Enjoy free beer all year during our 60th Anniversary Celebration at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

History of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Take a look back at Busch Gardens' rich history

Celebrate 60 years of fun, thrills, and milestones at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Flip the cards below to review what each decade has brought to the park.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay first opens in 1959 as an Anheuseur-Busch brewery and tourist attraction complete with a brewery tour, free beer, and a bird garden.

1959

1959

1959

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay First Opens


Busch Gardens opens as an Anheuser-Busch brewery and tourist attraction complete with a brewery tour, free beer and a bird garden.
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1960s Hospitality House. Photo Courtesy of the Tampa Bay History Center

1960s

1960s Hospitality House

1960s

1960 - One of the park's earliest animal care centers, the Bird Gardens Nursery, opens.
1964 - the Old Swiss House (currently Serengeti Overlook Restaurant) opens, offering a café and a full-service restaurant with high-end dining.
1965 - The Serengeti Plain opens, the first habitat of its kind.
1966 - The monorail opens and takes guests around the park and Serengeti Plain.
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1970s Python

1970s

Python

1970s

1971 – The Trans-Veldt Railway (now Serengeti Express) opens to the public and takes guests on a journey through the Serengeti Plain.
1972 – Stanleyville is developed along with the Tanzania Theater, that was home to various shows, events, and animal presentations.
1976 – Python opens and becomes the first roller coaster at Busch Gardens.
1979 – Timbuktu (now Pantopia) opens and is the largest expansion to date, marking Busch Gardens’ 20th anniversary.
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Congo River Rapids 1991. Photo Courtesy of the Tampa Bay History Center

1980s

1970s Tanganyika Tidal Wave

1980s

1980 – The Scorpion roller coaster opens in Timbuktu.
1982 – Congo River Rapids opens.
1986 – The Morocco Palace Theater opens with the first scheduled show, Kaleidoscope.
1989 – Tanganyika Tidal Wave opens (recently removed for Tigris - Opening Spring 2019).
1989 – The Clydesdale Hamlet opens and was home to the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.
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1990s Montu

1990s

Kumba

1990s

1992 – Myombe Reserve: The Great Ape Domain opens.
1993 – Kumba opens with the world’s largest vertical loop.
1995 – Land of the Dragons opens (now Sesame Street Safari of Fun®).
1995 – The on-site Anheuser-Busch brewery closes.
1996 – Montu opens as the world’s tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster.
1997 – The Edge of Africa opens, bringing guests even closer to exotic wildlife.
1999 The wooden roller coaster Gwazi opens (site of the to-be-announced 2020 attraction).
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2000s Howl-O-Scream

2000s

Treetop Trails at Busch gardens Tampa Bay

2000s

2000 – The first Howl-O-Scream event takes place, beginning nearly 20 years of terrifying guests.
2004 – Cheetah Chase (now Sand Serpent) opens.
2005 – SheiKra opens at the time as the world’s longest, tallest, and fastest dive coaster.
2007 – SheiKra becomes a floorless coaster.
2008 – Jungala opens, home to orangutans and tigers as well as a children's play area.
2009 – Busch Entertainment Corporation becomes SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
2009 – Walkabout Way opens with kangaroos and wallabies.
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2010s

Cobra's Curse

2010s

2011 – Cheetah Hunt, Florida's only triple-launch roller coaster, and Cheetah Run, the cheetah habitat, opens.
2012 – The Animal Care Center opens as a medical facility for the thousands of animals in the park.
2012 – The first annual Christmas Town event debuts.
2014 – Falcon’s Fury opens and becomes North America's tallest free-standing drop tower.
2015 – The first Food and Wine Festival occurs.
2016 – Cobra’s Curse opens as Florida's first family spin coaster.
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Tigris, Florida's Tallest Launch Coaster

2019 and On

Tigris

2019 and On

2019 – Tigris begins zipping guests up it's 150-foot tower.
2020 – A new thrill ride in the Gwazi area of the park opens.
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