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


New 2013 merchandise is available at the Emporium.


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


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


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.


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


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 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:


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!

  • Eric Davis

    Amazing update Amy! Thank you so much for keeping me posted on BG!

  • MrTour

    Busch is an amazing park! Rhino Rally took a huge loss with the removal of the raft element. We might just chalk this one up to Yesterland.

  • I’m ‘wild’ about Busch Gardens. It’s actually much closer to WDW than most tourists realize.

  • danielz6

    Me and my girlfriend were in Orlando and decided to visit this park, spur of the moment. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of rides(cheetah hunt and sheikra are my favorite roller coasters ever), as well as the quality of animal exhibits…and were from San Diego so I’m usually not impressed with zoos…but BG impressed us very much. We plan on returning to see Potter 2.0 and Sea world Antarctica.

  • Country Bear

    This is such a wonderful park and I much prefer it over AK. What it lacks in theming it makes up for in experiences and stunning garden displays. It is heartbreaking to see that Rhino Rally didn’t get its funnest, most adventurous part put back in. I really thought this attraction stood out on its own with that feature. While still nice, it is no longer a “must do” attraction. Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

  • Malin

    Thanks Amy, seeing your pictures further illustrate why Six Flags should never buy these Parks. Which is the latest story from Reuters.

  • Athlonacon

    Such beautiful animals… I love it!

  • Eeee-va

    Great update and some nice pictures! I’m glad I’m not the only one with a few remnants of Christmas left up. 🙂

  • Lee Mallaby

    We haven’t been to Busch Gardens since 2004 and so we are really looking forward to getting back there this year.

    Thanks for the update Amy