Florida Trip 2017: Part 4 Busch Gardens Tampa
We ended up spending 1 full day at Busch Gardens Tampa on Tuesday August 22nd from open to close, and a half day on Friday August 25tj, from open to 2:00pm. We spent the other half of that Friday at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and spent the evening at Clearwater Beach. Once again, 2001 was my last visit to Busch Gardens Tampa. Once again, a lot had changed, for the better, at Busch Gardens Tampa.
Each day we arrived before opening and ran to Cheetah Hunt, an Intamin blitz coaster, for the first ride each day. Both days we took front seat. Now I was expecting something like Maverick, but a milder form. To my disappointment, that wasn't the case. I believe it has 3 launches, an inversion, an air time hill, low to the ground S turns, and a series of elements that are taken at a very slow rate of speed. Everything about it was underwhelming. We actually compared it to Skyrocket at Kennywood. It's a fun coaster in a sense, but fell way short of all of our expectations. We only got those 2 rides, because we really didn't want anyone. Busch Gardens Tampa has other coasters that are much better.
Right next to Cheetah Hunt is a Mack Spinning Coaster called Cobra's Curse, which is their newest addition. Now I was expecting much out of this coaster, and it's surprisingly fun. We got 5 total rides and while you spin through elements, it makes the ride a little addicting. The theming is incredible. I cannot wait to ride Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City next year.
Next up The B&M invert Montu. Now this was my favorite coaster in Florida during my last visit. It's still my third favorite coaster in Florida and still my favorite coaster at the park. I think Banshee is the better ride, but theming of Montu adds to the ride experience. We rode it 19 times in our 2 days visit and front seat was our favorite seat. My son, Hayden, really likes Montu. That entire area around Montu and Cobra's Curse is my favorite area of the park. It's the best themed area of Busch Gardens Tampa.
Next up was the B&M dive coaster, Sheikra. I have ridden Griffon and ValRavn, and Sheikra falls in between the 2, with Griffon being my favorite of The North America dive coasters. Those old B&M restraints give you the freedom to get thrown around a bit, and the theming is spectacular. We ended up with 14 rides on it in 2 days and back seat was our favorite row.
Sand Serpent is a wild mouse coaster that was a new credit for me. It's a basic Mack wild mouse. Scorpion a Sharwrkopt looping Coaster is right next door. I rode it once in the front seat. The kids got a couple extra rides on it, while I was shooting some photos. Falcons Fury is also in that area, which is an Intamin drop tower. You climb up in a sitting position, they are tilted into a face down position. You drop in that face down position and swing back into a sitting position right before you reach the ground. A very unique and fun drop towers. Unfortunately we only rode it once. We also rode Air Grover for the coaster credit, which is a Kiddie coaster. Kumba was down for maintenance during our visits, but I have ridden it in the past. Too bad the kids didn't get to ride it.
Busch Gardens Tampa is half amusement park and half zoo, and a very nice zoo that provides a lot of human/ animal interaction. We paid the extra money for the Serengeti Safari. They take you our in trucks to the animal exhibits, and you get to feed the giraffes. Now this is not like at Six Flags Great Adventure, where you get 30 seconds with the feeding. You get 15-20 minutes with an up close encounter with these magnificent animals. You get to feed and pet them. They even have a photographer taking photos of your experience, in which we purchased after the Safari. This was another experience of the trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
We also did Lory Landing, its an aviary that you buy cups of nectar and have exotic birds sit on you arms while they sip the nectar. My daughter asked the veterinarian a lot of questions, so he let her feed the larger birds with live meal worms. They also let us feed the flamingos. There's just so much animal interaction, making this my favorite zoo experience.
On that second day we left early to go to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter and Hope from the movie Dolphin Tale. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is no Sea World, in terms of quality, but it's very informative. We are huge fans of the movie, and they have signs showing where each shot was filmed. The animal trainers not only answer your questions, but they fund joy in doing so. These people really love their job, and it shows. It was actually pretty cool to see Winter the dolphin, and the entire aquarium itself. Later that evening we headed to Clearwater Beach. The kids swam in ocean as we saw an incredible sunset over the ocean. Another life lasting memory. Next up Islands of Adventure.