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Busch Gardens Orlando - Is it worth the two hour trip to Orlando Busch Gardens?

african track ride day

Many tourists who fly into Orlando International set aside a day of their trip to see Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. Built in 1959 as a free “hospitality facility” at the Anheuser-Busch brewery, it imported rare African animals to display alongside their beer gardens. Since then, numerous additions have transformed Busch Gardens into an internationally-known Africa-themed location with numerous sources of entertainment.

In 1976, Busch Gardens unleashed the first of their many rollercoasters. These Africa-themed rides are the main drawing point for guests, as more than one has made their way into rollercoaster legend:

The Python: This now-dismantled relic used to sell t-shirts saying “I challenged the Python and lived!” until a rider’s fatal heart attack.

The SheiKra Using a harness rather than a car with floors, the SheiKra suspends its victims face down over the track before the ride takes off.

The Montu: Twisted in thought and design, the Montu is a massive ride that corkscrews into high-pressure turns that make your cheeks feel like they’re being pulled to your shoulders.

The Gwazi: The Gwazi is a massive wooden monstrosity that barely seems to slow down in its 3400 foot journey. Wooden construction makes a distinctive racket on the way down, like rain made of drumsticks.

The Kumba: If the Gwazi makes racket, the steel-boned Kumba is cacophonous. The strength of the construction makes the track look terrifyingly thin, and there are many times in the ride when you lose sight of the track entirely.

There’s more, of course, but these are the five must-sees for any Busch Gardens visitor.

Though not as popular as the rollercoasters, the African-style safari is still a well-maintained and fascinating feature of the park. A host of lions, monkeys, meercats, and more make for a vivid reproduction of an African habitat. The 65-acre (about 550 square feet) Serengeti Plain is a “free-range” habitat—that is, the herds which populate it receive just as much elbow room as they would get in the African wilderness. On the Serengeti Safari, you can feed apples and carrots to giraffes, pet a cheetah, and—if you’re lucky—see a lion up close.

Whatever your preferred flavor of thrill, Busch Gardens is worth the two hours it takes to get there from Orlando. It’s a great mid-point for a full vacation—an ideal 3rd day in a five-day trip.

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