Dec 16

“The 12 Days Of Christmas” at Busch Gardens Tampa

by Staff

Busch Gardens Puts its Spin on a Traditional Holiday Favorite

Just in time for the holidays, it’s “The 12 Days Of Christmas” as told by an African-themed family adventure park

12 Flamingos Flocking…

Busch Gardens’ Flamingo Island – located in the historic Bird Gardens area – is home to a large flock of Caribbean Flamingos. Flamingos are not born with their beautiful pink plumage. Their color comes from the carotenoid pigments they consume as part of their diet. All flamingos eat with their bills upside-down, tipping their heads into the water to “filter feed,” using special adaptations in the top half of their bill to gather the microorganisms that make up their diet.

11 Lories Landing…

Lory Landing, a domed habitat located in Busch Gardens’ Bird Gardens area, showcases a variety of brilliantly colored birds including several species of parrots, including lorikeets, as well as hornbills and pheasants in both free flight and observational environments.

10 Sheiks A- Jammin'…

This traveling band of instrumentalists is always a favorite among park visitors. The Mystic Sheiks of Morocco have been a symbol of Busch Gardens since the 1970s and serve as ambassadors for the adventure park at special events and media appearances around the world.

9 Snowy Skaters…

There’s a festive chill in the air at Stanleyville Theater with Christmas on Ice, a limited-engagement ice show that brings a graceful winter wonderland to life through Jan. 1.

8 Meerkats Watching…

Meerkats have outstanding vision, and the dark rings around their eyes help reduce glare from the sun. They stand on their back legs and balance themselves with their tails when they are keeping watch. In the event of a predator, they will act as a group and fight to protect each other. Busch Gardens’ meerkats can be seen in Edge of Africa.

7 Soldiers Marching…

Christmas Celebration is a musical extravaganza, featuring seasonal songs, tap-dancing toy soldiers and fun for the whole family in the Desert Grill –running through Jan. 3.

6 Zebras Grazing…

Grevy’s zebras are distinguishable from other types of zebras by their narrow, dark-brown stripes, which are positioned close together and do not cover the belly. Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, like a person's fingerprint, and these stripes provide protection by making it hard for a predator to single out an individual in the herd. Busch Gardens’ Grevy’s zebras are just one of several free-roaming herds on the 65-acre Serengeti Plain.

FIVE GOLDEN FROGS!

Although known as a frog, The Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) is a critically endangered toad. Like other frogs and toads, the golden frog is capable of secreting poison to help protect themselves from predators. In the case of the golden frog, this is a water-soluble neurotoxin called zetekitoxin.

4 Leaping Lemurs…

Ring-tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of all lemurs, spending a great deal of time on the ground instead of the trees. Their numbers are declining rapidly due to continuous deforestation for the logging industry and plantations, as well as “slash and burn” agriculture. Busch Gardens’ ring-tailed lemurs can be seen in Edge of Africa.

3 Grinning Gators…

The name “alligator” was derived from the Spanish words el lagarto, meaning "the lizard," which is what Spanish explorers called these creatures. Alligators and crocodiles are similar in appearance, but exhibit a number of differences: Alligators are dark colored with a broad, rounded snout, and are usually found in fresh water. Crocodiles are grayish-green, have a narrow, tapered, triangular snout and prefer coastal, brackish and salt-water habitats. Busch Gardens has both – you can compare for yourself!

2 Hungry Hippos…

Hippos spend most of their days in the water or wallowing in the mud, generally coming up on land to feed at night. Hippos are an important part of the African ecosystem: because their favorite food is short grass, they keep these grasses well trimmed which may help to deter grassfires. At Busch Gardens, the hippos in Edge of Africa also receive lettuce, fruits and vegetables as part of their diet.

And a giraffe that's as tall as a tree!

Reticulated giraffes are so named because of the net-like pattern of their spots. Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain features free-roaming herds of giraffes, zebra, antelope and ostrich, and is accessible to guests via the Serengeti Safari tour, the Serengeti Express train, or from several viewing points along the Edge of Africa pathway.

Photos by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay