1970 – 1979

The second decade of Busch Gardens Tampa’s history saw continued expansion, and the rise of the theme park we know today with additions to the lineup including the park’s first roller coaster.


  • Unknown – Free admission ends as park begins charging $1.25 for adults and 50 cents for children as part of an over $12 million expansion in the next decade. Annual attendance reportedly 3 million (Chicago Tribune, 7/12/1970)
  • Summer – Boma, a new area where guests can get close to and interact with animals, opens at the park. The million dollar project also includes housing for 13 species of nocturnal animals that guests can view (Chicago Tribune, 7/12/1970)


  • August 7 – Kishina, a female gorilla, is born at Yerkes Primate Center. She was moved to Busch Gardens’ Myombe Reserve in 1992.
  • December – Attendance for the month reported at 145,000 (Chicago Tribune 1/11/1974)


  • December – Attendance for the month reported at 128,000. Lower than the previous December, it is blamed on three days of rain following Christmas (Chicago Tribune 1/11/1974)


  • July 1 – Python, the park’s first roller coaster, officially opens to guests in the Congo section of the park (present day Jungala).