2010 – Present

No longer part of Anheuser-Busch, Busch Gardens Tampa faces new challenges as part of an independent entertainment company.

2010

  • January 14 – Hard Hat Tour for media & invited guests held to show progress on Sesame Street Safari of Fun.
  • February 13 – Two female gorillas, mother & daughter pair Mary & Pele, arrive at the park from Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • March 27 – Sesame Street Safari of Fun, which includes the new Air Grover coaster, opens to the public.
  • March 27 – Sesame Street Film Festival 4-D debuts in Timbuktu Theater.
  • May 6 – Two male gorillas on Myombe Reserve, father & son pair Koundu & Cenzoo, are transferred to Birmingham Zoo.
  • June 14 – Walkabout Way, which includes Kangaloom, The Kookaburra’s Nest, and Aussie Station, officially opens.
  • September 6 – KaTonga: Musical Tales from the Jungle has its final performances.
  • October 13 – The official announcement is released for Cheetah Hunt, Cheetah Run, and the surrounding realm.

2011

  • January 16 – A male Mexican beaded lizard named Gaspar is born.
  • January 21 – Tony nominee and American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis visits the park along with cast members from Rock of Ages show performing at local venue. (Busch Gardens 1/21/2011)
  • February 19 – Kasi, a male cheetah, is born at the Jacksonville Zoo. He is later moved to Busch Gardens and eventually placed on exhibit at Cheetah Run.
  • March 31 – Busch Gardens received accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). (Busch Gardens 3/30/2011)
  • April 10 – Zawadi, a male aardvark, is born at the park.
  • April 27 – Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine celebrates his daughter Talia’s 10th birthday at the park, including preparing a vegetarian meal and feeding it to the elephants. (Busch Gardens)
  • April 29 – Two red ruffed lemurs are born to mother Maditra & Bozeny (“Madi” & “Zeny”).
  • May 27Cheetah Hunt officially opens to guests.
  • July 17 – A female eland calf is born.
  • August – The park rolls out a digital app for iPhone, which includes an interactive map, ride wait times and information, show schedules, “Find My Car” pin drop locator, and more. A version for Android devices rolls out later. Near the end of the month, a new website design is rolled out. (Busch Gardens 8/4/2011 & 8/29/2011)
  • August 5 – Brazilian actor Rodrigo Faro and his family visit the park. (Busch Gardens 8/9/2011)
  • August 22 – A female eland calf is born, bringing the eland herd population at the park to 11.
  • September 21 – A female Cape buffalo is born to mother Semara, weighing in at 45 pounds.
  • November 1 – The 2012 Fun Card is introduced, allowing unlimited admission through December 31, 2012. Priced at $79.99 for adults and $71.99 for children age 3 – 9. (Busch Gardens 11/1/2011)
  • November 4 – A female Grant’s zebra is born.
  • November – The park wins two Brass Ring Awards at the IAAPA Attractions Expo, including Cirque Dream Jungle Fantasy for Best Production in its category. Senior Manager of Production Costuming Kristine Morgan won the Spirit Award. Additionally, the park received three nominations for Christmas from the Heart and Lets Dance – Featuring Burn the Floor, each for Best Production in their respective categories, and Ashley Zweig for Best Performer. (Sources: 1, 2, 3)
  • December – The park rolls out an Android version of the digital app they rolled out for iPhones in August. (Busch Gardens 12/19/2011)
  • December 27 – Female giraffe is born, bringing reticulated giraffe population at the park to 18.

