Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seaworld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund Golf Classic

The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens conservation fund is hosting a golf classic to benefit animal conservation worldwide! The event will return to the Avila Golf and Country Club on Monday, March 10th. The event will feature golfing, prizes, food & drinks, and much more! The purpose of this event is to raise money and awareness for the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund that protects, helps, and rescues animals in need worldwide!

The event itself will take place at the Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa. Registration to the event will begin at 8:00 AM, and the shotgun start will be at 9:00 AM. After completing a match of golf you will be served lunch while you enjoy awards and raffle prizes. The entry fee to the event grants you all of the following: entry to the tournament, participation in the hole in one, longest drive & closest to the pin contests, a gift bag, awards and raffle ceremony, lunch, and an open bar!

All of the money raised for the event will go straight to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and it will benefit animals worldwide. If you're interested in participating in this wonderful event or if you would like more information, email

For the latest information and coverage of Busch Gardens Tampa, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.

Event Review: Bands Brew & BBQ 2014

This February, Bands Brew & BBQ made its comeback with over 100 craft brew beers, exclusive culinary and dining options, and world class entertainment! This past weekend I was able to cover the event for my blog and I must say it was a very fun experience! You can find my full review of the event in the text below.

Dining & Culinary

Alongside the wonderful food Busch Gardens' culinary team produces every day, vendors such as Smokey Bones, Kojaks House Of Ribs, Outback Steakhouse, and The Penguin Pretzel Factory were all on hand at the event selling delicious food for park guests to enjoy. While I was strolling through Gwazi Park, the wafting aroma of fresh made waffles brought me straight to the Busch Gardens stand that was selling Chicken & Waffles. I was a little skeptical about trying this unusual combination but it turned out to be one of the best things I've ever eaten at a theme park! The Chicken & Waffles came with a very large Belgian waffle, a generous portion of fried chicken tenders, and your choice of traditional maple syrup or a spicy chili syrup. I chose to go the traditional way with the regular syrup and boy was I impressed! The Chicken & Waffles are definitely my new favorite culinary creation at the event and I really hope that they make their return next year!   

Later that day, I returned to Gwazi Field in search of a light snack before the Bret Michaels concert at 5:00 PM. I searched the entire walkway full of vendors but found nobody selling lighter fare until I stumbled upon the Penguin Pretzel Factory. The Pretzel Factory's menu was very simple, pretzels! I splurged and I decided to get the fancy looking pretzel dog. The pretzel dog was an all beef hot dog wrapped in the Pretzel Factory's signature Pretzel dough then baked until golden brown, yum! For a dollar extra, you could add a cup of cheese sauce to your order. I passed on the sauce as the pretzel dog looked great just by itself! The pretzel dog was very good!  The dough was soft and the hot dog was perfectly cooked. It was great!       


The event definitely brought some unique shopping opportunities! A featured artist by the name of Ann Dalton had her own stand on the Gwazi Field walkway showcasing all of her paintings, many of them animal themed. Her paintings were available for purchase and they ranged from $100 to over $1000. From previous events that utilize Gwazi Park's walkway such as Christmas Town, a growing trend is to bring in artisans that hand craft their artwork. Throughout Christmas Town, a glass blower was on hand making beautiful pieces right there on the spot!

Busch Gardens also had a few kiosks here and there selling t-shirts, pins, and various glassware. They also had a rock and roll themed kiosk as well as a country themed kiosk selling items related to their respective genres.


Each day of Bands Brew & BBQ brings a new and unique entertainer to the Gwazi Field stage each night at 5:00 PM. The day I was at the event, rock and roll icon Bret Michaels was rocking the stage at Gwazi Park! I've never really listened to his music, but I must say he knows how to put on a show! His band came out around 5:00 PM and did their sound check while the man himself came out soon after. The concert was fairly long and the songs seemed to have many guests singing along. It was interesting to me that kids younger than the age of 10 knew the lyrics to some of his songs by heart! After the concert was finished, guests had the opportunity to meet Bret for $200. All of the money collected from the meet and greet went straight to a charitable cause, a win-win situation on both ends!

Fun & Miscellaneous

I decided to throw this section in as it might appeal to some of you out there! Members of Busch Gardens' Adventure League were on hand at the entrances to Gwazi Park Walkway and the stage area itself to help you with all of your questions and concerns relating to the event. Stilt walkers were also roaming around the walkway informing guests of the upcoming performances and events throughout they day. 

Scattered throughout the walkway were various midway games themed to the Bands Brew & BBQ setting. Games included bean bag toss and frisbee toss.

 It's harder than it looks!

