Happy 60th Anniversary Busch Gardens!
2019 is a diamond year for Busch Gardens, as they invite you to join in their celebrations for their 60th anniversary!
The park opened on 31st March 1959 as part of the Anheuser-Busch brewery site providing a free hospitality area – including a bird garden – for visitors to the brewery. Over the years the site has expanded to include the 65-acre Serengeti Plains where a number of African animals roam in a natural habitat, as well as a number of roller coasters and thrill rides that you can enjoy today.
Thrill rides at Busch Gardens
I hope you have a head for heights as you brave all of Busch Gardens' roller coasters and thrill rides! Zip around on the family-friendly SandSerpent, or get a good view of the park from Cheetah Hunt – Tampa Bay’s longest roller coaster – which carries riders above Busch Gardens and plunges downwards again; racing through the park just like the animal that it is named after. Try not to feel too dizzy with Cobra’s Curse – Florida’s first family spin roller coaster ride. You might not want to ride Cobra’s Curse on a full stomach, as you speed along a snaking track travelling backwards, forwards and spinning at random! Things will be turned upside down on the Scorpion ride, so make sure your pockets are done up!
Scorpion opened in 1980 and to this day is still one of the most popular rides in the park!
If these thrills haven’t been extreme enough for you, then Kumba might fit the bill! Be prepared to feel weightless on one of the most popular roller coasters amongst enthusiasts, as it drops you 135ft into a diving loop as you spiral round 360 degrees. Another favourite amongst Florida theme park fans is Montu; hold on tight as it loops and rolls at the same time in the Immelmann loop – the first coaster in the world to incorporate such a manoeuvre! SheiKra is another ride where you might find your heart left in your mouth! Climb 200ft into the air, then after teetering perilously at the edge of a 90 degree drop, plunge vertically down before spinning off into an Immelmann loop!
There is another big drop at Falcon’s Fury – the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America. The one minute ride 300ft upwards might be quite pleasant, as you get to see the sights of the theme park, and look across to downtown Tampa and beyond, but at the peak things get a whole lot more scary! Thrill seekers will relish the chance to look down as they are pivoted 90 degrees to face downwards, before suddenly diving at 60mph towards the floor!
Joining the line-up of roller coasters in Spring 2019 is Tigris – which is set to be Florida’s tallest launch coaster. Emulating the movement of the tiger – after which the ride is named, it will travel at speeds exceeding 60mph, catapult riders 150ft into the air, and move along more than 1800ft, through a series of twisting turning loops with backwards and forwards motion. What’s more, queuing riders will learn more about the plight of tigers in the wild, and what is being done to save them by conservationists. If you buy any merchandise in the Tigris gift shop 5% of the sales price will be donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund to help these captivating animals.
Animals at Busch Gardens
While you are at Busch Gardens take the chance to meet with over 300 species of animal, which include the big cats - lions, tigers and cheetahs as well as elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, zebras, penguins, kangaroos, flamingos, alligators and many more. With a number of exotic and endangered animals you will be fascinated to learn more about these species! Why not take the Serengeti Safari Tour, or ride the Serengeti Express Train to see many of these animals behaving as they would in the wild, whilst they roam the Serengeti Plain?
2019 events at Busch Gardens
Real Music, Real Masters
7th January - 16th March 2019
Take a break from exploring the rides and looking at the animals with the long-running Real Music, Real Masters concert series, which takes place two times a day (11:30am and 1:30pm) Monday – Saturday between January and March. With an eclectic range of acts, including circus acrobatics and ballroom dancing, there is bound to be something to suit every taste!
Head to the Stanleyville Theater to see the show, which is included with park admission, but if you want to ensure you get a seat, you can purchase Priority Seating for an additional fee and avoid all of the queuing.
- 7 - 12th Jan and 11 - 16th Mar: Cirque Vertigo Featuring the Wallenda Duo
- 14 - 19th Jan: ARRIVAL from Sweden: The Music of ABBA
- 21 - 26th Jan: Thomas McClary: The Commodores Experience
- 28th Jan – 2nd Feb: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
- 4 - 9th Feb: The Diamonds
- 11 - 16th Feb: Ballroom with a Twist
- 18 - 23rd Feb: The 5th Dimension
- 25th Feb – 2nd Mar: Eaglemania: The World’s Greatest Eagles Tribute Band
- 4 - 9th Mar: Orrie Morgan
Full information on all of the acts appearing at the Real Masters, Real Music concerts are to be found on Busch Gardens’ website, where any changes to the line-up or schedule will also be noted.
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival
16th March - 28th April
If you are at Busch Gardens over any weekend between 16th March and 28th April, check out the popular Food & Wine Festival. Back for its fifth year, you can have a taste of some delicious signature dishes, as well as a menu of all-new dishes, complemented by a great selection of wines, cocktails and craft beers. Although entry to the festival is included with your regular admission, you will have to pay an extra fee to try any of the food and drink, and be aged over 21 to enjoy the alcoholic beverages. Make sure that you have proof of your age if you have the good fortune of looking younger than you are!
Year of Beer
This year, to mark the 60th anniversary of the park, and as a nod to its brewing origins, Busch Gardens has declared 2019 the Year of Beer. Head to Serengeti Overlook Pub, or the Garden Gate Café to enjoy two complimentary drinks of beer every time you visit the park! As with the Wine & Food Festival you’ll need to make sure you have valid ID if you are lucky enough to look younger than 21!
If you plan to visit Busch Gardens in 2019 this is the perfect chance to raise a glass and toast the success of the theme park over the last 60 years, and look forward to the new rides that will be coming to the park in 2019 and beyond.