.At the end of last year I decided I wanted to take the family on a cruise with a new cruise line, Royal Caribbean. Even though I found one at a great price I also decided I wasn’t quite ready to take to the sea and leave my first born at home. Yes I know he is 18 years old but I’m taking this growing up thing one step at a time. So instead we planned a family vacation to Busch Gardens in Tampa sans one member. My son turned 18 and it was like someone new stepped into his skin. He works full time, comes home to sleep and shower and spends the rest of his time with his girlfriend or friends. This was our first family vacation with just the four of us. One advantage is it is easier to find a hotel with four instead of five LOL!
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express just minutes from Busch Gardens. When I say minutes I mean if you look out the window you could see the roller coasters and if you had the nerve you could walk instead of drive. Decent hotel but not in the best area, if we chose to go again I think I will find a hotel a little further away. We did love having the shuttle available to use during the day which meant no dealing with parking!
The last time we visited Busch Gardens was probably about 14 years ago when we lived in the area. It sure has changed a lot since we last visited with quite a lot more roller coaster and rides.
Busch Gardens Early History
In 1965 the park was expanded to include a vast, 70 acre, enclosure that animals could freely roam in. This enclosure was named the “Serengeti Plain” and became the largest free-roaming enclosed habitat outside of Africa. To allow the guests to see the animals a monorail was added, leading to Busch Gardens adopting the motto, “where people are caged and animals run free.” People enjoyed this new concept of a zoo and Busch Gardens became the number one tourist attraction in Florida by 1968, attracting three million visitors a year…source.
One of my favorite things about Busch Gardens that you don’t find at all the other amusement parks are the animals! I knew my daughter would really enjoy this part of the park she is such an animal lover!
My oldest son was definitely much more interested in the rides. When I was young I LOVED roller coasters, no fear here I would ride almost anything. However I am finding as I get a little older that no fear is no longer in my vocabulary. It is not the actual ride as I enjoy the ride. I tend to have more fear of something going wrong. However I sucked it up and rode some rides with him, I wanted him to enjoy is vacation just as much as everyone else.
One of my favorite animals to watch and photo graph are the tigers. Tigers are such beautiful animals! Unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me to take photos as I didn’t want to carry my camera around.
While the tigers are always my favorite, this trip the gorillas took the show and our hearts. There was a baby gorilla that was playing with it’s mother and this had everyone snapping photos and taking video.
This is a great photo of my daughter. I feel that it really embodies her showing how she loves to move and be athletic. She said I had to wait to snap the photo until she was ready!
We had a great time at Busch Gardens despite the sweltering summer heat. We had one summer shower that was a great excuse to sit under the shade and wait it out. It was a nice time and we will definitely go again!