dining Deal – $181.39
  • Four Park Ticket: Unlimited Visits + Free Parking – $203.12 
  • 2022 Fun Card – $124.08
  • Silver Annual Pass – $203.06
  • 2-Park Silver Annual Pass – $246.78
  • 4-Park Silver Annual Pass – $308.60

While the prices may not be as good, that isn’t the only place you can snag a sweet deal on Busch Gardens discount tickets. You can also save with:

Busch Gardens Orlando Ticket Add-ons

Hoping to get more done in less time? Think you and your crew might eat a bunch while you’re exploring? There’s a ticket upgrade for you. 

Busch Gardens Tampa Quick Queue

Fast roller coaster with guests screaming

Busch Gardens’ take on Disney Genie+, Quick Queue speeds you past the crowds to the front of the line. You’ll find several different levels of the paid line-skipping service, from the kid-friendly Quick Queue Junior starting at $9.99 each to the spendy Quick Queue Unlimited + Iron Gwazi One-Time Ride from $39.99 each. 

Quick Queue attractions include (* denotes Quick Queue Junior rides):

  • Tigris 
  • Falcon’s Fury 
  • Cheetah Hunt 
  • SheiKra
  • Montu
  • Kumba
  • Cobra’s Curse*
  • Scorpion*
  • Stanley Falls Flume*
  • SandSerpent*
  • Congo River Rapids*
  • Air Grover (Quick Queue Junior only)
  • Iron Gwazi (Unlimited + Iron Gwazi only)

While it can be pricey depending on which level you get, Quick Queue can be invaluable, especially if you’re trying to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. 

Busch Gardens Tampa All-Day Dining Deal

Walking around a theme park all day can really work up a hunger. If you think you’ll be eating often and a lot throughout the day, you may want to get the All-Day Dining Deal. For $44.99 for adults and $22.99 for kids, if desired guests can basically enjoy one full meal – up to one entrée, one side dish or dessert and one beverage – once every 90 minutes. 

Of course, this is only a good deal if you plan on putting away a fair amount of food while you’re there, such as those spending all day at the parks, people with large appetites or guests doing a Busch Gardens Tampa food tour. 

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Attractions

Red and blue roller coaster

Like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay fuses the fun and pageantry of a theme park with the wonder of a world-class zoo – albeit with much more exciting rides. Think of it as the older and, dare I say, cooler kid from the next town over. 

Busch Gardens Tampa Roller Coasters, Shows & Other Rides

We’re going to go ahead and say it right here: Busch Gardens Tampa roller coasters are some of the best thrill rides in not just Florida, but the country. And we’re not lion! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

However, you don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to have a good time. There are also a fair few family-friendly rides, not to mention all the stage shows. 

Of Busch Gardens’ 16 rides, nine are roller coasters, with another to open next month on March 11, 2022:

  • Air Grover – Sesame Street-themed kiddie coaster
  • Cheetah Hunt – Triple-launch coaster inspired by Earth’s fastest land animal with speeds up to 60 MPH
  • Cobra’s Curse – Family-friendly coaster that spins around as you cruise at speeds up to 40 MPH
  • Iron Gwazi (Coming March 2022!) – Record-breaking hybrid coaster with three inversions, soon to be the tallest (206 feet), fastest (up to 76 MPH) and steepest (91 degrees) in the world
  • Kumba – Extreme(ly awesome) coaster with a 135-foot drop, seven inversions, including one of the biggest vertical loops on the planet, and three full seconds of hang time
  • Montu – Inverted steel coaster touting seven inversions, including the first-of-its-kind Immelmann loop
  • SandSerpent – Wild mouse-style coaster that careens around the park from five stories above
  • Scorpion – Classic steel coaster boasting speeds up to 50 MPH and a gravity-defying 360-degree loop 
  • SheiKra – Thrilling coaster filled with a heart-pounding, 90-degree drop from 200 feet, a 145-foot-tall Immelmann loop and speeds of up to 70 MPH
  • Tigris – Steel coaster packed with everything from forward and backward motion to a 150-foot surge in the air and speeds over 60 MPH

Want to go on something other than a roller coaster? Busch Gardens Tampa also offers everything from water rides to a voyage by train across the Serengeti. Well, sort of. 

