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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Busch Gardens Tampa with Toddlers

Recently, I hit Busch Gardens Tampa with 40 high school students on a journalism conference field trip. While there, I scoped out all the great kiddie activities. When you think amusement parks with toddlers or young children, the first amusement park that probably comes to mind is Disney. Busch Gardens is known for its amazing roller coasters. Montu, Sheikra and Kumba constantly show up on many top ten lists of the best roller coasters in America. These coasters alone will keep the kids over 54 inches tall happy! This is where our high school students hung out!

Sheikra suspends you looking straight down for 4 of the longest seconds of your life!

Cool off by standing at this spot. When Sheikra goes by, a huge spray of water will hit you!

However, while we were walking around, I noted all of the great activities they have for the not so tall or old enough!

The theme of Busch Gardens is African Safari and you can see pieces of this everywhere you look. There are animals all over the park, the flowers and trees are amazing and the rides are all designed with the theme in mind.

Jungala, a fairly new attraction, has Bengal tigers and you can actually poke your head into their habitat! There are bird gardens, gorillas, Clydesdale horses, elephants, and much much more!

The little ones will enjoy playing in the Land of the Dragons, one and a half acres of activities perfect for the little ones. Throw a change of clothes in your bag or put your kids in their swimsuits because there is a great water feature that they won't want to leave. There is a height restriction so you can be sure that your little guys will be able to play without being run over by the big kids! There is also a great train that plows through the park and through the Serengeti Plain where you can see lots of animals roaming. If you need a break from rides and playing, check out KaTonga. The little ones will love this musical about African storytellers and animal folklore.

If you are a coaster enthusiast and don't want to spend all of your time in the Land of the Dragons, Busch Gardens offers a baby swap program.

As you can imagine, tickets are a bit costly. Right now, you can buy a 1 day pass and return all year for free. If you live close enough for the drive, this is a great deal! Check out the ticket prices here.

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