Monday, 25 June 2012

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is part of the SeaWorld Parks and is located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, about 80 miles from Orlando. For around £80.00 per person you can buy a ticket which also includes unlimited entry into SeaWorld and Aquatica for 14 days.

We were picked up about 8.45am from the coach park at SeaWorld for this trip and arrived at the park in about an hour and a half and eagerly made our way into the park. Once inside we grabbed a free guide and entertainment schedule. There are different sections of Busch gardens which are all named after regions of the African continent, such as Eygpt, Congo, Nairobi and Timbuktu.

cheetah hunt at busch gardens
The 'Cheetah Hunt' ride is the newest addition to Busch Gardens
Like most theme parks in this region, more than one day is required to explore the whole park area. As we only intended on visiting this park just the once we had to prioritize which sections to visit. We decided that wouldn't try to rush round and try and see as much as we could, but we would take a more relaxed approach.

We headed towards the Nairobi Train Station, which is only a short walk from the entrance. After a short wait we boarded the train. The trains covers pretty much all of the areas in the park and skirts the edge of the Serengeti Plain enabling us to see many of the wild animals on show here.

The Hippos were very hungry when we visited
It then passes through Congo, Stanley Ville, Timbuktu and the opposite side of the Serengeti plain once more, before returning to the station. The train ride is made more interesting as there is someone providing narration throughout the journey, as we pass by the animals and the different rides that Busch Gardens has to offer.

Once the ride was over we moved on to the 'Edge of Africa'. This section has many different kinds of wild animals synonymous with Africa. It includes lions, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, flamingos and many others. The highlight of this section for us was the hippos, as it was their feeding time. We enjoyed this section as we got a good view of most of the animals here.

--> We then walked through the Egypt section and past the Cheetah enclosure. This was a first for us, as we had never seen these cats before and it was good to see they had quite a large area to run around in. There is a new roller coaster  ride here called the 'Cheetah Hunt' which seemed very popular, judging by the length of the queues. Moving on a little further we arrived the Skyride Station (cable car), so we joined the queue and after a short wait got on it.

The Skyride travels over many of the animals, giving us some great views, eventually ending up between Congo and Stanley Ville sections. In this part of the park there are numerous rides, especially water rides, making it popular with teenagers. However we weren't too fussed about the rides so decided to start heading back via Timbuktu and Nairobi, but not before looking at the Tigers.

In Timbuktu we found there were quite a few kiddies rides, that were ideal for Jessica. As there were virtually no queues she went on most of the rides, some of them more than once, as we took a break and had an ice cream. Time was starting to run out so we started a slow walk back to the exit, taking some snaps along the way.

After a quick visit to the gift shop to pick up some presents and souvenirs we got back on the coach with about 5 minutes to spare and headed back to our hotel at Orlando. A great day out and we were pleased we visited, as at one point were thinking about skipping Busch Gardens. Anyway we made the right choice after all.