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As a family who visits the best zoos and aquariums around the country, we recognize when animals are well cared for and when they are under stress. Many of the animals at Busch Gardens in Tampa were clearly suffering from stress during our visit today. It was disheartening to see the cheetahs acting out. When we saw a wallaby in the middle of a walkway surrounded by at least 10-12 people so close to it with their hands all over it so there was no room for it to move away (clearly not appropriate treatment for animals who should be allowed the freedom to leave a situation if they want), the keepers just ignored our concerns. That would NEVER have happened at any of the other 40+ zoos we have been to.
Animal species used to be more numerous, they have been replaced by rides and money making opportunities by this amusement park. Not worth coming here if it’s animals you want to see. The safari was interesting, but I would rather spend more $$ and do a behind the scenes tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where I can see the animals are treated well and I know the $$ is going towards conservation, not to line a corporation's pockets.
We saw the admission price for a one-day pass as $89.99 online. When we got to the park and bought tickets through a kiosk, we were charged $104.99. After calling customer service, they said the $89.99 price is only if you buy online. I took her to the website and made her aware there is not one reference to the higher price if you buy AT THE PARK! If 1,000 people used the kiosk on one day, Busch Gardens just made $15,000 extra! Unbelievable!
We fell for the annual pass sales pitch, bought three of the more expensive annual passes, because each pass would come with an additional three free passes (we thought there were only two passes per ticket, but phone rep admitted there were three, so definitely not something imagined). The contract was set up as an annual renewal, that simply charged our credit card for the next five years. Basically no auto-renewal after automatically renewing those first five years. Working a lot and not being able to get away and go, still worked out to be financially sound, especially with the free passes that they promised. Ideal to bring friends when we could manage to bring them together.
Understand that we are still in our first year of the contract. Today we called up to ask how we get our free passes. This was met with a response that IF WE UPGRADED OUR PASSES, then they would give us the free passes. Excuse me?! What?! My wife went around and around with them on the phone. Come to find out that Busch Gardens had changed the contract under us and would only give us the free passes, that we were originally promised, if we upgraded. Further dialog led them to concede that they would make everything right, but ONLY if we paid the setup fee for a new contract.
We originally moved from San Diego to DC Metro area, and had fancy annual passes with Sea World (same company), and they did precisely the same thing when we were in San Diego, but we were moving and so we let it go. We have been loyal members/customers for many years, so it is very disheartening that they repay that loyalty with attempting to charge us even more money for what seems to be completely their fault. Really just hoping that more people become aware of this before they pay all kinds of money on a contract that they will no longer honor. Wish we had the bucks to take them to court, but the time and money required is extremely prohibitive. VERY DISAPPOINTED!
Just as a word of caution - even though your ticket, parking and discount drink cups are good for both parks, the All Day Dining is NOT good for both. Got screwed paying $37 just for lunch at Adventure Island (not very good food) as I thought the wristband (they are identical for both parks, nothing stating good for only one park) would be good to hit dinner at BG (much better food). The staff at AI told me yes it was good for both, but when I got to BG, it didn't work. Then the front gate manager was like "oh well, too bad". At Disney and Universal, the all day deals are good for their respective parks for that whole day. Doubt I'll be going back to BG/AI ever again.
Park closed down because of thunder and lightning. Announcements were made that stores, attractions and monorail would be closed until thunderstorm was over. Customers were left to find their way in the storm, dark and rain. There were no staff to ask for assistance for layout of the parking light. No maps of layouts of lot provided. Had There were parents pushing strollers and running with small children and babies trying to find their cars in the dark and rain. There were no staff to support customers from one parking lot to the other. The only way to see the walkways was from the cars coming toward crosswalk.
If there is an emergency, customers are screwed. When we found a staff member, there was no contingency plan for the safety of the customers. Staff talked about how they were not allowed to be outside during a code purple. We were finally pointed in a direction of the lot by a store clerk and told to keep walking until we find out car. Will never go to Busch Gardens again because of lack of safety for customers. Crossing the parking lot was very dangerous, because you couldn't see people until they walked out from behind bushes. If a child got loose they would have been hit by a car. Very scary.
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Very affordable park, especially if you are a Florida resident and get the platinum yearly pass. Plus, the dine-all-day deal is an amazing value at $35 for adults and $18 for kids ($31 and 17 if you are a platinum pass holder). You get a meal every hour, unlimited free sodas and water, and BOGO alcohol and snacks. The meals alone pay for the pass themselves. Plus, you can pay $250 and get a yearly unlimited quick-queue pass, so you don't have to wait in any lines.
I am never one to complain, but I do feel it is my obligation to share my experience and inform others to think before they visit this park. First, for my husband, myself, and one 7 year old - we paid $334 before even stepping into the park. That was with the meal plan that was suggested by our AAA agent. Once we got to the actual park, we then paid $20 to park our car, which we then had to wait in a line for the shuttle to the park entrance.
Once inside the park - we waited one hour and half to get on the Cheetah Hunt and realized that our day was going to be that. I did not want to do it, but my husband insisted that we at least get two fast pass tickets so at least one of us and my 7 year old son could go on to rides. I then paid another $120.00 for two fast passes. And this was after the $112.00 we spend to go on the Safari because that is not part of your entrance. After that, we decided to go grab some lunch. It was edible, but limited. We only ended up eating one meal seeing that the park was opened from 10-7.
After lunch my husband and son were finally able to ride three more rides before the park closed and by the time we got back from the safari. I tried grabbing a snack - they don't tell you when you buy the meal ticket that meals are free, snacks are BUY ONE GET ONE FREE. So we are leaving the park and I was totally feeling ROBBED and I was not the only one. They ask you to take a survey, and a man was asking to see the manager as was I because of the ridiculousness of the amount of money and time you have. No manager was brought to either of us and someone was supposed to contact me about my experience, but no one ever did.
Just a great example of a huge company who could care less about the actual experience for who they are serving. I am sure that someone will respond to this trying to justify why they let way more people in or how their first concern is their customer. I say save it all unless you are truly going to do something about it. To future customers, I am truly trying to save you from spending the money and frustration. My mission is to post this to as many review sites to ensure I feel like I am helping others. I am never one to complain, but I do feel it is my obligation to share my experience and inform others to think before they visit this park.
Can anyone tell me which item is larger? I'm at Busch Gardens and have been told If I want to ride a ride I MUST pay $2 to store my purse in a locker, whereas they have bins for men to place their hats, wallets, keys etc for free. I even saw men with sling bags and fanny packs allowed to utilize this option but I was denied not once or twice but on every single ride. I purchased a locker for $10 for the day to store dry clothes and shoes just in case it rained. They want me to pay an additional $2 per ride because I am carrying a purse that is smaller than a teenager's baseball hat? Universal Studios offers free lockers while you ride, Disney has free storage options, Cedar Point has free storage options. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is not only greedy but their policies are sexist. If you are a woman I recommend ANY other amusement park to go to.
I'm from Brazil. On 27th December I bought, for me and my family, Busch Gardens' Dining Deal and I became very disappointed. The restaurants included in All-Day Dining Deal (there are only a few restaurants included) were always full. All day long! OK, maybe one thinks that this is not a problem, but at 18:40 (the park was going to close at 10PM) we went to one of the restaurants (Zagora Cafe) and there were many problems, and I quote: only one part (out of three) of the restaurant serving food, a huge line, no fruits for dessert (my wife is diabetic). The sodas were already in the cups with ice (not sodas anymore - almost only water = melted ice). I took many pictures with my phone. I decided not to eat there and, then, I headed to another restaurant, the Serengeti Overlook. The situation was a little bit better, but, still, no fruits for dessert.
Well, what can I say? I'm very disappointed and I will never buy this "Dining Deal" again. It's not a good deal. I sent an email to Busch Gardens' Guest relations and the answer I got from them was ridiculous. They suggested me, for instance, that I eat at non-peak times. Well, It's simple. I just have to convince my stomach to wait until the lines are OK. They also told me to ask one of their ambassadors to help me. When?! After I left the park? When they sell the Dining Deal, they never say such things. Otherwise, nobody would buy. Well, That's it. I strongly recommend everybody not to buy the dining deal. It's, in my opinion, a very bad deal.
