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Photo TR: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo & BGT July 5, 2017


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My partner and I decided to make an impromptu visit back to Tampa for the day to go back to the Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens Tampa. We usually go during the cooler months, but had the time to make a day of it since we didn't do anything for the 4th and had a few days off from work.

 

Part 1: Lowry Park Zoo

The main reason to go to the zoo was so I could get my Tasmanian Tiger credit since it was closed the first time we came. There were also some other things we skipped last time as well. Plus we had a pay for a day, come back the rest of the year ticket so may as well take advantage of it. Fortunately the park was no where near as crowded as it was when we came in March when there were lots of school groups and kids on spring break. There were only a few summer camp groups that we noticed this time.

 

We arrived at opening and headed right over to the coaster. It wasn't open yet, so we went over to Safari Africa to ride Expedition Africa, which we missed the first time because it was so busy. This safari tram ride circles around the Safari Africa section and you are able to see some animals that you can't see on the normal pathways. We were the only 2 on the tram too which was nice. I felt kind of bad the driver had to go through his whole spiel just for us, but it was informative.

 

After the ride, we went though the rest of the Safari Africa section. We enjoyed not being almost trampled by school kids while trying to view the animals as it was on our last visit. In this area they have various species of tortoise, Zebra, African Elephants, White Rhinos, Giraffes and more. Not much had changed since the last time. They are still doing work on a couple enclosures, one of which had Cheetahs.

 

 

We heard the coaster running while finishing up that area so went ahead and walked back over to Wallaroo Station so I could get my credit. Yes, it's a kiddie coaster and I have no shame. If I'm allowed to ride it, I'm going to ride it. I wouldn't go so far to seek out a child if required however...though it's been tempting at IOA for Pteranodon Flyers...lol

 

Tasmanian Tiger is a Wisdom Rides Dragon Wagon that was originally at Wild Adventures. There was a summer camp group (about 12 total with chaperone) who were riding it with me. They normally let it cycle twice per ride. Since no one was waiting they all asked to go again. The chaperone looked my direction and asked if I wanted to and was like sure. I wouldn't have if it was just me, but stayed. After those 2 additional cycles there was still no one waiting, but I wanted off. So they asked again and the ride attendant let me off and they went about 4 more times. All I can say is....it was a credit...credit #83. It was pretty rough for a kiddie coaster, especially in downward helix (spiral). I doubt I'll ride it again unless I'm with my nieces or nephews.

Tasmanian Tiger Credit #83

 

After my ride we decided it was time to move on and checked to see if the Koalas were on display this time (they weren't the last time). Fortunately they were. My only complaint with the display is that you're outside and they are inside behind glass. This makes it hard to get a great picture of them with the glare on the glass even with the shade structure. I managed to get a couple. I love Koalas and hope Busch Gardens eventually gets some again in the future for Walkabout Way.

 

By this point it was starting to get quite hot out. We walked though Primate World and then Asian Gardens briefly. This time they had a tiger on display. It wouldn't turn around though so I got it's backside...lol After that we decided to skip the rest since we can come back later in the year. We also skipped Dinos Alive again (which is in the park until Labor Day). It was just getting too hot and we were hungry. We went through the gift shop at the exit and I bought a park ornament to add to my collection.

 

Once again, this was to be a short visit, so we only covered about half the park this time. I may post later on in this thread some pics from my last time that would include pics from other areas since I never did a report of that trip. After we left the zoo, we stopped to have lunch near Busch Gardens before heading in. I had Wendy's and he had Taco Bell...yum.

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Part 2: Busch Gardens Tampa

 

We arrived about 12:30. Besides the heat, we couldn't have picked a better day to head there. I could tell from the parking lot that it wasn't too busy. I'm sure the day before was as we saw the overflow lot in front of Adventure Island had been used and they were finishing cleaning up and removing cones. There was even a car still left there in the grass (which was still there when we left the park).

