1959 – 1969

Busch Gardens Tampa opened to the public in 1959, and this section details the first decade of the park’s existence.


  • March 31 – Busch Gardens Tampa opens to the public as a free attraction with tours of the brewery, sampling of beers, and expansive tropical gardens with several bird species on display.


  • March 1 – Patsy, a female chimpanzee in Myombe Reserve, is born.


  • June – 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 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)