Tampa’s Busch Gardens combines the thrills of a theme park—replete with myriad roller coasters, ziplines, a white rapids ride, and other rides—with the wonder of a zoo, including more than 12,000 animals from 300 different species. Across its 335 acres (136 hectares), the Africa-themed park also hosts live performances for the whole family.
Purchase tickets to Busch Gardens in advance to save money over gate prices—and save time waiting in line. Ticket options include single-day admission to Busch Gardens, combo admission to Busch Gardens and other Tampa hot spots such as SeaWorld, and all-day dining. The Tampa Bay CityPASS gives you access to five attractions, including Busch Gardens, at a deep discount, while other packages roll in admission to area water parks. On extra busy days at Busch Gardens, it may pay to purchase Quick Queue to bypass lines for the most popular rides.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Busch Gardens is ideal for families with children visiting the Tampa area.
- A dining pass saves money—and time—if you plan to eat at least two meals at the park.
- There are several dining options available throughout the park, from grab-and-go snacks to buffets and sit-down dining.
- An air-conditioned kennel is available for pets at the front of the park for $10 per day.
- The park is accessible to wheelchair users. Strollers, wheelchairs, and scooters are available to rent.
How to Get There
Busch Gardens is located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of downtown Tampa, about a 20-minute drive; approximately one hour from Orlando via I-4; and 30 minutes east of Tampa area beaches and the Tampa International Airport. Paid parking is available on-site. An advance-purchase ticket includes free round-trip transportation, through Mears Destination Services, to Busch Gardens from several Orlando area locations.
When to Get There
Busch Gardens is open every day of the year. The most crowded days tend to track with American school holidays—namely summer and spring break. Beat the crowds by visiting the park on a weekday, and arrive at or close to the park’s opening time.
How to Use Child Swap
Like many other major theme parks, Busch Gardens offers Child Swap for parents who are with a child too small to ride an attraction. This allows one adult to ride alone or with an older child, while the other adult waits with the small child; then they swap so the waiting adult can ride, relieving both adults from having to wait in line.