2000 – 2009

Moving into a new century, Busch Gardens Tampa continues to grow with the addition of new events like Howl-O-Scream.


  • March – Florida 2000 Fun Card offered through April 30, which entitles Florida residents to unlimited admission through the end of 2000 for the price of a single day admission (approximately $46). Fun Card did not include free parking, discounts, or other benefits of annual pass. As a result of concern from some annual pass members, all annual passes given free two month extension and offer to renew at discounted price. Annual pass price listed at $79.95. (Orlando Sentinel 7/10/2000)
  • Attendance for the year estimated at 5 million, a 28% increase over 1999. The increase is attributed to the new Fun Card promotion where Florida residents could visit all year for the price of a single day admission. (Ultimate Rollercoaster 1/1/2001)


  • January – Fun Card returns for second season, available for Florida residents for the price of a single day admission – at $47.95 for adults, $38.95 for children age 3 to 9 (+ tax). Allows unlimited admission through December 26, 2001 with exception of April 13 – 15. Offer available through April 6. (Ultimate Rollercoaster 1/7/2001)
  • May – Admission listed at $45.68 plus tax for adults; $36.74 plus tax for children 3-9 and free for children 2 and younger. Parking is $5 for cars, $4 for motorcycles and $6 for trucks and campers. (Orlando Sentinel 5/17/2001)
  • June 26 – One of the vehicles on Rhino Rally tips over, resulting in minor injuries to two guests.
  • August 2 – Rhino Rally reopens after making safety enhancements in response to the minor accident in June.
  • October – Promotion through end of year offering unlimited free admission for America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. Guests of the personnel receive free admission on first visit and 25% discount on following visits. (Ultimate Rollercoaster 10/9/2001)
  • Attendance for the year estimated at 4.6 million, an 8% decrease over the previous year. Industry wide, decreases were attributed to the aftermath of 9/11. (Ultimate Rollercoaster | 1/22/2002)


  • February 12 – Pele, a female gorilla, is born at Gladys Porter Zoo. She was moved to Busch Gardens’ Myombe Reserve in 2010.
  • May – 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)
  • May 12  – 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)
  • June 12 – 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)


  • January – Admission listed at $51.95 for adults, $42.95 for children ages 3 to 9, plus tax. (Lakeland Ledger 1/17/2003)
  • March 10 – Two male gorillas, father & son pair Koundu & Cenzoo, arrive at the park from Denver Zoo.



  • May 21 – SheiKra officially opens to guests.
  • November 18 – Bolingo, a male gorilla, is born at the park. He is the first successful gorilla birth at Busch Gardens Tampa.


  • March 15 – Simon, a male lion, is born.
  • April – Park changes its name from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to Busch Gardens Africa. (Ultimate Rollercoaster 4/12/2006)
  • July 24 – A man dies from an apparent heart attack after riding Gwazi.
  • October 31 – Python, the park’s first roller coaster, closes permanently as part of the project to create Jungala.
  • November – As part of a promotion for the release of new LucasArts game Thrillville, the Busch Gardens parks in Williamsburg and Tampa are voted Best Overall Theme Parks in the country. The parks also won in the Best Roller Coaster, Best Midway Games, and Best Hang-Out categories. (Ultimate Rollercoaster 11/17/2006)


  • June 16SheiKra reopens from a short refurbishment to install new floorless trains and station modifications to accommodate them.


  • January 12Jambo Junction officially opens to guests.
  • April 5 – Jungala officially opens to guests.


  • March 31 – Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio declares March 31 to be Busch Gardens Day in honor of the park’s 50th anniversary. (Twitter 3/31/2011)
  • May 9 – A male southern ground hornbill named Tufts is hatched.
  • December 23 – A male giant anteater is born at the park to mother Adelhi.