Overall, the event was great! The food and entertainment that Busch Gardens provides to its fans is truly world class. I can't wait to see what Bands Brew & BBQ has in store for next year's event. Remember, the event still runs for two more weekends as of February 26th. Be sure to get out to the park and have a great time!

For the latest information and coverage of Busch Gardens Tampa, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kasi The Cheetah's 3rd Birthday

This Wednesday, you're invited to Kasi the Cheetah's 3rd birthday party! Kasi's birthday celebration will begin at 3:00 PM at the Cheetah Run habitat. Kasi and the other cheetah's trainers will be on hand to answer all of your questions regarding Kasi and the family of cheetah's that call Busch Gardens home. As with any other birthday party, Kasi will be receiving birthday presents from all of his friends filled with some nice and edible treats.

What: Kasi The Cheetah's 3rd Birthday
When: Wednesday, February 19th
3:00 PM
Where: Cheetah Run Habitat

For the latest information and coverage of Busch Gardens Tampa, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

BOGO Offer On Kangaroo Feeding- This Weekend Only!

This week, Busch Gardens is offering park guests a special deal on kangaroo feeding at the Walkabout Way! This weekend only, guests over 5 years of age that purchase a cup of animal food at the Walkabout Way will receive another cup of food at no extra cost! The offer is valid this weekend only (February 15th & 16th), and will allow park guests to feed the residents of Walkabout Way! 

With your purchase, you'll be able to feed kangaroos, wallabies, fish, and an assortment of Australian birds. This is a very neat and educational experience as it gives guests the opportunity to hand feed and interact with some very exotic Australian animals. Even if you aren't interested in feeding the animals, hop on by to the Walkabout Way, it's truly a hidden gem that's worth a visit!

For the latest information and coverage on Busch Gardens Tampa, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines Day At The Edge Of Africa

This Valentines Day, the Busch Gardens animal care team is throwing a Valentines Day celebration for the residents of the Edge Of Africa!
The celebration will begin promptly at 11:00 AM when the lions and hyenas will receive their special valentines day goodies from their secret admirers, also known as their trainers! No valentines day would be complete without the chocolate, but the lions and hyenas are going to be even happier when they receive their box of chocolate filled with a nice assortment of juicy meat!

The hippos and lemurs will also get their fix of valentines day treats as the trainers have prepared a nice assortment of treats for them as well. The hippos and lemurs will receive fruity popsicles, sweet melons, and a valentines day fruit salad! Alongside the yummy treats, the animal habitats will be decorated in valentines day décor to make the animals have an extra special day. The animals' trainers will also be on hand to answer all of your questions. If you're at the park tomorrow, stop by the Edge Of Africa for a valentines day on the wild side!   

For the latest converge of Busch Gardens Tampa, be sue to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Riders Stranded On Cheetah Hunt As Inclement Weather Approaches

Around 2:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon, the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster malfunctioned stranding 16 unlucky park guests halfway between the first and second launch sequences of the ride. With inclement weather approaching, Cheetah Hunt ride workers alerted the Busch Gardens mechanical team to come out to the ride site and assess the situation. The mechanical team tried to push the ride vehicle backwards to the first launch sequence so the ride could re-initiate itself, but the ride vehicle did not budge! With the mechanical team's plan of action failing, the Tampa Bay Fire Department was called to the park to assist with the evacuation of the guests from the ride vehicle.  

As time passed, the inclement weather neared the park and Busch Gardens distributed ponchos to the stranded guests to keep them dry throughout the frustrating ordeal. Eventually, the rain started pouring and the Tampa Bay firefighters were forced to evacuate guests from the ride in the pouring Florida rain! 

Two and a half hours later, all guests were safely evacuated from the ride vehicle and thankfully, no injuries were reported!

In the end of this terrifying ordeal, all guests, maintenance workers, and rescue workers walked away unharmed with quite the story to tell their family and friends! These types of incidents are very rare, but when they do occur, the Busch Gardens team handles them with the utmost professionalism. I congratulate them for doing just that!

For the latest information and coverage on Busch Gardens Tampa. be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pele The Lowland Gorilla's 12th Birthday

This Wednesday, Pele the Lowland Gorilla will celebrate her 12th birthday at the Myombe Reserve alongside all of her fellow gorilla friends! As Pele's birthday is very close to Valentines Day, the Busch Gardens animal care team has decided to throw Pele a Valentines Day themed birthday bash! The birthday girl will be released onto the gorilla habitat to find Valentines Day cards, presents, and of course, treats and goodies to share with the other gorillas!

