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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Vacation Planning Tips and FAQ’s

Skip to: Vacation Planning Tips | Attractions & Areas | Dining | Seasonal Events

Welcome to our page on Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a resort that blurs the line between park and zoo. This page in our SeaWorld Center includes vacation-planning information on Busch Gardens Tampa, including an overview of its areas, attractions, and dining. 

See a Cheetah run at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Vacation Planning Tips and FAQ

How much are tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

Orlando Informer offers discounted tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and its sister parks, including SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, and Adventure Island. Explore the available admission options here.

What are the park hours at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

Park hours will fluctuate throughout the year. You can generally count on Busch Gardens to be open from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM at the minimum, with operating hours between 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM throughout most of the year. In the summertime, when the sun doesn’t set until 8:00 PM or later, the park will likely stay open until 10:00 PM (and the latest we have seen the park close without accommodating a special event is 11:00 PM). 

What is parking like at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

While there is one central parking lot accommodating nearly 5,000 spaces available for guests to access on their visit to Busch Gardens, the preferred parking will be tucked away around the corner from the main lot. You can select general or preferred parking from the parking attendant. If you get there early, we personally don’t see a huge difference in the distances between these two parking areas. Later in the day, you might have to hike from your car to the front gate if you select general parking. 

General Parking – $32
Free for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Annual Pass Members

Preferred Parking – starting at $35
50% off for Silver Annual Pass Members
Free for Gold and Platinum Annual Pass Members

Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Does Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offer Express Pass?

If you are looking to skip the lines and get on as many participating rides as possible, you’ll want to take advantage of Quick Queue Unlimited, which lets you do just that as frequently throughout the day as you please. Prices for this pass will depend on when you go and can range wildly. For example, Quick Queue Unlimited sometimes starts at just $24.99 per person per day (like during the slow season while Busch Gardens is also running a promotion) but can swing up to $159.99 per person per day when demand necessitates. Luckily, most of the time, Quick Queue Unlimited will run you somewhere between those two prices.

The attractions that participate in Quick Queue Unlimited are:
Falcon’s Fury
Cheetah Hunt
Cobra’s Curse
Stanley Falls Flume
Congo River Rapids

Starting at $49.99, take advantage of a unique option—Quick Queue Unlimited + Iron Gwazi & Serengeti Flyer One-Time Ride. This add-on includes all Quick Queue Unlimited’s perks and a one-time front-of-the-line pass to Iron Gwazi and Serengeti Flyer.

There are two other quick queue options that are a little cheaper (though often, the price difference is negligible). 

Quick Queue – ride on participating attractions (same list as Quick Queue Unlimited) once per day
Quick Queue Junior – ride on participating attractions:
Cobra’s Curse
Stanley Falls Flume
Congo River Rapids
Air Grover

Can I bring food, snacks, and drinks into Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

Unfortunately, parks are cracking down on folks bringing their own food and drink with them on their adventures. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is no exception here. So, while you’ll have to leave the sandwich fixings at home, you are welcome to bring your own water or refillable water bottles or snacks for young babies and toddlers. Of course, baby formula and food are permitted, and guests with dietary needs are welcome to bring those specific foods as long as they check in with Park Security upon arrival. From that point, food is subject to approval. 

How many days should I spend at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, but in general, we feel confident you can enjoy most of what Busch Gardens Tampa has to offer in one day. If you are crunched for time, we recommend adding a Quick Queue option to make the best use of the time you do have. Of course, to meander around the park at a leisurely pace and truly see everything, we recommend two full days at Busch Gardens Tampa. Just be sure to prioritize your time – between the rides, shows, attractions, and sheer number of animal exhibits, you will find your day goes by quickly here! 

Attractions & Areas

This beautifully themed area welcomes you to the park. Here, you can find services such as Lost & Found, Park Security, and Guest Services. 

Bird Gardens
The Bird Gardens are much like what you’d imagine them to be. In addition to birds, you can find kangaroos and access to the Festival Walkway. 