  • Congo River Rapids – Whitewater raft ride the whole family can enjoy
  • Falcon’s Fury – North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower at 335 feet with a 60-MPH, face-first freefall 
  • Serengeti Express – An awe-inspiring trip past free-roaming herds of African wildlife
  • Stanley Falls Flume – Log flume ride through verdant jungle with a 40-foot splashdown finale
  • Wild Surge – Smaller (AKA less scary) version of Falcon’s Fury with a kid-sized 35-foot drop over gibbons and flying foxes

Want some time to sit down in some sweet, sweet air conditioning after all those heart-racing thrills on those awesome Busch Gardens rides? Check out one of the park’s live stage shows. 

  • Turn It Up! – Award-winning show at the Moroccan Palace Theater featuring pulsing pop music, aerial acts and ice skating
  • Real Music Series – The park’s longest-running concert series at the Stanleyville Theater starring everything from tribute bands to chart-topping acts
  • Storytime at Sesame Street – Safari of Fun – Daily reading of kid-friendly stories at Sunny Day Theater with appearances by Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the gang 

Busch Gardens Tampa Animals

Grover character on speeding roller coaster

As much as Busch Gardens Tampa is a dream for thrill-seekers, it’s also made for animal lovers. One of the biggest zoos in the country, Busch Gardens Tampa is home to over 200 species, including some which are critically endangered. The park is also highly acclaimed, being named one of the top zoos in the country by U.S. News & World Report and deemed Humane Certified. 

While you could spend all day long checking out the coasters, you can also choose to slow things down to an elephant’s pace with time at the many wildlife exhibits, such as the fascinating Animal Care Center, close-up animal encounters and captivating tours. Look forward to spotting rhinos, sloths, lions, hippos, primates and much, much more.  

Tampa Bay Busch Gardens FAQs

Still have some questions about Busch Gardens Tampa Bay? You might find what you’re looking for in these frequently asked questions.

Do you need reservations for Busch Gardens Tampa?

No, as of July 2021, reservations are no longer needed to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa. 

How many days do you need for Busch Gardens Tampa?

There’s a lot to do at Busch Gardens Tampa. And much of it, like the animal exhibits and gardens, take time to enjoy. If you’d really like to see and do absolutely everything, and do it well, we suggest you plan for two days. 

That being said, the vast majority of people who go to the park only go for a day. While you may have to skip or rush through some things, especially if you don’t get Quick Queue, you should still be able to do the highlights. 

What is the best day to visit Busch Gardens Tampa?

If your schedule is flexible, try to visit Busch Gardens Tampa for early in the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best since the crowds are few and the lines are short to none. 

Is Busch Gardens Tampa worth going to?

Yes! If you’re a roller coaster fiend or just a thrill ride fan in general, then with its record-breaking attractions, Busch Gardens Tampa is an absolute must-visit. But, you don’t need to have a need for speed to have a good time. Shows, family-friendly rides and, of course, all those animals make this epic Tampa amusement park a treat for kiddos too. 

Tips & Tricks for Having a Wild Time at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida

To make the most of your visit and ensure you have a howlin’ good time, follow these few helpful hints.

1. Show up early

The earlier you get to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay the better, especially if you can only visit for a day. This will give you plenty of time to tackle everything on your to-do list. Once you’re inside, head for the biggest, most popular roller coasters so you get them out of the way before the lines get too long. 

2. Come prepared and pace yourself

It can get HOT in Central Florida during the summer and surprisingly chilly on winter nights. Pack appropriately (e.g., walkable shoes, sunscreen, hat, etc.) so you don’t end up uncomfortable. Drink lots of water throughout the day and if you need a break, slink in to watch a stage show or stop for a bite to eat. 

3. Remember to see the animals and shows

In that same vein, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of screaming your face off as you whizz through the air. However, don’t forget about the incredible animals and award-winning entertainment that call the park home. After all, how can you move like a tiger or cheetah on Tigris or Cheetah Hunt without seeing the real thing up close? 

4. Get a bird’s-eye view on the SkyRide

If you’re running out of time to see the animals or you’re just hoping to get above it all, go for a jaunt on the SkyRide. Since it zips over many of the animal exhibits in just ten minutes, it’s a great way to do some wildlife spotting in a pinch. Plus, it will also allow you to survey the land so you can plan your attack. 

Have you been to Busch Gardens Tampa? Which roller coaster is your favorite? Is there an animal that can’t be missed? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save on Busch Gardens tickets and other destinations.