1980 – 1989

The expansion of Busch Gardens Tampa into a full fledged theme park continues during the 1980s.

1980

1981

  • July – Park hours over summer are 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., part of new summer night lighting program, which runs through August 23. Annual pass cost $30. (Temple Terrace Beacon, 7/23/1981)

1983

  • April 4 – Josephine, a female black rhinoceros, is born at at the park. She is the fourth of the species to be born at the park to rhino pair Julie and Joe. (Temple Terrace Beacon, 6/9/1983)
  • April – Births at the park during the month include 15 mammals and 82 birds, bringing year to date totals to 76 mammals and 159 birds. (Temple Terrace Beacon, 6/9/1983)

1986

  • Unknown – Asian Elephant display and breeding program introduced; 22 elephants with 6 births at park. (Sun Sentinel 5/14/1989)
  • January 25 – SimSim, a male gorilla, is born at Yerkes Primate Center. He was moved to Busch Gardens’ Myombe Reserve in 1992.

1987

  • April – Admission listed as $17.95 with children under 3 admitted free; parking at $2. (Sun Sentinel 4/26/1987)
  • November 4 – Mary, a female gorilla, is born at Gladys Porter Zoo. She was moved to Busch Gardens’ Myombe Reserve in 2010.

1988

  • Unknown – Monorail trains upgraded to new “futuristic” look with air conditioning. (Sun Sentinel 5/14/1989)

1989