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News & Rumors



Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, FL
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment



----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (3/23/15) Busch Gardens Tampa - Baby Animal Boom and Special Presentations (MORE...)
    (3/20/15) 2016 Project Starting Up (MORE...)
    (3/18/15) Busch Gardens Tampa Closes Train For 2016 Construction (MORE...)
    (3/13/15) 2016 Coaster Project Update (MORE...)

Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Wild Surge - Apr. 6 through Apr. 17
Busch Flyers - Apr. 20 through Apr. 24
Desert Runners - Apr. 27 through May 1
Kumba - May 4 through May 15
Carousel - May 26 through June 12
Gwazi Gliders - June 15 through June 19
Falcon’s Fury - Aug. 24 through Sept. 4
SheiKra - Sept. 8 through Sept. 17
Hippos of the Nile - Sept. 14 through Sept. 18
Tidal Wave - Sept. 18 through Oct. 9


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (3/23/15) Busch Gardens Tampa will be hosting a few special days for guests to experience the baby boom at the park. On March 24, 25, 26, 31 and April 1 and 2, the park will put on special Keeper Talks along with viewings of the new Cheetah Cubs and Baby Gorillas. They will take place at 11am and 12:30pm in the Myombe Habitat for the Baby Gorillas and at 1:45pm and 2:30pm in the Edge of Africa area for the Cheetah Cubs.






Busch Gardens Tampa has sent us some fun pictures today showing off several of the new Grand Topiaries they are installing for the Food & Wine Fest.
    (3/2/15) Busch Gardens Tampa invited guests to come and celebrate the 5th birthday of Sesame Street: Safari of Fun on Friday, March 27th from 10:30am to 1pm, and again on March 28-29 from 10am to 1pm. The festivities inside the Safari of Fun area will include a sidewalk parade, a DJ and dancing, birthday cake cutting and more.
    (2/28/15) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced the full concert lineup for their Food & Wine Festival event. All concerts begin at 6pm and are included with park admission.
Sat, March 7 - Gavin DeGraw
Sun, March 8 - Fifth Harmony
Sat, March 14 - Kool & The Gang
Sun, March 15 - Boys Like Girls
Sat, March 21 - Kenny Rogers
Sun, March 22 - Pentatonix
Sat, March 28 - Steven Curtis Chapman
Sun, March 29 - El Gran Combo
Sat, April 4 - Collective Soul
Sun, April 5 - Echosmith
Sat, April 11 - KC and the Sunshine Band
Sun, April 12 - Josh Turner
Sat, April 18 - Austin Mahone
Sun, April 19 - Daddy Yankee
Sat, April 25 - Daughtry
Sun, April 26 - Aloe Blacc
    (2/12/15) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced that award-winning Chef Norman Van Aken will help the park create special “culinary adventures” for the guests during the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival (Weekends, Mar. 7 to Apr. 26). Aken however will only be there in person on the opening weekend (Mar. 7-8) where he will make appearances as well as offer a book signing event on Mar. 7th. The park’s own Executive Chef Ron DeBonis will also be on hand with his own creations during the entire run of the Festival as well. The good news is that the Food & Wine Festival is included with any park admission on these days, and is not a special ticket event.
    (2/5/15) A video showcasing the final ride on Gwazi was posted by the OrlandoTouristBlog. Unlike some other videos posted which was just that person's final ride... this was shot on a special final train of the night from the front row, after the last public train has left. This last train was reserved for employees and special guests of Mark Rose, as a final goodbye to Gwazi. They sit in the station for awhile, so jump ahead to about 4:35 to get the dispatch of the train.

