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"A change from the usual Florida theme park…"
Busch Gardens is in Tampa, about a 60 minute drive from Orlando. The ticket often includes coach transportation from the Orlando SeaWorld park - so still do-able even if you have not hired a car or don't fancy the drive. They are a sister company to SeaWorld so you can get the park added to your SeaWorld ticket for not much more.
The park has some big roller-coaster rides but the theme is animals and animal conservation so they also have a zoo, animal care centre and animal themed shows. There are also more rides/areas suitable for younger children. So it is one of those places that can cover young kids up to thrill seekers with a bit of something for everyone. We went with a 7 ,10 and 12 year old. It is like a cross between Chessington and Longleat on a bigger scale with nicer weather and tropical plants!
It is well worth looking at some of the "behind the scenes" tours. We did the "Animal Care centre" tour where they take you into their operating rooms and explain the care they provide to both their own animals and wildlife rescue. We also got to see what goes into the food they prepare for the animals. But you can go into the Animal Care Centre without any additional tour. If they are operating or doing any treatment then you can watch what is going on and the vets explain what they are doing. A young tiger was having a check up when we were there.Read moreLess