2012

  • January – The 2012 Fun Card was priced at $79.99 for adults and $71.99 for children age 3 – 9. A free Preschool Pass for Busch Gardens and SeaWorld was introduced for Florida residents age 5 or younger. Stroller parking and a price reduction of kids’ meals to $5.99 were also part of the promotion. (Press Release)
  • January 23 – Animal Care Center officially opens to guests.
  • January 27 – Female giraffe born at the park.
  • February 2Iceploration opens to guests at the Moroccan Palace Theater.
  • February 5 & 6 – Two emu chicks are hatched, the first births at the new Animal Care Center.
  • March 26 – Adazee, a female aardvark, is born at the park.
  • June 21 – A three banded armadillo is born to mother Zowie and father Ollie.
  • July 30 – A male eland calf is born.
  • August – The park launches an official Instagram account. (Busch Gardens 8/16/2012)
  • September – Park begins offering maps in Spanish and Portuguese. (Busch Gardens 9/5/2012)
  • October 23 – Female white rhino born at the park.
  • October 24 – Team USA Olympians McKayla Maroney and Jonathan Horton visit the park. (Busch Gardens 10/26/2012)

2013

  • January – New mobile website is launched with new features, including geo-location capabilities and streamlined mobile purchasing. (Busch Gardens 1/17/2013)
  • February 5 – Kiazi, an aardvark, is born at the park.
  • February 15 – A male Southern Ground Hornbill hatched at Jambo Junction.
  • February 17 – A male Northern Greater Galago, a type of bushbaby, named TJ is born to mother Olivia and father Tanner.
  • February 19 – A male Southern Ground Hornbill hatched at Jambo Junction.
  • February 20 – Kembe, a male lion, is born at a private zoological facility in South Africa. He is moved to Busch Gardens a few months later.
  • March 20 – Sisters Shaba & Shtuko, lions, are born at a private zoological facility in South Africa. They are moved to Busch Gardens a few months later.
  • March 31 – Three Malayan tiger cubs are born at the park, two males and one female.
  • May 18 – Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation officially opens to guests in Stanleyville Theater.
  • May 18 – Lions Kembe, Shaba, & Shtuko arrive at the park from a private zoological facility in South Africa.
  • May 29 – “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)
  • June – Pass Member Instant Rewards program debuts, with changing perk or deal each month for annual pass members. (Busch Gardens 6/9/2013)
  • June 11 – A male reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • June 19 – A female reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • August 1 – Park debuts $50 Weekday Ticket offer, valid for a single visit Monday through Friday through December 20, 2013. Guests could add a day at Adventure Island for $25. (Busch Gardens 8/1/2013)
  • August 1 – USF Student Pass returns for $50. Pass allows student unlimited admission during regular hours through May 31, 2014, but does not include parking or other discounts/benefits of an annual pass. (Busch Gardens 8/5/2013)
  • August 5 – A baby zebra is born, bringing Grevy’s zebra population at the park to eight.
  • August 19 – Park announces addition to Waves of Honor program, allowing veterans and active duty service members the ability to purchase up to six single-day admission tickets for 50% off. Tickets had to be purchased by November 11 and used by December 20, 2013. (Busch Gardens 8/20/2013)
  • September 20 – New children’s play area themed to Busch Gardens opens at International Plaza mall after five days of construction. The play area features a 14 foot Cheetah Hunt tower, along with other park themed elements. A grand opening event was held with gifts for the first 200 children in attendance, and a ribbon cutting with special guest speakers including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Gary Malfroid of International Plaza, and Gerard Hoeppner of Busch Gardens (Press Release & Busch Gardens 9/16/2013)
  • October 5 – The Wildlife Docs, a television series filmed mainly at the park including many scenes from the Animal Care Center, debuts on most ABC stations around the country.
  • October 28 – Inaki, a female gorilla who had resided at Myombe Reserve since it opened, dies at the park.
  • December – The 2014 Fun Card, which includes admission through the end of 2013, is available at $89 for adults, $81 for children age 3 to 9. (Press Release)