    (1/30/15) Lots of changes are in the works at Busch Gardens Tampa... and while we have mostly been focused of the closure of Gwazi and Rhino Rally lately, there are other areas of the park under construction for some unknown mystery projects. You can see photos of some of them post at Behind the Thrills today, where they also mention that Pantopia will open a new restaurant this year as The Desert Grill will be transformed into Dragonfire Grill with a new menu of Italian, American, Mexican and Asian cuisine.
    (1/22/15) Screamscape has reached out to Busch Gardens Tampa regarding the status of Rhino Rally.  According to Travis Clayor (Public Relations Manager), “Yes, I can confirm that Rhino Rally has been closed permanently. No decisions have been made on what will be done with that area of the park, but we’re always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience.”
    (1/20/15) According to one anonymous source, the plans for adding Spike to the elephant exhibit area did include taking up part of the old Rhino Rally course for Spike's habitat. I'm not sure if this is still part of the plan or not, but either way, it sounds like Rhino Rally is over. Meanwhile a picture taken this week from the Sky Ride shows that there is no sign of any of the Rally trucks at or near the old loading station for the ride.
    (1/18/15) Are you ready for the latest attraction to get budget cut? This may be one that you already forgot existed, mainly because it has been a Summer only thing for the past couple of years. According to our source Rhino Rally is said to be no longer a thing and will no longer return for the busy summer season. According to one rumor, the big Jeeps themselves may have been sold off and removed from the property, but if any insiders can refute this last park and confirm that they are still there, I'd love to know as previously I believe they could be spotted from the Skyride.
    It may be interesting to note that the Elephant habitat, an area that the ride previously traveled very close to, was recently said to be modified to allow for the park to add a new large addition (a large male Asian Elephant named Spike) to the herd. Given the costly nature of Rhino Rally operations that require a staff of many drivers plus, daily fuel, plus intense maintenance on the vehicle fleet, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rally come to an end. More when we find out.
    (1/12/15) Today I've got a bit more information on a few special events coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in the next couple months:
Generation Nature LIVE will take place in the Stanleyville Theater on Feb. 7 - 8 featuring host Bindi Irwin on stage 3 times each day.
Wild Days with Jack Hanna will come to the park on April 18-19 with shows in the Stanleyville Theater three times each day.
    (1/10/15) Two big items from Busch Gardens Tampa today. First off, the park has confirmed that your last day to ride Gwazi will be February 1st, as previously reported by Screamscape last month.
   Next, BGT has released their Food & Wine Fest concert schedule for March. The acts include:
Mar. 7 - Gavin DeGraw
Mar. 8 - Fifth Harmony
Mar 14 - Kool & The Gang
Mar. 15 - Boys Like Girls
Mar. 21 - Kenny Rogers
Mar. 22 - Pentatonix
Mar. 28 - Steven Curtis Chapman
Mar. 29 - El Gran Combo
    (1/7/15) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced the addition of a new Asian Elephant to the park's current herd. His name is Ganesh, the 33-year old elephant is more commonly known as "Spike", and at over 12,000 pounds, he will be the largest animal in Busch Gardens. Look for Spike to be introduced and join up with the herd over the coming days.
    (1/6/15) A very special deal is being offered by Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando this week, the Preschool Pass. From Jan. 5 to Dec. 31st, kids age five and under can enjoy visits to both parks for free if they get a Preschool Pass. Click here for all the details!
    (1/2/15) Tragedy struck at Busch Gardens Tampa on New Years Eve, though it was no fault of the park itself. A stray bullet falling from the sky during the evening celebration struck a poor 20-year old woman inside the theme park. It seems some clueless idiot in the vicinity of the park chose to fire their gun into the air to celebrate the New Year.
    Unfortunately, there is a special place in hell for this kind of stupidity, as these people don’t ever realize that what goes up… MUST COME DOWN SOMEWHERE! I’m told that a bullet fired straight up in the air can fall back to earth as far as 3 miles from the site of the shooter, depending on the wind conditions, so there is no way to trace it back to the source.
    (12/29/14) It may come as little surprise to see some change-ups come to the Special Events calendar of events for the Busch Gardens and SeaWorld parks in 2015. On top of the budget cuts and lay-offs we’ve seen go into effect in the past month, the parks also made national headlines way too many times over the last year as various bands dropped out of performance contracts with the parks as the media frenzy for Blackfish peaked.
    As a result the Bands, Brew and BBQ event and Viva la Musica events are not happening in Tampa for 2015, and appears that it may be replaced with the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival instead taking place on weekend dates between March 7 and April 26, with a series of concerts as well. So far the only confirmed concert listing is March 22 for Pentatonix, a 5-person singing group who I’ve seen videos of run through the social media channels over the last few months.
    Before this however, the park will host their annual Real Music Series of concerts from January 5 to March 6, which we’ve had posted in the sidebar since November.
    (12/19/14) BREAKING - (12/19/14 / UPDATED) Screamscape sources tell us that GWAZI will be the latest item cut from the company budget. I’m told that the last day for guests to ride GWAZI will be Sunday, February 1st, 2015. After that it will silently close, but don’t look for it to be demolished anytime soon... as that will cost money that the park doesn’t have. Instead Gwazi will sit as a silent sleeping giant until the park is ready to redevelop the site for a new future attraction. I have reached out to the park for an official comment on this, but so far have heard nothing back to officially confirm this. So for now, it is a rumor, but you’ve got a few weeks left to get your last rides in before GWAZI goes extinct.
    UPDATE - Screamscape has confirmed with Busch Gardens Tampa that they do plan on closing GWAZI on or around February 1st, 2015. The exact date may change between now and then however, but the park does plan to make an official announcement with a confirmed final date near the start of the new year.


