Monday, November 24, 2014

A Day at Busch Gardens Tampa

This month my family and I visited Busch Gardens Tampa.  We had not been to the local theme park in a couple of years so it was fresh and exciting for my boys.  The weather was perfectly cool with a clear blue sky and warm sunshine.

I simply love Busch Gardens!  Being a Tampa native, roller coaster junkie, animal lover and former employee, I've visited Busch Gardens more times than I can count. I know this park from top to bottom and enjoyed the recent changes since the last time we visited.

The biggest change was Timbuktu became Pantopia.  The new vivid colors and building decorations were fantastic!  Timbuktu was always a hot area with plain brown buildings that blindingly, reflected the sun.  Not anymore, now that it changed into Pantopia, it was cool and colorful with more shade trees, decorative water fountains, and less cacti.  I loved the theming!

Pantopia was also home to Busch Gardens' new ride Falcon's Fury.  My husband, Mike, and my 10 year old, Dylan, went on Falcon's Fury but Jared and I sat out that time around.  Dylan was impressed that he could see over Sheikra from the top of Falcon's Fury at 335 ft in the air.  Then, the ride turned their seats face down to prepare for the drop at 60 mph.  Mike and Dylan were a little nervous at first, but thoroughly enjoyed the 5-6 second free fall.

Also new to Pantopia was Opening Night Critters which featured rescued dogs, cats, birds, a rat, horse, and kangaroo.  My boys loved seeing the rescued animals have fun on stage with their human co-stars.  They even got to meet some of the furry stars after the show.

I love the intense look of love in Dylan's eyes

Of course we couldn't miss all of the animals.  I always loved the nocturnal cave and the meerkats.  My boys loved seeing the hyena up close and personal.  After seeing the hyena's hair and spots, they thought our newest dog, Rocco, might be part hyena.  He certainly acts like a wild animal!!

Meerkat on a mound posed with my boys

And last but not least, the Busch Gardens' roller coasters.  This was Dylan's first ride on the big coasters.  The last time we visited Busch Gardens, he was not tall enough.  He rode those coasters like a pro!  Montu was his favorite with it's 60 ft vertical loop, Immelman loop, zero-G roll and intense 3.85 G pull.  Dylan road Montu 5 times!

My favorite coaster at Busch Gardens was Cheetah Hunt.  This coaster started with a 30 mph launch that took us up, around and down a big drop.  Cheetah Hunt launched us two more times with a top speed of 60 mph and 4 Gs.

Boys ready to ride Cheetah Hunt

Cheetah Hunt
Jared and Dylan even got me to ride Sheikra again.  Its 200 feet high, 90 degree drop down at 70 mph, freaked me out in the past.  But I rode it for my boys and it wasn't as scary as I remembered.  The back row was better for me so I didn't have to look over the edge for those agonizing 5 seconds before the first drop.  It was a gorgeous day to be at Busch Gardens Tampa!


Are you a roller coaster junkie or animal lover?

Disclaimer: As a Busch Gardens Tampa Ambassador, I received 4 tickets to the park.  All opinions are my own.

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