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The Scorpion picture in Tampa
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  • Amusement Parks Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Spanning 297 acres and boasting more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens is a popular way to spend a day under the Tampa sun. Did you know that Busch Gardens is actually older than nearby Disney World? It's also cheaper and includes themed lands on Morocco, the Congo, Timbuktu, Egypt and Nairobi; plus animal exhibits based on the Serengeti Plain and the Myombe Reserve (and that's just scratching the surface). 

Recent visitors enjoyed the combination of entertainment and education found here, but warn that prices are high and crowds are thick. To avoid some of the crowds, travelers recommend going through the park in reverse. In other words, start in the back of the park and work your way to the front. Reviewers said this method will allow you to bypass the bottlenecking that clogs the front of the park, and puts you closest to the entrance when you're ready to leave.

You'll find Busch Gardens about 10 miles northeast of downtown Tampa. The park is open every day of the year, but park hours can vary be season and even by day, so consult its website for updated times and more information about specific shows. Ticket prices also vary. Single weekday tickets cost $75 for travelers ages 3 and up, while weekend single day tickets cost $87. Save a bit by purchasing your admission online: You'll knock off $22 on weekday admission and $10 on weekend admission just for buying your tickets beforehand. Prepare to fork over some more green for parking, too, which costs $17 per car. Admission to Busch Gardens is also covered by CityPASS, which costs $99 for adults and $84 for children and includes admission to four other area attractions, including the Florida Aquarium and the Lowry Park Zoo.

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#1 Busch Gardens Spanning 297 acres and boasting more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens is a popular way to spend a day under the Tampa sun ... Read more » Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

#2 Tampa Theatre Even if you're not in town for a film screening or performance, visitors highly recommend a stop at the beautifully ornate Tampa Theatre. When it was built in 1926 ... Read more » Jeff Titterington / Courtesy Tampa Theatre

#3 Florida Aquarium Located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium houses a massive collection of marine life  20,000 animal and plant life, by the last count. Past visitors ... Read more » Courtesy the Florida Aquarium

#4 Boat Tours Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. You'll have your pick of tour options, including sunset sails, half-day trips and dolphin ... Read more » Patti McConville / Getty Images

#5 Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center Tampa is a city made for animal lovers willing to pay the price for cuddly, unique and cute. Science centers, zoos and aquariums that don't charge at least a ... Read more » James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

#6 Big Cat Rescue This northwest Tampa spot is more sanctuary than zoo; while here, you'll have the chance to learn all things concerning bobcats, tigers, cougars, lynx, snow leopards  even house cats ... Read more » Holmes Palacios / Flickr

#7 Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Spanning 60 acres, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo boasts natural habitats, educational shows and interactive animal encounters, water play areas, and a handful of rides. Here you'll find a ... Read more » Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

#8 Henry B. Plant Museum Travelers like the setting of this museum and National Historic Landmark just as much as its contents. Housed in the Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel on the University of Tampa ... Read more » Courtesy Henry B. Plant Museum

#9 Glazer Childrens Museum If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and younger), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum. Though Tampa isn't short on kid-friendly attractions, most of ... Read more » Matthew Paulson / Flickr

#10 Tampa Bay History Center If you're interested in learning more about Florida's first inhabitants, then a stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated Tampa Bay History Center should be on your itinerary. Spanning 60,000 square ... Read more » Courtesy Tampa Bay History Center

#11 Ybor City Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for coffee manufacturing and hand-rolled cigars  factory workers would roll millions of them annually. Now it’s a ... Read more » Getty Images

The Scorpion picture in Tampa
Tampa Theatre picture in Tampa
Florida Aquarium picture in Tampa
Tampa Boat Tours picture in Tampa
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center picture in Tampa
Big Cat Rescue picture in Tampa
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo picture in Tampa
Henry B. Plant Museum picture in Tampa
Glazer Children's Museum picture in Tampa
Tampa Bay History Center picture in Tampa
Ybor City picture in Tampa
The Scorpion picture in Tampa
Tampa Theatre picture in Tampa
Florida Aquarium picture in Tampa
Tampa Boat Tours picture in Tampa
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center picture in Tampa
Big Cat Rescue picture in Tampa
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo picture in Tampa
Henry B. Plant Museum picture in Tampa
Glazer Children's Museum picture in Tampa
Tampa Bay History Center picture in Tampa
Ybor City picture in Tampa

This Busch Gardens coaster features a 360-degree vertical loop. Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

To truly experience the Tampa Theatre, recent travelers say you have to attend a performance. Jeff Titterington / Courtesy Tampa Theatre

The Florida Aquarium shelters approximately 20,000 animals, including sharks, African penguins and polar bears. Courtesy the Florida Aquarium

Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. Patti McConville / Getty Images

Vacationers appreciate a little break in their itineraries to see manatees swimming through the Tampa Electric water plant, and they don't have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

Recent visitors say that if you're a fan of these majestic cats, you'll love a visit to Big Cat Rescue. But remember: This is more of a sanctuary than a zoo, meaning the focus here is on education, not entertainment. Holmes Palacios / Flickr

At Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, you'll find a variety of animals from around the world, including African elephants, koalas, orangutans, penguins and tigers, among other species Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

The Henry. B Plant Museum bills itself as the nation's only Victorian railroad resort museum. Courtesy Henry B. Plant Museum

If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and under), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Spanning 60,000 square feet and ideally situated on Tampa's waterfront, the history center aims to showcase 12,000 years of Florida's history through three floors of exhibits, educational films and interactive displays. Courtesy Tampa Bay History Center

Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for hand-rolled cigars. Getty Images

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