Welcome to Busch Gardens Tampa where the weather is warm, the music is fun and the rides are awesome!  The animals are pretty cute too!  We return to this great alternative to the Orlando parks to check out Viva La Musica.  We also get up close and personal with the Jambo Junction. Madagascar Live is on its way and we are counting the days, and we also had a bit of time to check out Mystical Mirage.

iViva la Musica! Returns to Busch Gardens Tampa

The popular Latin festival, iViva la Musica! returns to Busch Gardens Tampa for another year of food, drink and fun for the entire family. Guests can enjoy performances from award-winning Latin artists, authentic arts and crafts, and regional Latin cuisine. This year’s event kicked off on April 14 and is held Sundays from through May 5.

The park announced that local Tampa favorite, Taco Bus, will be providing their amazing and authentic Mexican food during this year’s event. I’m quite excited, as Taco Bus is one of my very favorite places for delicious, authentic and very affordable Mexican cuisine. They will be offering tacos and burritos with several choices of filling. I highly recommend the carne asada tacos.

Concerts are at 3:00pm at Gwazi Park and are included with park admission. VIP packages are available at an additional cost.

Madagascar Live!/Stanleyville Theater Update

Conversion is underway to transform the iconic Stanleyville Theater into a completely enclosed venue for the new “Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation” show scheduled to open on May 18.

What is the show about? Per a press release from Busch Gardens:

Party along with Alex the Lion and his friends as they vacation with guests at Busch Gardens. The original live musical show features singers, dancers and rock/pop music performed by a live band.

Guests will be also able to meet and greet with the characters at each performance.

MiceChat has been invited to Media Day on May 16 to preview the show. Stay tuned for photos and videos from Busch Gardens’ latest entertainment offering.

Jambo Junction Open House

If you happen to be at Jambo Junction (in the Nairobi section of the park) at the right time, the animal care team opens its doors and allows guests inside to get a closer look at some of the park’s animal ambassadors and ask the caretakers questions. You might even get a chance to hand feed the flamingos they keep in this area of the park! It’s a great experience learning about these critters.

Mystical Mirage

This show currently plays on the Desert Grill stage several times a day and features belly dancing and astounding acrobatics! If you’re going to be at the park soon, be sure to see it as the popular 70’s music tribute, Dance to the Music, should be returning to this location for another summer run.

Timbuktu Theater

The 4D theatre is still closed and shows no sign of anything happening. All of the Sesame Street Film Festival signs and banners have been removed from the theater’s exterior. There are rumors the interior is being remodeled for a new show in the future. We’ll keep an eye on this and keep you posted as soon as we know anything!

Retro Style T-Shirts

The park is now offering these retro-inspired t-shirts for sale at the Emporium and other retail locations throughout the park. I like how these shirts mention the park has been around since 1959 (that’s 12 years older than Walt Disney World, and just 4 years younger than Disneyland, for those of you playing at home).

Happy Tails

Busch Gardens has teamed with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay to launch the Happy Tails Pet Adoption Program. The park has long supported local animal shelters by providing homes and second chances for several animals who take part in the popular “Critter Castaways” show. Their most popular adoptee, Mtani (a yellow lab/retriever mix) , is best friends with cheetah Kasi (the two were paired together when Kasi was orphaned as a cub).

As of Feb. 27, Busch Gardens has providing two complimentary single-day admission tickets to pet lovers who adopt a new dog or cat from the Humane Society’s Tampa shelter. The tickets are valid for a single-day admission to the theme park and are valid for one year from the pet adoption date. Tickets will be printed onsite at the participating shelter. Happy Tails details and participating shelter information can be found at buschgardens.com/happytailstampa.

Around The Park

Let’s close today’s update with a look around this beautiful park.

We love Busch Gardens Tampa.  It is such a great mix of rides, shows, animals and learning.  We will return in a few weeks with a full report on Madagascar Live.