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Florida Guide > Other Parks

Busch Gardens

Having sampled some of what Disney, Universal Studios and Sea World has to offer, we decided to head for Busch Gardens, near Tampa. It is about an hour and a half from Orlando (if you stick to speed limits), so just a bit too far for a day trip if you are driving there and back and want to enjoy the full day. Next time we will stay in a cheap hotel (about $45:00) and stay overnight so we can enjoy the experience more. Suffice it to say it is well worth the effort to make the trip.

We arrived and were surprised to see how lush the surrounding area appeared, and were excited to see the high roller-coasters jutting out skywards. You enter the park through Morocco and the whole park is designed around Africa . There are some great shops to visit in the bazaar, but we didn't have much of a chance to look because the kids had spotted Montu A huge roller-coaster in Egypt . We hurried over to join the queue. I didn't read the statistics before we went on the ride which was probably a good thing as I may not have gone on it at all! The ride subjects you to a 3.8 G force and it lasts about 3 minutes. It certainly shook us all awake after the drive from Orlando!

The next adventure was Sky Ride. The queue was quite long but was worth the wait. It takes you over one of the best views of wild game in a natural habitat. We saw zebra, buffalo, gazelles and baboons, but most were asleep in the shade. Its best apparently to see the animals in the early morning or late evening when they are at their most active. After about 5 minutes we arrived at the Congo . We then went on the Stanley Falls log flume and got soaked. As we had got very wet from this ride, we decided to go on Tanganyika Tidal Wave as well (in for a penny in for a pound). The high point of this ride was the fun we had watching the ride drop down into the splash pool and the resulting wave of water that was thrown up onto the bridge. If you were quick enough you could hide behind a plexi-glass screen great fun!

Next, we dried off by walking through Orchid Canyon, which was a pleasant 15 minute stroll with plants, from Africa, South America and Asia. Revitalized and refreshed we headed for Gwazi. My wife decided that because this wooden roller coaster does not go upside down, she would be prepared to give it a try. What a surprise she had it was the most bone jarring experience we ever had! The ride has a 90 foot drop and with the two cars passing each other at a combined speed of over 100 miles per hour, the experience was electrifying. The other surprise was the clatter it makes. We all agree that if you have the stomach for it, this ride is an absolute must. Even my wife agrees.

Busch Gardens is a huge park and we certainly didn't get to see even half of it. Now we must save our pennies to make the trip back to Florida and you can be sure Busch Gardens will be one of the attractions we will head for again.

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Page added on: 6 September 2004
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