I had a very good time despite the HOT WEATHER. My Son really enjoyed himself because there was so much for him to do. Next time I go it won't be during a Family Reunion, but a SOLO Family Trip. I will also probably go during the off season when the weather will be more desirable.
Employees were absolutely wonderful. So many things to see and do. There were so many things to appeal to all age groups. Great delicious food choices, relaxing rides for older adults, exciting rides for the younger people in the group.
The park was very clean and kept up. The park had more rides and things to see. The hours of the park were long enough so we did not feel rushed. The free beer was great on a hot day!!! This park had almost everything, from roller coasters, animals in their natural habitat, water ride, free beer. What more could a family want? I would go again if I had a chance.
Busch Gardens is a great place to enjoy time with your family and enjoy all the attractions that are available to you. The area is full of things to do outside of the park. We went to a water park that was really nice and then later on went site seeing. If you want something for the whole family to enjoy I would say this is the place to visit and enjoy a day or a few days.
Surpassed every expectation. A nominal fee for an unforgettable experience. The numerous options of rides and activities for all ages are exceptional. Countless cuisine selections will satisfy the most discriminating of tastes however, options for a more personalized, relaxing atmosphere to dine would be most beneficial.
Park is clean. Restroom's attentive. Food and drinks are reasonably priced. I had a very good time at the park. Lots of choices with thrill rides, animals are cool to view. The safari ride was cool to do. I'm a food guy so I Love to eat and you won't be disappointed. Ride times were minimal. Good trip overall. Go there.
The staff is very helpful. Their prices are a little expensive compared to Cedar Point which has a lot more coasters. The park offers things for all ages including thrill seekers. Our family had a wonderful day at the park and we will come back. I would definitely recommend this park. It has things for all ages from the awesome shows, to good food selections, clean park and great roller coasters.
Busch Gardens expert review by ConsumerAffairs
When this park opened in 1959, visitors to the Anheuser-Busch attraction could sample beer, explore a garden with tropical birds and take the Stairway to the Stars to the top of the brewery. Now, about four million people a year visit the park, which features more than twenty rides and a variety of exotic animals.
Animals: Busch Gardens is home to one of America’s largest zoos, which houses hundreds of species of animals, including 30 on the endangered species list. Special tours are available to guests who wish to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the zoo’s most popular species, like the Bengal tigers and elephants. Visitors will also learn about the park’s involvement in conservation efforts that work to protect animals all around the world.
Late nights: Every night between mid-June and early-August, visitors can enjoy Kinetix, a live show with acrobatic performances followed by fireworks. During this time, guests can also ride the several of the park’s attractions, which gives them the chance to see the Busch Gardens lit up at night. On Fridays and Saturday, the park stays open until midnight.
Dining Pass: While several parks offer dining plans for season pass holders and/or for individuals who buy multi-day tickets, Busch Gardens offers a single-day dining pass. The All-Day Dining Deal is valid at multiple restaurants throughout the park. With it, guests receive one entree and one side item or dessert and a fountain beverage or bottle of water once every hour.
Tampa Bay CityPASS: Visitors can book vacation packages through Busch Gardens. With the Tampa Bay CityPASS, visitors receive admission to Busch Gardens as well as four other local attractions: The Florida Aquarium, the Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Chihuly Collection or the Museum of Science & Industry. Vacation packages also include hotel accommodations.
Adult Beverage Options: Several of the restaurants in Busch Gardens serve alcohol and some have a full bar. The annual Food & Wine Festival features 120 wines, craft brews and cocktails as well as foods created specifically for the event and paired with the perfect beverage. The spring event also includes live entertainment.
Best for: Busch Gardens’ variety of activities make it great for all age groups, including young adults, families and retirees. Its attractions will especially please thrill seekers and animal lovers.
Busch Gardens Company Information
- Company Name:
- Busch Gardens