In my research before our first visit I read over the Busch Gardens website to see what our 2 year old son could ride. It appeared there were a couple of rides he could do like the train, but the list seemed far from extensive. However, the tickets were cheap enough and there were animals, so we figured there’d be enough to fill a day. Then we got there and realized Busch Gardens Tampa is a toddler paradise. The website just didn’t do justice to how awesome the park is for young kids. The current park map doesn’t even include or list all the kid rides, not sure why.
Here’s our list of things toddlers can do at Busch Gardens Tampa:
- Stanley Falls Flume – Two or older can ride this flume with a 45 foot drop!
- Serengeti Express Train – Great train and safari adventure
- Skyride – Classic cable car ride with great animal views
- Gwazi Gliders – Hang glider flat ride in Morocco
- Wild Surge – 38″ or more can ride this kid drop ride “hidden” in Jungala
- Treetop Trails – 3 story play area with nets, water and animals in Jungala
- Grand Caravan Carousel – Amusement park staple in Pantopia
- Bush Flyers – Vintage plane flat ride in Pantopia
- Desert Runners – Motorcycle flat ride in Pantopia
- Pantopia Train – Kid Train in Pantopia
- Air Grover – 38″ minimum coaster in Sesame Street Safari of Fun (SSSOF)
- Hippos of the Nile – 36″ minimum mini flume kids ride alone in SSSOF
- Count’s Zambezi Rally – Kids cars drive around track in SSSOF
- Snuffy’s Elephant Romp – Busch Gardens answer to Dumbo in SSSOF
- Elmo’s Safari Go-Round – Kid carousel in SSSOF
- Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie – Tiny Ferris wheel in SSSOF
- Rosita’s Djembe Fly Away – Classic swing ride in SSSOF
- Cookie Monster Canopy Crawl – Huge net and tunnel play area in SSSOF
- Elmo’s Treehouse Trek – Huge rope bridges, stairs and structures in SSSOF
- Bert & Ernie’s Watering Hole – Huge splash pad in SSSOF
- Smiley’s Sahara Sand – Big sandbox and bounce house in SSSOF
- Characters – Meet your favorite Sesame Street Characters and others in in SSSOF
- Let’s Play Together – Sesame Street themed show in SSSOF
- Critters Inn Charge – Animal Show in Pantopia
- Adult Shows – From ice skating to music, your kids may like these shows
- Animals – Tigers, primates, cheetahs, penguins, gators, lions, elephants, birds and all the animals of the Serengeti. This place has more animals than most zoos with great walking trails and botanical gardens.
- Fireworks – Summer weekends and holidays you can end your day with these!
This is written to target kids in the 2-4 year range, but as kids grow their world opens up even more. For example, when your kid gets to 42″ they can even ride the bumper cars and the looping roller coaster Scorpion! Even if your kids can’t ride the roller coasters, if you decide you want to say go on a Cheetah Hunt, the park has one of the most liberal parent swap policies. Just head to a ride’s Quick Queue line and you can tag team as a solo riders using the service for free!
As you can see there are easily a couple dozen things for even the youngest toddlers to do. Good luck trying to do it all in one day, we didn’t even come close. Kids 2 and under are free, so you definitely get your money’s worth no matter what there. However, even when you’ve got to buy your toddler a ticket at years (assuming you’re not a Florida resident and can get the free preschool Fun Card) you can still more than fill the day.
As a parent you know that seeing the smiles on your kid’s face as they experience their own “thrill” rides more than makes up for bypassing the roller coasters yourself. With a great mix of kid rides, family rides, shows and animals, you just can’t go wrong. Head to Busch Gardens and bring the kids, they’ll love it!