icon_STOP2015 - Colossal Curl at Adventure Island - (3/5/15) Behind the Thrills dropped into Adventure Island to check out the opening of the waterpark's new Colossal Curls slide... a long LONG overdue new addition to the waterpark.
    (2/16/15) Adventure Island reports that their new Colossal Curl will be ready to open for guests on March 7th.
    (1/7/15) According to a reader report, construction on the new Colossal Curl is in full swing at Adventure Island. The stairwell and platform appear to be almost complete, as well as the slide supports are already in place. It shouldn't be long until the slide pieces start to be installed.
    (10/17/14) Adventure Island has confirmed that the park will add Colossal Curl to the waterpark for 2015. The new slide shares the same name as the slide that opened at the sister park in Williamsburg in 2014, and the slide experience will be mostly the same, just with slight modifications to fit it into the Tampa site.
    Guests will board a 4-passenger raft at the top of a nearly 70 foot tower before heading down the 560 foot long slides twists, turns and drop into a huge half-pipe style element. Look for Colossal Curl to go up nex tto Mango Joe’s Café and take the place of the Gulf Scream slide.

    (10/15/14) It looks like a new slide attraction is on the way to Adventure Island in 2015, as the park has posted a teaser video showing off the existing attractions and ends with the question… “What’s Next?”


icon_STOP2016 - New Coaster - Under Construction - (3/20/15) A construction update for BGT's new 2016 project has been posted to PixelsAtThePark this week, as the first signs of progress are being seen.
    (3/18/15) Busch Garden Tampa has confirmed that the park will be closing the Serengeti Railroad for a period of time in order to re-route the rails as they pass Egypt to make room for a new 2016 attraction.

    (3/13/15) PixelsAtTheParks reports that the first survey marking for the 2016 coaster project at Busch Gardens Tampa has appeared and they believe that construction could begin very soon.
    (2/12/15) I've been informed that my guess yesterday about what is coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in 2016 is only half right.  It will be a coaster... and it will be a coaster from Mack Rides... however it will not be launched... and it will not be the same style ride as SWC's Manta.


