Jeremy Thompson/Flickr

You’ll be glad you made these activities a priority

Quick notes:

  • The park is known for top-ranked roller coasters and thrill rides

  • If you need a break, there are also some calmer experiences to check out

  • When you’re hungry, there are several “must try” food stops

Spanning more than 335 acres, Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, is one of the most exciting theme parks in the U.S. It features a full range of thrill rides, including more than 21,000 feet of roller coaster track. In addition, it’s home to more than 200 species of animals that park-goers can view up close, and a range of delicious dining options.

With all of these options to choose from, it can be hard to determine what you’re going to do during your visit. Here’s a list of the top “can’t miss” experiences that you’ll want to be sure you’ll have at the park.

Roller coasters and the Congo Rapids

Busch Gardens is known as Florida’s roller coaster capital for a reason. If you’re a coaster junkie, start out on Cheetah Hunt. At 4,400 feet, it is the park’s longest ride. It is also fast, with a knot of twists and turns that will leave your heart (and maybe your stomach) in your throat.

Flickr _ Jeremy Thompson

If you/re looking to take your experience to another level, don’t miss Montu. This is a high-speed ride with a steel track and no fewer than seven inversions. It has become so well known that it is considered a park classic. A third can’t-miss option for park roller coasters is Kumba. It is a classic ride with a 135-foot drop and an enormous vertical loop designed to give riders the experience of weightlessness.

In addition to exciting coasters, Busch Gardens has a few non-coaster thrill rides that are also great experiences. One of these is the Congo River Rapids, a faster-paced water ride that takes you circling through water and, in the end, can get you pretty wet. On a hot day, this is the perfect way to cope with the Florida heat and humidity.

Mellower park activities

If you need a break from hours of coasters and adrenaline rides, there are some mellower, can’t-miss activities at the park. One of these is the park’s sky ride, which gives your feet a break and provides an eagle-eye view of the park. Additionally, some of the animal activities also offer visitors a welcome break from more exciting park rides. A trip to the Lorikeet habitat allows visitors the delightful chance to hand-feed beautiful birds, and the gorilla habitat has a restful sanctuary that can, at certain times, offer any visitor a few unexpected moments of quiet.

Park food

Food is a key part of the Busch Gardens experience. There’s a range of great restaurants to try.

Most theme parks try to put their own unique spin on some of their restaurants and food concession stands. At Busch Gardens, this results in some unique food experiences that park-goers shouldn’t miss. At the top of the list is a stop at Sultan’s Sweets, a confectioner that’s located close to the park entrance. For many long-term park goers, this shop is one of their most treasured memories of the park and something they need to be sure to do each time they go.

If you’re hungry for more than a sugary snack, Zambia Smokehouse is a fantastic choice. It features delicious wood-fired meats and the kinds of sides you’d find at any high-quality barbeque restaurant. It’s also a great place to take a breather in between more exciting park activities. There’s plenty of seating inside, along with an outdoor covered patio with a great view of one of the park’s roller coasters that passes just above the restaurant.

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