Image & Rights Belong To Busch Gardens Tampa

If you're able to, be sure to make it out to the Myombe Reserve tomorrow afternoon to celebrate with Pele and the rest of her gorilla friends. From past experience, I can tell you that animal birthday parties at Busch Gardens are a bunch of fun for everyone! It's an event you don't want to miss!

When: Wednesday, February 12th 2014
1:00 PM

Where: The Myombe Reserve

For The Latest Information And Coverage Of Busch Gardens Tampa, Be Sure To Follow Viktor Tuparov On Twitter.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Show Review: Motor City Groove

New at the Desert Grill, the Motor City Groove brings together the sounds and the music of the soul music era. The show features soul music classics such as Tina Turner's "Rolling On The River" and many others. I dropped in for a showing of the Motor City Groove on my last visit to the park. You can find my review of the show in the text below.

Image & Rights Belong To Busch Gardens Tampa
I must say, the Motor City Groove was an absolutely amazing show! With a cast of professional singers, dancers, and musicians, the Motor City Groove transported me to the days of the soul music era through powerful singing and dancing. The vocalists of the show gave a very heartfelt performance that could be felt throughout the entire restaurant making everybody gaze towards the stage. The dancers put out a solid and high energy performance that made me want to get up and dance! The musicians gave an excellent and in tune performance while backing up the vocalists throughout the show. Overall, all of the performers put out a spectacular performance!

I would definitely come back to see this show as it's always a treat to watch Busch Gardens' cast of talented performers. On a typical day, the Motor City Groove has between 3-4 shows inside of the Desert Grill located in the Timbuktu section of the park. It's truly a show you don't want to miss!

Insider Tip: Don't forget that you can enjoy some of the Desert Grill's delicious culinary offerings while you watch the show!        

For The Latest Information & Coverage On Busch Gardens Tampa, Be Sure To Follow Viktor Tuparov On Twitter.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dining Review: Garden Gate Craft Brew Pub

This past weekend while at the park, I decided to dine at one of Busch Gardens' newly themed restaurants. I chose the Garden Gate Craft Brew Pub. The original buffet style Garden Gate Café closed mid last year due to park wide budget cuts and then re-opened around August as a craft brew bar. Now the restaurant has reopened with craft brews and traditional Pub fare.

Upon entering the restaurant, you enter a short queue where you place your order at one of the two cash registers. Menu items include The Garden Chicken Melt, Margherita Flatbread, The Garden Gate Classic Salad, "Not Your Mamma's" Grilled Cheese, and chicken wings served baked or fried in your choice of sauce. After you place your order, you're given a buzzer to notify you when your food is ready. When your buzzer signals you, proceed to the right of the cash registers to pick up your food. The entire process is very easy and takes between 10-15 minutes from start to finish.

I chose to order the Garden Chicken Melt and my dad ordered the Margherita Flatbread. Both items came out of the kitchen in no time at all and were presented very nicely. My sandwich came with a generous portion of fries and my dad's flatbread was served without any sides. The sandwich was very good and had lots of flavor to it. I sampled the flatbread and was very pleased with that as well. The flatbread was perfectly baked and  the toppings were very fresh.

This was definitely a dining experience to remember as the food was amazing and the outdoor seating provided great ambience. Overall, I would definitely return to dine at the Garden Gate Craft Brew Pub!

Remember: The Garden Gate Craft Brew Pub is only open weekends and closes on March 9th. The original buffet style Garden Gate Café is rumored to return shortly after.

Full Details On Pantopia & Falcons Fury Released

On February 5th, Busch Gardens invited members of the media to take a special hard hat tour of the Falcons Fury construction site as well as the surrounding area for the new Pantopia expansion. I've compiled all the information I could find from today's tour and have posted it in the blog post below.

Falcons Fury

Today, members of the media got to step behind construction walls to get an up close and personal look at Falcons Fury. With project manager Jeff Hornick, the media learned about the process in which it took to build the 335 Foot tall tower and had a chance to ask some questions about the ride. Media personnel also had the opportunity to try out one of the sample ride seats. As with any other major attraction, a sample ride seat will be available for park guests at the front of the attraction when it opens.


Media personnel also learned more about Pantopia, a new land coming to Busch Gardens in Spring of 2014. Members of the media also learned about the new culinary and shopping options available when Pantopia opens.