2014

  • January 5 – Pele, one of the park’s female gorillas, delivers a stillborn baby.
  • February 5 – Hard Hat Tour for media showing progress on Falcon’s Fury and Pantopia.
  • February 27 – Park offers free Adventure Island Fun Card with purchase of Busch Gardens Fun Card. Price is $92 for adults & $87 for children age 3 to 9. Offer was available through March 31, 2014. (Press Release)
  • March 12 – A reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • March 14 – A reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • March 18 – A reticulated giraffe is born at the park.
  • March 21 – Painted Camel Bazaar in Pantopia officially opens to guests.
  • April – Park launches a new mobile app, the Busch Gardens Discovery Guide, which includes interactive map, wait times, attraction details, GPS navigation, car finder, and other features. (Busch Gardens 4/10/2014)
  • April 3 – Two Marabou stork chicks are hatched at the park. A third is hatched two days later.
  • April 5 – A Marabou stork chick is hatched at the park. Two others were hatched two days earlier.
  • April 13 – A southern tamandua (lesser anteater) is born at the park.
  • April 25 – Twisted Tails opens to guests for the first time.
  • April 27 – Southern three-banded armadillo born to mother Zowie and father Ollie.
  • May 2 – Heavy rains cause flooding and force the park to remain closed for the day. Several attractions including Cheetah Hunt and Scorpion are affected. Most damage was cleaned up and repaired before opening the next day, although Scorpion and portions of parking lots C and D remained closed through the weekend.
  • May 20 – Tampa Bay CityPASS goes live, allowing guests one visit to Busch Gardens and several other area attractions during a 9 day period for a discounted price. (Busch Gardens 2/26/2018)
  • June 13 – 14 – First of two weekends of Sidewalk Safari Nights held for annual pass members and Fun Card holders.
  • June 20 – 21 – Second of two weekends of Sidewalk Safari Nights held for annual pass members and Fun Card holders.
  • July – Busch Gardens Discovery Guide app updated to include Quick Pay, which allowed guests to connect a credit card and use the app to pay at most culinary and merchandise locations at the park. (Busch Gardens 7/21/2014)
  • August 1 – USF Student Pass returns for $50. Pass allows student unlimited admission during regular hours through May 31, 2015, but does not include parking or other discounts/benefits of an annual pass. (Busch Gardens 8/1/2014)
  • August 5 – An aardvark is born at the park.
  • August 16 – Falcon’s Fury “soft opens” to guests for the very first time, following several days of successful employee previews.
  • August 29 – Park launches offer for three months free with a purchase of an annual pass. Offer valid through October 31, 2014 on passes paid in full (Busch Gardens 9/4/2014)
  • September 2 – Falcon’s Fury officially opens after a successful soft opening on August 16.
  • October – Park launches PhotoKey, a digital photo sharing program. Using their PhotoKey card, guests can capture their favorite moments on most roller coasters, at the park entrance, on a Serengeti Safari, and elsewhere in the park with roaming photographers. PhotoKey is available for a daily fee or as an annual program. (Busch Gardens 10/20/2014)
  • November 5 – 2015 Fun Card is available for admission through December 31, 2015. Prices are $95 for adults, $90 for children ages 3 to 9. (Press Release)
  • November 22 – Tendai and Thabo, cheetahs, are born.
  • December 16 – Enzi, a male gorilla, is born at the park.

2015

  • January 5 – Three ticket offers are released including; free Adventure Island Fun Card with purchase of Busch Gardens Fun Card (adults $95, children 3 to 9 $90); free Preschool Pass for children 5 and younger to Busch Gardens and SeaWorld; Any 2 Parks for $99 valid through May 22, 2015 at Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, SeaWorld, or Aquatica. (Press Release)
  • February 1 – Gwazi gives its final rides and closes permanently at the the end of the day.
  • February 6 – Kamari, a female gorilla, is born at the park.
  • March 19 – Squirt, a ring-tailed lemur, is born at the park.
  • March 27 – Schweps and Seagramms, twin ring-tailed lemurs, are born at the park.
  • May 18 – “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)
  • June 1 – Dragon Fire Grill officially opens after two days of public soft opens.
  • July – TripAdvisor recognizes Busch Gardens as one of the Top Amusement Parks in the World. (Press Release)
  • July 7 – A male white-bearded wildebeest is born at the park.
  • July 10 – Two ticket offers introduced: $15 Busch Bucks with purchase of 2015 Fun Card; Pass Members & Fun Card holders can bring two friends for $25 each through August 16, 2015. (Press Release)
  • July 18 – A female Grant’s gazelle is born at the park.
  • August 5 – Park offers a Summer BOGO deal, where guests receive a free ticket with purchase of a single day admission at regular price ($97 for adults, $92 for children age 3 to 9). Offer available through August 24, and tickets valid through September 7. (Press Release)
  • September 1 – Park announces free single day admission offer for Florida-based first responders, and up to four additional single day tickets for $50. Offer valid through September 30. (Orlando Sentinel)
  • September 2 – Male wildebeest born at the park.
  • September 5 – 7 – Park stays open late for Labor Day weekend, until midnight on Saturday and Sunday, and 9 p.m on Monday, with fireworks each night at 9 p.m., preceded by a lip sync challenge at 8:45 p.m. in Gwazi Field. (Press Release)
  • September 9 – Kamari, a female gorilla born earlier in the year, dies at the park. Kamari was suffering from a neurological disorder, and died while under anesthesia for an MRI.
  • September 18 – An aardvark is born at the park.
  • October 16 – A female southern white rhinoceros is born at the park.
  • November 2 – 2016 Fun Card is available for admission through December 31, 2016. The price is $99 for ages 3 and up. (Press Release)

