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

Specific Dates:

  • 2nd – 4th – (1980) Over 1200 Girl Scouts attend event at Dark Continent, Adventure Islands, and Busch Gardens Campground (Temple Terrace Beacon – May 22, 1980)
  • 2nd – (2014) Heavy rains cause flooding and force the park to remain closed for the day. Several attractions including Cheetah Hunt are affected.
  • 6th – 19th – (1985) Senior citizens age 55 or older receive discounted admission of $6.50 (regular price $14.50). Special group rates (15 or more) for scouts or those under 55 start at $7.25 per person (offer available through June 2). (Ledger 4/19/1985)
  • 6th – (2010) Two male gorillas on Myombe Reserve, father & son pair Koundu & Cenzoo, are transferred to Birmingham Zoo.
  • 14th  – (2002) A 21 year-old zookeeper loses her right arm below the elbow after having it torn off by 350 lb, 12 year-old lion while giving a behind the scenes tour of the lion sleeping quarters to her parents and boyfriend. (Los Angeles Times 5/14/2002)
  • 16th – (1977) Senior Citizen Days begin at the park with discounted admission for guests 55 and above though June 5. $5.75 at gate or $5.50 when purchased through Maas Brothers department stores (regular price $6.50). (Ledger 5/20/1977)
  • 16th – (1980) Scorpion opens.
  • 16th – (1996) Montu officially opens to guests.
  • 18th – 20th – (1984) Park celebrates its 25th anniversary with special events. On the 18th, a separately ticketed takes place from 8 p.m. to midnight, with attractions opens and country music star Gary Morris performing two 45 minute shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. in the Festhaus. Advance tickets available for $6.99 at Camelot Music stores, and $7.99 at the gate. Hours extended to 7 p.m. on May 19 & 20, with special buy one, get one free admission available with coupon from area newspapers to “Thank You, Tampa Bay.” On the 19th, special entertainment and activities scheduled to celebrate the anniversary. (Ledger 5/18/1984)
  • 18th – (2013) Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation officially opens to guests in Stanleyville Theater.
  • 18th – (2013) Lions Kembe, Shaba, & Shtuko arrive at the park from a private zoological facility in South Africa.
  • 18th – (2015) “Ride, Slide & Dine Ticket” is offered for $99 allowing guests two visits and two meals at Busch Gardens or Adventure Island. Deal offered through June 14, and tickets valid through October 11. (Press Release)
  • 21st – (2005) SheiKra officially opens to guests.
  • 24th – 26th – (1975) The park celebrates Memorial Day Weekend with two daily concerts at Stanleyville Theater featuring The Southern Gentleman, Sonny James, and the Hee Haw Twins, the Hagers. (Ledger 5/23/1975)
  • 26th – (1982) Congo River Rapids opens.
  • 27th – (2011) Cheetah Hunt officially opens to guests.
  • 27th – (2016) Serengeti Overlook Restaurant (formerly Crown Colony Restaurant) officially opens with daily service, following a soft open the previous day.
  • 29th – (2013) “3-Park Summer Sizzler” ticket offered for $99, allowing unlimited admission to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, & Aquatica (Orlando) on weekdays through Labor Day. (Press Release)

During the Month:

  • 1979 – Admission listed at $7.80, free for children under 3. Parking is $1. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Ledger 5/4/1979)
  • 1989 – Admission listed at $20.95 with children 2 and under admitted free. (Sun Sentinel 5/14/1989)
  • 2002 – Admission listed at $52.95 for adults, $43.40 for ages 3 to 9, under 3 free. Prices include tax. (Lakeland Ledger 5/10/2002)