If you love animals...
See the animals at their most active: Visit habitats in the morning or evening when the weather is cooler.
Meet an animal trainer: Our animal trainers love the opportunity to tell you about their jobs and the animals they work with, and these up-close encounters are often scheduled around the animals’ feeding times. “Meet the Keeper” times are posted at most of the major animal habitats, or check out the schedule on the back of your park map to help plan your day.
Stump the staff: Stop anyone in the park wearing a green shirt and a name tag, and ask them for a random fact about their favorite animal. The Zoo education staff members are experts on cool information about animals.
Want to get closer? Check out an up-close adventure or behind-the-scenes tour like the Serengeti Safari or Elephant Keeper Experience. Stop by the Adventure Tour Center when you arrive, or book online ahead of time!
If you love thrills...
Know before you go: Check signs in the front of the park to see if any rides are closed for the day. Then, plan your day accordingly. Most major attractions have minimum height restrictions. There is a height stick located at the front entrance where parents and children can check the requirements for every ride in the park.
Make a plan: Most people approach theme parks in clock-wise patterns. Start in the back of theme parks and work your way forward to beat the lines. If you want ride-specific merchandise, your best bet is to find it at the gift shop that is located closest to that attraction.
Don’t get soaked: If you want to ride water rides but remain dry, you have two options: wear a poncho, or bring a spare change of clothes. Ponchos are available at all Busch Gardens® Tampa gift shops. Use sandwich-sized plastic bags to keep cell phones, money and other valuables safe and dry while enjoying water rides. Or, take advantage of lockers located next to all major attractions to keep a change of clothes dry so you can enjoy the rest of your day without squishy shoes.
If you're bringing young kids...
Stay safe, stay connected: If you are visiting the park with small children, stop by Guest Relations or Stanleyville Guest Assistance Center to receive children’s wristbands. Parents can write all their contact information on the wristbands for children, just in case they become separated from their family.
Bring a disposable waterproof camera: There's wet, and there's Tanganyika Tidal Wave wet! If you're enjoying our water rides and play areas, you'll have a lot more fun capturing kids' reactions if you don't have to watch out for an expensive camera. Another little tip for parents: pack a poncho or pick one up at the gift shop. It's a great way to keep yourself, your gear and a towel or two dry, and still get in on the fun.
Sesame Street Safari of Fun: Watch your kids play with their favorite Sesame Street friends at Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Some of the rides and play elements have no height restrictions, and the ones that do vary according to the individual characteristics of that element. Air Grover requires a supervising adult to ride with the smallest thrill-seekers.
Grab an autograph: After the curtain comes down at your favorite Busch Gardens shows, stick around for a meet-and-greet with the cast. Actors and dancers from shows like Critter Castaways are happy to shake hands and take pictures with guests after the performance.
Win a prize: Many games offer special discounts for multiple chances. Split the multiple turns, allowing each member of the family a chance to win a souvenir to take home.
If you've worked up an appetite...
Don't skip breakfast: Grab a map and plan your day over a steaming cup of coffee and a delectable pastry at Sultan’s Sweets. Fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, bagels and muffins, seasonal fresh fruit, and an espresso or latte brewed with Starbucks coffee will get your day started right.
Beat the crowd: Most guests eat lunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., so plan on eating lunch earlier or later than usual. Peak meal times are the best times to beat the lines at your favorite rides like Cheetah Hunt® and SheiKra®.
Share & save: Most meals at theme parks are large enough for more than one person. Have people with similar tastes share one entrée, then have each pick his/her own side dish or dessert to compliment the meal. When you are trying to get snacks for the family, buy refreshments that can be refilled at a reduced rate. Busch Gardens offers refillable soda cups and popcorn tubs that also double as souvenirs.
A few last tips from those in the know...
Remember your parking space: Trying to remember where you parked is always a struggle. At Busch Gardens, we assign numbers and animals to each aisle. To help remember your car’s location, take a picture of the aisle sign with your camera phone. Or, to save time, take advantage of valet parking to avoid parking lot congestion and the need for tram service.
Hire a guide: If you are coming on a very busy day and want to see the whole park, spend the extra money to get a tour guide. Tour guides get you to the front of the lines and have the priority seating reserved for shows and entertainment.
Beat the heat: Florida temperatures can get quite high – especially in the middle of the day – and the humid weather can drain your energy. Cool off by enjoying several misting fans located throughout the park and carry a water bottle with you to refill at water fountains located near every restroom. Don’t forget hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, and save water rides, air-conditioned attractions and shows for the mid-day heat.
Remember the kid in you: Don't be surprised if you find yourself awed in the presence of a gorilla or your arms covered with goose bumps as you see a cheetah reach top speed. There's an incredible connection between humans and animals – one we celebrate here every day. Take a few deep breaths and drink that in when you feel that move through you, and you'll carry that feeling home with you.
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