We asked our Facebook Fans to post their “top tips” on how to most enjoy a day at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. And we were thrilled with the response. These 20 tips below were some of our favorite posts, verbatim from our Fans who know the park best. We hope you'll find them helpful - and for more insider tips, visit Facebook.com/BuschGardensTampaBay.
1) Get there first thing -- it opens to ride all of the roller coasters BEFORE the place gets packed. Then you can walk around, see shows and eat. A must try for eats is the Zambia Smokehouse. Best BBQ chicken anywhere!!!
2) Pre-plan your day. Ride the rides in the morning and the evening and watch the shows eat and see the animals during the middle when the lines for the rides are long. If its your first time going to BG and you want a different experience, you need to take the safari tour, because you will not be able to do that anywhere else besides BG, unless you go to Africa of course.
3) Dress for the weather. Florida can be HOT. Be sure you like who you are with. You may have to talk to them while standing in lines.
4) Look around on the web site, and check out the different restaurants and such, and figure out prices, and where you want to eat. Buy one of those refillable cups they have at all the stands, and restaurants I think, and carry it around with you so you can get refills. trust me, you will be thirsty! Also, you might want to sit and study the map for a few minutes, and plan a route.
5) On a HOT day, hit the Congo Rapids first or you can be in line for a looooong time!!!!!! The (Zambia) Smokehouse is the best place to satisfy any hunger!
6) I suggest that you eat lunch a little early or a little late and while every one else is eating go ride the rides. Also a good idea to plan out your day get a park map and see when the shows are showing and plan around that.
7) Get there when the park opens, run to the back, and work your way forward! Put your wallet and cell phone in Ziploc bags. Stand under the water part of SheiKra to get really soaked. After water rides, go on Kumba to get dried off :)
8) Plan your day around the shows you want to see and make a list of the rides you want to go on in order of you must to least fave. When I went we went on all the rides but missed the shows so we will be back!
9) Take your time and if you can work it out... do a TWO day visit.... since one day just really isn't enough. When you first get to the park (or online the day or two before) sit down and plan it all out on what shows you want to see and then fill your time in with what's around that show area. Have fun!
10) If you like to ride roller coasters but don't like waiting in line too long, come early or buy a quick que pass so that way you won't have to wait so long.
11) Go In The Winter, Or February Vacation. So Be SURE To Go On Montu, It'll Make The Trip Worth It.
12) In the summer months wear clothing made out of a light material so that you dry off fast after the water rides. Arrange to pick up all of your purchases at the front of the park.
Plan, plan, plan and have fun, fun, fun. We went three or four times before we discovered every nook and cranny of the park. The platinum pass was the best investment for our family.
13) If you've scared of roller coasters, ride one at Busch Gardens. I waited until I was 30 before I rode my first, now I can't ride them enough. Start out on the Scorpion, then run to Kumba, then run and sit on the front row of Montu. Just... do it. You'll thank me, and you'll undoubtedly become a coaster-holic like I've become.
14) I also get a locker, that way we don’t have to carry everything and can go back as much as you want. Because I have a membership, I have a waterproof lanyard for my pass.
15) If you want to experience a full round trip on the Serengeti Express train ride, don't wait until the very end of the day! Depending on the station, the last full round trip departs 60-90 minutes before park closing.
16) Sure, all the rides are fun and yes, they offer some very good food but what ever you do, do NOT miss the hippos playing in their private pool.
17) Arrive early and go directly to the back of the park. Take a break midday and come back for nighttime rides. Don't eat during regular mealtimes if possible. Wear COMFORTABLE shoes and clothing. Stay hydrated - critical during those hot days.
18) If you want a nice, bright shot of Sheikra's first drop, head over there before mid-afternoon. Otherwise, all you'll get is a silhouette due to the sun's position in the sky.
19) As far as rides go (for small kids), you'll want to focus on Sesame Street: Safari of Fun, the Log Flume (depending on how tall they are), Jungala, the Serengeti Express Train Ride, and the Timbuktu area. These areas all contain family-friendly rides.
20) If I was to give advice to first comers, specifically people coming to visit this summer, it'd be this: Busch Gardens is an exciting, family-friendly theme park with an atmosphere filled with happiness, thrills and exocity. It never fails to impress me in any way. There is a lot to see and do so get there early. Wear s...suitable clothing appropriate for weather. Drink plenty of fluids, apply sun cream and wear a hat.
21) Talk to the zookeepers and animal experts near the exhibits they are very friendly and you can learn so much about the animals in a short amount of time, ...also try the tasty turkey legs they are delicious.