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Busch Gardens: Tampa's Counterpart To Orlando's Disney World

Feb 2, 2008
Tourism is big business in Florida and the competition to attract visitors is good news for the tourists because there is plenty on offer. If you are visiting Orlando, don't forget to leave some time for a side-trip to Tampa Bay, where the Busch Gardens Africa theme park combines African wildlife with thrilling state-of-the art amusement park rides.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a family adventure park with attractions based on exotic encounters with the African continent. In addition to rides it also has one of the country's premier zoos featuring more than 2,000 animals. Rounding out the attractions there are also live shows, restaurants, shops and games.

Let's first take a look at the rides that are featured at this park.

There are several roller coasters that are sure to delight thrill seekers, they include:

Floorless SheiKra: Two years ago, Busch Gardens Africa introduced the world to a one-of-a-kind experience: 200 feet up, 90 degrees straight down and in June 2007 the adventure park introduced SheiKra to the world with a new twist: "floorless" cars that allow riders an unobstructed view and a new level of adrenaline rush. If you think you can handle a straight down drop and sit in a car without a floor, then don't miss this one.

Kumba: After the blood-curdling thrill of an initial 135 foot drop, you will plunge from 110 feet into a diving loop, feel a full 3 seconds of absolute weightlessness while spiraling 360 degrees, and tear through one of the world's largest vertical loops. This is another thrilling roller coaster and not for the faint hearted.

Montu: Feel the ultimate rush on one of the tallest and longest inverted roller coasters in the world! Experience the thrill of an inverse diving loop and a 60-foot vertical loop while you endure speeds of over 60 miles per hour and a G-force of 3.85.

But there are also some gentler rides as well such as:

Cheetah Chase: Families will love the curves, drops and corkscrews of Cheetah Chase, a five-story "wild mouse" style coaster in Timbuktu. With its top speed of 22 mph and 46" height requirement, Cheetah Chase is the perfect ride for a child's first coaster experience.

Rhino Rally: This wild jeep tour transports guests aboard an off-road adventure through the wilds of Africa, blending up-close animal encounters with an unpredictable safari competition.

Congo River Rapids: Encounter the swift-flowing white water of the Congo River Rapids. Spin through a geyser and face an ominous waterfall and other thrilling obstacles in a 12-person raft.

Along with the rides Busch Gardens features unparalleled animal attractions. Here are just a few of them.

Serengeti Plain: This habitat features hundreds of exotic African animals that can be seen from the Serengeti Express Railway, Skyride, Serengeti Safari and various walkways. The 65-acre environment includes tiered and open landscapes covered with native and African grasses, scrub trees and shrubs; rock outcroppings and bluffs replicating natural formations; and naturalistic creek beds and mud banks.

Myombe Reserve: Enter the lush forest where gorillas and chimpanzees can be viewed in this naturalistic rainforest habitat. Tour the Great Ape Domain amid waterfalls and through shrouds of mist and fog to get an up close look at these majestic primates.

Bird Gardens: Here you can view almost 500 tropical birds from around the globe. You can enjoy the Wild Wings of Africa show, see the aviary, and experience the powerful presence of bald and golden eagles in Eagle Canyon. After the show you can talk to conservation educators and learn how to attract birds to your own backyard.

The park also offers a number of educational programs, and Busch Gardens Adventure Camps offers many summer classes, sleepover opportunities, residential programs and adventure camps for kids of all ages, as well as the whole family.

Like Disney World and Universal Studios, Busch gardens also has shopping, entertainment and dining facilities that are sure to please everyone in your family. I have only touched on a few of the offerings of this big theme park. If you want to get a complete picture of what is on offer at Busch Gardens, visit their website at http://www.buschgardens.com
About the Author
Mark Whichard writes frequently about Florida tourism. He and his wife Susan are the proprietors of Orlando's Finest Vacation Homes. Visit their website http://www.orlandosfinest.com for deals on vacation home rentals in Orlando, Florida.
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