    So what kind of coaster will it be? I'm not sure... I just know it wont be a launched coaster, and since the park already has Sand Serpent, it wont be a Mack Mouse either. While this leaves a few choices, the other popular rumor going around was for a Spinning Coaster, which I can really appreciate.
    (2/11/15) The biggest question on the minds of BGT fans lately has been to wonder just what the park has planned for 2016. Previously, we had only heard that the 2016 attraction would be in Egypt, and would take over the old Tut’s Tomb exhibit space. This hardly seemed to be exciting when taken at face value, given how small the Tomb building is, but the other shoe has finally fallen this week, with new evidence that seems to indicate that the ride may be a coaster of some kind.
   OrlandoUnited gets the nod here for posting about a new drainage plan the park filed with the city last week that shows off many more changes in the works for the old Tut’s Tomb project. The changes include a large expansion of the building itself (adding 11,605 square feet), the addition of three trenches to be dug to run through the area, one of which will run under the nearby railroad tracks, which will also be moved out away from the area to provide the much needed room to expand the attraction area. All said and done, the entire scope of the new drainage plan filed is 2.65 acres.
   So what will this new attraction be?  I’ve got a really good hunch of my own. Based on a rumor I heard about last summer, the SeaWorld attraction design team apparently was seen spending a little extra time out in San Diego last year with that park’s Manta coaster, a launched family terrain coaster experience from Mack Rides. Unlike the other parks who also built their own launched coaster projects from different manufactures around the same time period (Intamin’s Cheetah Hunt at BGT and Zierer’s Verbolten at BGW) San Diego’s Manta project faces some tough design restrictions due to the park’s height limitations and depth limitations for any below grade elements. All said and done, the Manta design team came up with a compact terrain hugging layout that still provided ample thrills for this family sized ride. The return to Manta last year was said to be a research trip to come up with ideas for a bigger and better version of Manta for Mack to build at another park in the chain at a future date. I’m guessing that time has finally come and Tampa will become home to Mack’s latest creation. Stay tuned… this could turn into something very exciting!
    (10/4/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has filed paperwork for a new attraction they have planned for 2016. According to the post on OrlandoUnited the project is labled as being for 2016 and taking over the Tut’s Tomb area of Egypt. This isn’t a very large site at the moment, but given that this is for 2016 and not 2015, the overall size and scope of the project could be far larger than Tut’s Tomb as the open spaces available for future development in this section of the park are quite large if they venture out into the area habitat region.




Track Record

Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, Florida
SeaWorld Parks & Ent.

Abbreviation: BGT
Opened: March 31, 1959

Tickets: as of 5/20/14
Adults (10+): $95
Child (3-9): $95
Parking: $17  /  $22 Preferred
Open: Year Round

Fun Facts:
- The park was previously used the subtext of calling it “The Dark Continent”
- Python was removed in the fall of 2006.

Newest Developments:
2014 - Falcon’s Fury

2013 - Madagascar Live

2012 - Iceploration

2011 - Cheetah Hunt, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy, Millennium Flyer trains added to Gwazi

2010 - Sesame Street Safari Of Fun & Sesame Street 4D, Animal Connection & Walkabout Way

2008 - Jungala and
Jambo Junction

2007 - SheiKra goes Floorless

2005 - SheiKra

2004 - Cheetah Chase



Park Concerts & Special Shows
Real Music Concert Series
Jan. 5-9: Cornell Gunter’s Coasters
Jan. 12-16: The Grass Roots
Jan. 19-23: Herman’s Hermits
                  w/ Peter Noone
Jan. 26-30: The Diamonds
Feb. 2-6: Fernando Varela
Feb. 9-13: Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Feb. 16-20: Ricky Nelson Remembered
             Fea: Matthew & Gunnar Nelson
Feb. 23-27: Shirley Jones
Mar. 2-6: Exile & Juice Newton

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival
Sat, March 7 - Gavin DeGraw
Sun, March 8 - Fifth Harmony
Sat, March 14 - Kool & The Gang
Sun, March 15 - Boys Like Girls
Sat, March 21 - Kenny Rogers
Sun, March 22 - Pentatonix
Sat, March 28 - Steven Curtis Chapman
Sun, March 29 - El Gran Combo
Sat, April 4 - Collective Soul
Sun, April 5 - Echosmith
Sat, April 11 - KC and the Sunshine Band
Sun, April 12 - Josh Turner
Sat, April 18 - Austin Mahone
Sun, April 19 - Daddy Yankee
Sat, April 25 - Daughtry
Sun, April 26 - Aloe Blacc


Copyright © 1996 - 2015 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.