Culinary & Dining

When Pantopia opens, The Desert Grill will be transformed into The Feast Hall, a place where guests can come together and feast on all of the culinary offerings found throughout Pantopia. Located adjacent to the Feast Hall you can find The Dragonfire Grill, one of the brand new restaurants that will come with Pantopia. At The Dragonfire Grill, you can find fresh and delicious kebabs! The Sultans Arcade will be transformed into Twisted Tails Pretzels, a place where guests can buy Busch Gardens Williamsburg's signature soft pretzels as well as craft brew beers. No information has been released regarding the snack stand called The Oasis and if it will still be operational during the transformation into Pantopia. Stay tuned for the latest details.


As rumored, Critter Castaways will be moving into Pantopia Theater (Timbuktu Theater) and taking on the new name of Opening Night Critters. The show will feature rescued animals and the same concept of Critter Castaways but in a new indoor theater. Critter Castaways' final show will be February 16th in it's usual theater until it's return to Pantopia in the spring.

Shopping & Merchandise

With Pantopia comes a variety of new shops. The Painted Camel gift shop will feature all new merchandise specific to the realm of Pantopia. From picture's I've seen, it looks as though the merchandise that will be sold in The Painted Camel will be a cross between what you would find in Natures Kingdom and Xcursions. Overall, it looks like you can find some really neat stuff in this gift shop!

Falcons Fury and Pantopia are scheduled to open Spring of 2014. No official opening date has been announced quite yet, but rumor has it that opening day might be around Easter weekend.

For all the latest BGT info, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Passmember News

During the month of February, Busch Gardens has some special offers in store for their loyal pass members.


Throughout the month of February Busch Gardens' pass members can enjoy 2 entrées and 2 deserts all for $20.00 at participating restaurants! These restaurants include the Desert Grill, Zagora Café, Crown Colony Café (2nd Story), and Bengal Bistro. All you have to do is present your active Busch Gardens annual pass upon paying for your food and you're all set! Please do remember that this offer is only valid at the restaurants listed above and nowhere else in the park. The only entrées not applicable with this offer can be found at the Desert Grill and are the 3 Meat Sampler and the Full Slab of Baby Back Ribs. All other entrée's will work with this offer.


Real Music Series

This month the park welcomes The Lettermen (Feb 6-7), Paul Revere and The Raiders (Feb 11-14), The Osmonds (Feb 18-21), and Frankie Avalon (Feb 25-28). Next Month Lee Greenwood will be performing March 4th through the 7th. Concerts are held in the Stanleyville Theater located in the Stanleyville section of the park. Concerts run Tuesdays through Fridays. These are some great acts, don't miss them!

Bands Brew & BBQ

Busch Gardens' signature event kicks off this Saturday (Feb 8th), with pop icon Jason Derulo! Jason's concert will be held at 5:00 PM at Gwazi Field, be sure to get there early as seating will go fast!

On Sunday (Feb 9th), Dickey Betts & Great Southern take the stage at Gwazi Field for an unforgettable experience. As for Jason's concert, be sure to get there early as seating will go very fast!

Upcoming Bands Brew & BBQ  acts have not been announced due to the recent SeaWorld Parks Blackfish Backlash, stay tuned for more information or follow @ViktorTuparov on Twitter.

Admission Offers

Busch Gardens is still offering their 50% off a single day admission for friends or family of an active Busch Gardens pass holder. This offer is only available until April 15,2014. One pass may purchase up to 6 tickets.

Please Stay Tuned For The Upcoming March Edition Of Passmember News!

Show Review: "Soundsational!"

Recently added to the lineup of shows at the park, Soundsational brings a comedic and lighthearted approach to a not so conventional a cappella sing off.

The show features two collegiate singing groups who battle it out for the title of most Soundsational. The show features the ladies of Vocalicious, and the gentlemen who make up the Acapellicans. Along with show host Christopher Crescendo and show founder Adeline Take, the show fills the Marakesh Theater with amazing sounds that will surely make you want to sing along.

The show features many contemporary songs such as "California Girls" by Katy Perry, "Firework" also by Katy Perry, and "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction. The show also features a few songs from the 60's era such as "My Girl" by the Temptations.  

After seeing the show this past weekend, I must say that I'm very impressed. I like that the show features music that can be recognized by a younger audience unlike some of the other shows in the park. The show also has a large amount of audience connection and participation as the audience plays a key role in several parts of the show. All of the vocalists sounded amazing and each of them had their shining moment in the spotlight throughout the course of the show. Show host Christopher Crescendo and show founder Adeline Take kept the story going and gave comedic momentum while the vocalists where off stage, both of them had me laughing several times throughout the show! Overall, I would definitely come back to see this show!

Inside Tip: After the show is finished, the cast usually holds a meet and greet at the front of the stage. This is a great opportunity to take a picture with some of your favorite cast members.