2016

  • January – New “Choose Your Adventure” ticket option for tourists for Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island, SeaWorld Orlando, and Aquatica. Online advance pricing is $79 for one visit, $99 for two visits, $109 for three visits, or Length-of-Stay ticket for $139 which provides 14 days of unlimited admission to each of the four parks plus free general parking at each location. Florida Resident offer valid through February 29, 2016 for BOGO Fun Card, where guest received free Adventure Island Fun Card with purchase of Busch Gardens Tampa Fun Card. (Busch Gardens 1/5/2016)
  • January 3 – Last operating day for Sifting Sands play area and Pyramid Joe’s concession stand, both located in the Egypt section.
  • January 4 – The entire Egypt section of the park is temporarily closed as part of the Cobra’s Curse project. Sifting Sands and Pyramid Joe’s are removed. Montu goes through a refurbishment, which includes repainting much of the track.
  • March 24 – A Hoffman’s two-toed sloth is born at the park.
  • April 2 – A Linne’s two-toed sloth is born at the park.
  • April 3 – Mandazi, a male hyena cub, born at the park.
  • April 10 – Tanganyika Tidal Wave splashes down for the last time before permanently closing.
  • April 23 – In celebration of Earth Day, guests who recycle an old cell phone can get a voucher for a free kangaroo or lorikeet feeding, while supplies last. A special Critter Creations tent was also set up where guests could purchase works of art created by a number of the park’s animal ambassadors. Proceeds benefited the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. (Busch Gardens 3/29/2016)
  • April 25 – Park announces 50% off ticket offer for veterans, valid for up to six single day admissions through May 31, 2016. (Press Release)
  • May 27 – Serengeti Overlook Restaurant (formerly Crown Colony Restaurant) officially opens with daily service, following a soft open the previous day.
  • June – The park receives 2016 Recycle Florida Today Environmental Sustainability award. The park boasted a 40% recycle rate, nearly 6 million pounds of waste recycled. (Busch Gardens 6/24/2016)
  • June 17Cobra’s Curse officially opens to guests.
  • August 2 – Guest Joseph Corrao, 45, picks up and violently throws to the ground Pinky, a flamingo and popular Animal Ambassador in her habitat in Jambo Junction. Pinky was later euthanized by animal care staff due to the extent of her injuries. Corrao was arrested on a charge of felony animal cruelty. (Tampa Bay Times 8/3/2016)
  • August 7 – Summer Nights event ends. However, the park actually closes at 7 pm (instead of 9 pm) because of inclement weather earlier in the day, forcing the final Kinetix performance and fireworks to be cancelled.
  • August 18 – Oliver, a male gorilla, is born at the park.
  • September 1 – Park closed for the day due to threat from Tropical Storm Hermine (becomes hurricane later in day). Twitter
  • September 2 – Park closed for the second day in a row due to threat from Hurricane Hermine. Twitter
  • September – Annual pass price listed as $168. (Busch Gardens 9/27/2016)
  • November 5 – Pass Member Appreciation Night is held at the park from 6 to 11 pm.
  • November 15 – Park is awarded prestigious Liseberg Applause Award at 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo. The award honors a park “whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with their foresight, originality and sound business development.” (Press Release)
  • November 15 – The park announces they will be the exclusive sponsor of the main NHL rink at the new Florida Hospital Center Ice sports facility in Wesley Chapel. (Press Release)
  • December 7 – Jambo Junction closes, a day after layoffs across SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties.

