Today we venture through Busch Gardens Tampa  for the latest news from this great alternative to the Orlando parks.  While the last bits of holiday decorations are still being shed, preparations are being made for the coming year with the normal round of refurbishments.  Sheikra is currently down, along with the sky ride, but it’s the return of Rhino Rally in its current form that has us a little disappointed.  Still, there is plenty to see and get excited about. It may be the “off season” now, but there’s still a flurry of activity going on at Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens is a collection of animal education and thrill rides.  It’s an interesting mix, but they really know how to pull it off.  They have been doing so since 1959, and their experience shows.

Cheetah Hunt the ride
Actual Cheetah hunting

MERCHANDISE

New 2013 merchandise is available at the Emporium.

ICEPLORATION RESUMES

The popular Iceploration show returns to the Moroccan Palace Theater on January 16 (the show was on hiatus during the Christmas season).

REMNANTS OF CHRISTMASTOWN

There are still a few reminders of Christmas Town up in the park.

RHINO RALLY

Rhino Rally is back after being down for refurbishment. Sadly the rumors of an expansion were not true and this was only a general cleanup/maintenance of the ride.

Rhino Rally is a Jeep ride through animal enclosures. The ride once had an amazing surprise effect where your Jeep was swept down a river. It was an amazing and unique effect. Unfortunately, when Cheetah Hunt was built, this part of Rhino Rally was cut. The ride experience has been neutered ever since.

SHEIKRA REFURBISHMENT

The SheiKra diving roller coaster is currently closed through February 15 for repainting and general maintenance.

REAL MUSIC

Over at the Stanleyville Theater, preparations are underway for the Real Music Concert Series, which returns for another year. This popular concert series presents notable names from music’s most memorable eras. From swingin’ big bands to sock-hop era idols, the lineup features something for everyone.

Shows are held at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Shows are free with Busch Gardens admission, however, you must have a free “ticket” (which you can obtain from employees stationed in the Morocco area of the park and outside Stanleyville Theater) to be able to enter the theater area.

This year’s concert lineup is:

January 16-19: The Terry Myers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters
January 23-26: The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
January 30-February 2: Frank Sinatra Jr.
February 6-9: Paul Revere & The Raiders
February 13-16: Sha Na Na
February 20-23: Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
February 27-March 2: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone

MYSTICAL MIRAGE

Mystical Mirage currently performs several times daily at The Desert Grill. The show is a mix of belly dancers and jugglers.

However, starting January 16, Let’s Dance, Featuring Burn the Floor will be back at the Desert Grill. This popular show is a must see!

Here’s a link to a video I shot in 2011 of the show’s finale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dbQr6mYBaI

SKYRIDE

The Skyride is currently closed for its annual Refurbishment.

That is the news from Busch Gardens Tampa for today.  Be sure to get down there to see Burn the Floor and while your at it, take in the spectacular animal exhibits.  See you again real soon!