Below are noteworthy events from Busch Gardens Tampa’s history that occurred in the month of June.

Specific Dates:

  • 1st – (1959) Busch Gardens Tampa officially opens to the public as a free attraction with tours of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, sampling of beers in the Hospitality House, and expansive tropical gardens with a number of avian species on display in the original Bird Gardens. Some 1,600 guests attended opening day, and hours were listed as 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
  • 1st – (2015) Dragon Fire Grill officially opens after two days of public soft opens.
  • 2nd – (2017) Julian Antonio Marquez was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty after witnesses said he threw a piece of pine bark and struck a flamingo at the park. The flamingo was being monitored but was expected to be fine. (Bay News 9 6/3/2017)
  • 5th – (1970) Park announces a $14 million dollar expansion during a preview of the soon-to-be-open Boma area. The expansion plans included installing a new train ride, 1,000 seat amphitheater, and a flume ride. (Orlando Sentinel 6/6/1970)
  • 11th – (2013) A male reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • 11th – (2020) Park reopens following extended closure due to COVID-19 concerns. New safety guidelines include free reservations for visits, temperature checks, required face coverings, and social distancing throughout the park. (Twitter 6/4/2020)
  • 12th – (2002) Park introduces a “rain guarantee” where guests may receive a second day’s admission if precipitation ruins their visit. Guests need only ask for it upon exiting the park and use it within seven days. (Orlando Sentinel 6/13/2002)
  • 13th – 14th – (2014) First of two weekends of Sidewalk Safari Nights held for annual pass members and Fun Card holders.
  • 14th – (2010) Walkabout Way, which includes Kangaloom, The Kookaburra’s Nest, and Aussie Station, officially opens.
  • 15th – (1981) Zoo Camp 1981 begins, with one-week sessions for children ages 5 to 15 from 8 a.m. to noon. The fee is $70. (Ledger 5/8/1981)
  • 15th – (1985) Extended summer hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until August 18, and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. August 19 – 25. (Ledger 5/31/1985)
  • 16th – (1975) The Eagle Within opens in Tangiers Theater.
  • 16th – (2007) SheiKra reopens from a short refurbishment to install new floorless trains and station modifications to accommodate them.
  • 17th – (1992) Myombe Reserve officially opens to guests.
  • 17th – (2016) Cobra’s Curse officially opens to guests.
  • 18th – (1999) Gwazi officially opens to the public.
  • 19th – (1982) Through August 22, summer hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. (Ledger 6/18/1982)
  • 19th – (2013) A female reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • 19th – (2018) Three new tours are announced – Aldabra Insider, Cheetah Insider, and Gorilla Insider. (Twitter)
  • 20th – 21st – (2014) Second of two weekends of Sidewalk Safari Nights held for annual pass members and Fun Card holders.
  • 21st – (2012) A three-banded armadillo is born to mother Zowie and father Ollie.
  • 25th – (1983) Extended summer hours of 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. begin, and run daily through August 21. Park admission listed at $12.50, children 2 and under free. Annual passes available at $40. Parking is $1 per vehicle. (Ledger 6/24/1983)
  • 26th – (2001) One of the vehicles on Rhino Rally tips over, resulting in minor injuries to two guests.
  • 26th – 28th – (2015) Coca-Cola visits the park as part of their Share A Coke Tour, where guests could get a free personalized mini-can of Coca-Cola at an event area set up next to Marrakesh Theater. (BG 6/22/2015)
  • 29th – (2021) Park closes early at 8 p.m. due to inclement weather. (Twitter 6/29/2021)

During the Month:

  • 1967 – Newspaper article lists Richard G. Naegeli as park director, and calls Busch Gardens the largest tourist attraction in Florida. Annual attendance is reported at over 3 million (with a peak daily attendance of 42,000), and admission is free. A 278-acre expansion is in development, which includes a new monorail and Swiss House. The parking lot is estimated to hold 1900 cars, and the park hours are listed as 9 am to dusk Monday to Saturday. (Boca Raton News 6/18/1967)
  • 1975 – Summer hours (Father’s Day through Labor Day) listed as 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, returning to a 6 p.m. close time after Labor Day. A parking charge of 50 cents implemented. (Ledger 6/13/1975)
  • 2013 – Pass Member Instant Rewards program debuts, with changing perk or deal each month for annual pass members. (Busch Gardens 6/9/2013)
  • 2016 – The park receives the 2016 Recycle Florida Today Environmental Sustainability award. The park boasted a 40% recycle rate, nearly 6 million pounds of waste recycled. (Busch Gardens 6/24/2016)
  • 2018 – Park named the 10th Best Theme Park and Turn It Up! takes fifth place for Best Amusement Park Entertainment in the 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards for 2018. (Twitter 6/22/2018)