2017

  • January – Park offers BOGO Fun Card, where guests could purchase a 2017 Busch Gardens Fun Card and receive an Adventure Island Fun Card for free. The park also announced the return of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Card, where guests five and under could receive free admission from January 4 to December 21, 2017. Both offers were available for a limited time. (Busch Gardens 1/6/2017)
  • January 16 – Stewart Clark becomes President of Busch Gardens & Adventure Island, replacing Jim Dean who held the position since 2010. Clark was previously the Vice President of Discovery Cove. Dean moves to President of SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica in Orlando. (Press Release)
  • February – Park announced the recent receipt of a Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Sustainable Partner Award for the park’s focus on focus on conservation, waste reductions, beautification, and green initiatives. (Busch Gardens 2/10/2017)
  • February 19 – Kareebu Jungala ends regular performances.
  • March – Early in the month, Jambo Junction area reopens to guests, but without main signage. Much of the interpretive signage on the main building and for the snake tanks is missing. Several of the exhibits are empty. Twitter / Twitter
  • April – Early in the month, the former Jambo Junction area was renamed Animal Connections.
  • April 22 – In celebration of Earth Day, guests who recycle an old cell phone can get a voucher for a free kangaroo or lorikeet feeding, while supplies last. (Busch Gardens 3/28/2017)
  • April 23 – Iceploration has its final performances.
  • September 9 – 12 – Park closes for Hurricane Irma preparations. Park remains closed for four days, reopening on the 13th.
  • October 2 – Female White Rhinoceros born at park, named Winnifred (or “Winnie” for short).
  • October 11 – Park announces offer for one free admission for Florida first responders through November 24, 2017. Up to four additional tickets for friend & family available for 50% off gate price. (Press Release)
  • October 14 – Malu, a male Bornean orangutan, is born to first time mother Luna.
  • October 30 – 2018 Fun Card is available for admission through December 21, 2018. The price is $104.99 for ages 3 and up. A free Adventure Island Fun Card is included if purchased by March 25, 2018. (Press Release)
  • November 13 – A is for Africa ends its regular season run and Christmas from the Heart opens for the holiday season in Stanleyville Theater.
  • November 16 – Elmo’s Christmas Wish opens for the holiday season in the Sunny Day Theater.
  • November 18 – Christmas Celebration and Christmas on Ice both open for the holiday season.
  • November 23 – Quinn, a male reticulated giraffe, is born to mother Celina.

2018

  • January 8 – The Busch Gardens Discovery Guide app receives a major update and becomes a streamlined version of the current website, removing most of the features it previously had (including wait times and Quick Pay). (Twitter)
  • March 16 – Patty, a female giraffe, is born at the park.
  • March 22 – Spike, a male Asian elephant who resided at the park since September 2013, was relocated to the National Zoo.
  • May 12 – Power is knocked out park-wide just after opening, caused by a squirrel. The power was out for nearly four hours, coming back on just after 2 p.m. The park stayed open an hour later, closing at 10 p.m. (TCF 5/12/2018)
  • May 24 – Promotion released offering veterans and up to three guests free admission to one Busch Gardens or SeaWorld park through July 4, 2018. (Busch Gardens 5/24/2018)
  • May 25 – Salute to Summer flash sale released with single day discount tickets valid through July 1, 2018 for $45, with $10 add on option for a day at Adventure Island. 2018 Fun Card available for $59. Sale ended June 3, 2018. (Busch Gardens 5/25/2018)
  • June 19 – Three new tours are announced – Aldabra Insider, Cheetah Insider, and Gorilla Insider. (Twitter)
  • July 4 – Guest struck by stray bullet believed to originate from celebratory gunfire outside of the park. (ABC Action News 7/5/2018)