Sesame Street Safari of Fun
This is the best place in the park to take your little ones. With kid-friendly activities and attractions, Sesame Street Safari of Fun delivers on every level. 

Here, you can find some of the biggest rides on site. Tigris, Stanley Falls Flume, and SheiKra are all accessible through this section of the park. 

Jungala is a beautifully themed section of the park that connects Stanleyville and Congo. Guests can see Orangutans and Tigers, or hop on the Skyride. 

This fun section of the park features Congo River Rapids, an exciting river adventure, and Kumba, one of the bigger coasters on site. 

As the name might suggest, this is the most central area of the park. Here, you can hop on Scorpion or Falcon’s Fury and explore Serengeti Outpost. 

Serengeti Plain
The Serengeti Plain houses a number of animals for guests to see while on their train tour. Lions, giraffes, zebras, and gazelles are all some of the animals that call Busch Gardens home. Guests can also take a swing on the Serengeti Flyer in this area of the park.

Edge of Africa
Although this part of the park doesn’t have any major attractions, it is the area guests go to for the train station to the Serengeti. 

This section of the park is near the entrance. It houses Montu, Cobra’s Curse, Skyride, and Cheetah Hunt, some of the most thrilling attractions Busch Gardens has to offer!

Nairobi is a quaint section of the park that houses the Myombe reserve. Here, guests can see gorillas and tortoises. 


There are a handful of places to grab a bite to eat at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Whether you’re looking for something quick to take with you on the go, a refreshing drink to enjoy in the Florida sun, or a dining experience to share with a loved one, there are options for you here! Guests can also elect to participate in the All-Day Dining Deal, which is essentially what it sounds like. You can purchase tickets for that here.

Not sure if that’s the right fit for you? Check out our guide page on dining and experiences at Busch Gardens Tampa here for a full breakdown of dining. 

Seasonal Events

Busch Gardens Tampa has a great lineup of annual events. No matter when you’re visiting, you can almost be sure that there will be something extra for you to do. Click the names of each of these established favorites for full details. 

Food and Wine Festival at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Real Music Series – January 9 – February 25
Celebrate different musical eras with various performances during this concert series. Dedicated productions of famous artists and bands, like Billy Joel and ABBA, take the stage in the Stanleyville Theater.

Mardi Gras – January 13 – March 3
Let the good times roll at Busch Gardens while immersed in elements inspired by the “Big Easy.” From cajun cuisine to jazzy entertainment, this is a party you don’t want to miss! 

Kids’ Weekends – January 27 – February 11; April 27 – May 19
Join some of your favorite residents of Sesame Street for weekends filled with dance parties, arts & crafts, storytimes, treasure hunts, and much more!

Food & Wine Festival – March 9 – May 19
Give your taste buds a trip around the world with delectable eats and sips. Savor on the variety of flavors while also enjoying a spectacular concert lineup.

Conservation Fund Weekend – April 20 – 22

Cinco de Mayo – May 4 – 5
Enjoy a weekend full of food, dancing, and a dedicated party zone for this festivity!

Summer Nights – May 26 – August 6
Cool off from the summer heat with lively performances when the sun goes down.

Red, White, & Brews – May 24 – July 7

Pin Trading Weekend – June 15

Giraffe Celebration Weekend – June 22 – 23

Bourbon & BBQ – July 19 – September 2

Howl-O-Scream – September 6 – November 3
Ready for a scary good time? The haunts return during this separately-ticketed after-hours event on select nights in the fall.

Halloween Harvest – September 7 – November 3
Looking for less trick and more treat? Halloween is celebrated during this daytime family-friendly event filled with tick-or-treating, costume parades, and more.

Christmas Town – November 15 – January 5
The most wonderful time of the year at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is full of festive decor, entertainment, and meals, with millions of twinkling lights set as the backdrop for this joyful celebration.

Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

All this information is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and all it has to offer! Use the rest of our guide pages in the SeaWorld Center to plan your next vacation to Busch Gardens.