Kids here in Florida only have a week or so left of school. While the kids are excited and the parents are ready for a break from the get everyone out the door to school routine the fact is boredom will set in after a week or so. One of the things I try to do is get the kids out of the house and off the electronics. Yes we live in the digital age and most of us have cellphones that we use more for social networking than actual phone calls BUT it is important that we show our kids the wonder that awaits out the front door. You don’t have to have lots of money to experience electronics-free fun either. Last week I shared you about free zoos and this week it is all about Affordable Family Fun at Busch Gardens Tampa.
Busch Gardens Tampa
Now before you start thinking theme parks are not affordable let me tell you a few things about ticket offers and prices. If you live in Florida, Busch Gardens has the Fun Pass. The offer to Florida Residents allows you to pay for a day and come back all year.
For a family of 5, like mine, the total for 5 Fun Passes is $455. (If you are a AAA member you can save $5 off each Fun pass so the total would be $430). So for $455 you can come back as many times as you want during the year and only have to pay parking, which is $17. (Money Saving Tip: To save money on parking throughout the year, purchase 1 annual pass for a member of your family. It is an additional $64 BUT if you go more than 4 times throughout the year it pays for itself in savings.) Through out the year they have special events in the park like Real Music Concert Series, Bands, Brew & BBQ and Summer Nights which are included in the Fun Pass. Tickets for the 2 special holiday events, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town, can be purchased at a discount with your Fun Pass. (Side Note: these special events tickets go FAST so follow Busch Gardens Tampa on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on when tickets go on sale).
Okay so what if you are not a Florida resident?? No worries. Right now if you purchase your tickets online you can save $15.00 on a 1 day ticket, $30 on a weekday only 1 day ticket, and for $95 you can get a 1 day ticket and get All Day Dining for free. So for a family of 5, non Florida residents you could go 1 day and eat all day for $475. If you can find another theme park cheaper than that, please let me know. 🙂
Busch Gardens Tampa ~ 3 Parks in One
Now that we have covered pricing, let’s talk about all the Busch Gardens Tampa has to offer. Did you know that Busch Gardens Tampa is like having 3 different parks in one? Here let me show you. As you drive up to the park you can’t help put notice the amazing roller coasters. They have one for everybody from Air Grover, that the kiddos will enjoy, to the wooden one Gwazi that those seasoned adults will remember growing up, and the newest and fastest one called Cheetah Hunt, that thrill seekers will want to ride again and again. There are lots of attractions which make it a Theme Park for sure.
A lesser known aspect of Busch Gardens Tampa are the water areas. There are 2 water areas located in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun Area. These areas are a great place to sit and let the kids cool off and have fun. (Visit Tip: Have your child wear their bathing suit under their clothes. Then carry a change of underwear or shorts for them to change into when they are done. Also bring a grocery bag for the wet suit to go into. This will cut down on having to carry so much.)
There are also a few rides in the park that you will get wet on like the Congo River Rapids, Stanley Falls, and Tanganyika Tidal Wave. So these water features and attractions in the park are actually like visiting a Water Park.
Through out Busch Gardens Tampa you will see many animals. They have Flamingos, Elephants, Monkeys, Tigers and Bears OH MY! The way the park is laid out and the way the landscaping is done, you really feel like you are in a tropical oasis. There are rides you can go on to get closer to some of animals like the Rhino Rally and Serengeti Railway train.
Another favorite place to see the animals is the Animal Care Center. If you have a budding zoologist or veterinarian in your family, at the animal care center you can see the animals getting exams and medical treatment. With all the animals and different attractions to see and interact with them it is like visiting a Zoological Park.
Oh and did I mention the stage shows? Those are a can’t miss. Last year we went to see the opening of Madagascar Live and my kids loved it. One of the other shows, which is FANTASTIC, is called Iceploration. It is an ice show but it is so much more than just ice skating. It teaches about the importance of getting out and exploring the world. I won’t give the story all away but trust me, it is a MUST see and a nice time to relax and escape the Florida heat for a bit.
One last thing I have to tell you about is the Busch Gardens Mobile App. It is available on itunes and google play just search Busch Gardens. This app is full of info that you will need while in the park. It even has a handle car finder feature, cause we all know after a long day you usually have to use your car remote to find your car. LOL Other helpful features include ride wait times, weather, show times, you can even purchase tickets and take pictures and instantly share them online.
So as you can see Busch Gardens Tampa isn’t JUST a theme park. It has lots to offer and the price really can’t be beat. If you live within a 3-4 hour drive I highly recommend getting Fun Passes for your family and visiting often. If you are only in Florida for a short visit, make Busch Gardens a must visit destination.
Most importantly remember that as much fun as video games and electronics are, what your child will remember most when they grow up are the memories you create from time spent together. So find time to get out outside and create memories together as a family because life is more than just the day-to-day grind of….Making It All Work!