Off again to Tampa to visit Busch Gardens this time. Nice journey over to the Gulf Coast and this time we didn’t need to drive through Tampa itself, so no city driving which was nice.
We visited Busch Gardens many years ago when we first went to Florida and made the mistake of going on a weekend, and it was really, really busy with local people. Fair enough they probably get a good value annual ticket and can go in whenever they want. But this time we planned to visit on a weekday and so went on a Monday. It was certainly a lot quieter but there were still long queues for some of the rides (not that we were going on any) and things like Rhino Rally, which we thought Rosemary was too little for anyway.
While getting our bearings and working out where to visit first we saw the crocodiles.
We started off by visiting the Myombe Reserve where there are Gorillas and Chimps.
The grounds are really nice and the enclosures are pretty big (not as big as a jungle obviously) but give the animals lots of space to roam and hide away.
As it was getting towards lunchtime and we took a break and went to the Kenyan Kanteen in the Nairobi area and got some chips (sorry fries) and a funnel cake. This is a fried dough, bit like a doughnut, but sort of swirled into the fryer so you get thin pieces all joined together. Was really nice and Rosemary wanted it.
We then headed into the Curiosity Caverns and Animal Care Centre where there are some smaller animals and some requiring attention for whatever reason.
From there we walked over to the Edge of Africa.
There was a nice display with some lions, set up like an encampment.
By the lions there is a Land Rover that you can climb into and the glass for the lion’s enclosure forms the windscreen.
And there was an amazing “stand” (the term for a group) of flamingos.
And finally in this area was the tank with hippos and a multitude of fish. Really nice to see them underwater.
From here we went to the Nairobi train station to get the train around the whole park and through the animal enclosures. This was a really nice little trip and you get to see the animals much closer up.
Getting off the train we headed further into the park and had a look at the elephants.
And then headed up into Timbuktu.
And from there we headed to Jungala to see the tigers. Busch Gardens has a number of white tigers (which is not good for conservation purposes but they are pretty spectacular).
As well as the normally coloured tigers.
The one on the left above looks like he’s halfway between the two.
And this guy really looks like a Disney cartoon of Shere Khan.
There is a hatch you can stick you head up into where you can look at the tigers directly.
As well as a high level observation area where there is a floor to ceiling window.
We went to do some shopping at this point and Julia tried on some rather fetching head gear.
And Rosemary got bought a white tiger, although she was a bit too sleepy to appreciate him.
And finally as we were leaving a picture in front of the main entrance.