 

Since we've been here so many times (and one of our home parks), we just decided to go left since we usually go right towards Montu. The last 2 visits to the park were during the Food & Wine Festival (not for the festival, but it was set up for) and since the removal of the Bird Gardens theater. This was the first time we were able to see the area without all the topiaries and temporary food shacks set up. That area has quite a bit of potential with the space that opened up. I could definitely see some nice flats added there to bring life to the area once again. In my absent mindedness at the time I neglected to get any pics of what I just described.

 

I did take some pics here and there in between riding, but no where near as many as I have in the past. Here are some from the Bird Gardens & Walkabout Way:

 

Here's one of those machines that makes a wax figure of an animal. There were several throughout the park. I remember someone asking about them.

 

I was so tempted to ask the Dippin' Dots folks if anything was coming to that empty spot where the theater was...and what's happening with Gwazi, Tanganyika Tidal Wave and with those trees in the back of the park. I decided not to, since I may have come off as a crazed enthusiast or something.

 

Lory Landing seems to have gotten some sprucing up since we were at the park in March. All kinds of new paint & signage. We also noticed some touch-ups going through Jungala as well later on. You could still smell the paint.

 

My first ride at the park this day was SkeiKra. The wait time said 10 minutes which was close with a 2 train wait. Since it was so short, I decided to ride again. Once this ride was through and we got back to the final block brakes, I heard the "Temporary Ride Closure" message being played. There were 2 trains in front of me in the station and one behind us that was approaching the station (total of 4). So we sat there for several minutes in the sun. I had a hand towel (sweat rag) in my cargo shorts I pulled out to put on my head. After a few more minutes I noticed some commotion with one of the passengers on the back row right of the train in front of me and a ride attendant. I then heard the ride operator in the booth make an announcement that all loose articles must be put in a locker or in one of the cubbies on the exit side or risk removal from the ride and possibly the park.

 

So we then knew it was that guy they were talking about. The operator then said over the speaker to please remove the hat he was sitting on and give to the attendant. He didn't want to do that. I assume he had been doing that at other rides and got away with it which is why he was being difficult. He acted as if he's not giving it to anyone and he would take it himself. It was like he didn't want the attendant to touch his hat (he was white, attendant black). I don't see it as a necessity to make him take it since I see ride attendants collect loose articles at the last minute there all the time, so something was up. So they had to release his seat so he could place his hat in the cubby and come back. He took his sweet time too. Talk about an unnecessary turn of events. It all lasted about 15 minutes.

 

On the way to Jungala, I noticed Tanganyika Tidal Wave was still standing with no noticeable work being done as of yet. At least it's on the edge of the park and more hidden than the big eyesore that is Gwazi. It will be nice to see something happen to this area sooner than later.

 

My favorite animals to view are Tigers. The one that was out was sleeping in the shade. I assume the others were put up because of heat or could be that they appear to be doing some refurbishment to the tiger enclosure. I noticed several cones in the section closest to the skyride. It definitely could use some landscape maintenance and new glass. They even had one window blocked off with a new guardrail fence which looked permanent. It was only about waist high so you could see just fine. I say if it helps keep kids hands from getting all over it to increase visibility so be it.

 

My next ride was Kumba, which I really like even though I don't rate it as high as many others. There was no wait in the station. I don't know if it was just a bad day, the heat, dehydration or a combination of those, but it was the worst ride I've ever had on it. I usually sit in the last row right (which was the case) and have great rides. My head just banged all about after the MCBR through the corkscrews (and yes I know how to avoid it, but still happened). It has a much needed scheduled maintenance from August 7-Sept. 1st so hopefully it will be back to normal afterwards.

 

We then headed into Pantopia so I could ride Falcon's Fury. There was about a 15 minute wait when I got in line. This ride just makes other drop towers I've been on tame. I would love to see more of these get built at other parks eventually. Of course then the uniqueness would be gone. The line was at about 30 minutes after I got off so I only rode it the one time.

 

Next we headed through Nairobi and viewed the Elephants, giant Tortoises and Jambo Junction. Then we went through the Myombe Reserve for the Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

 

Next it was time to see about riding Cheetah Hunt. Earlier in the day I saw on one of the signs by SkeiKra that the wait time was 60 minutes, so I wasn't expecting much. However the sign at the ride said 20 so I got in line. It was more like 15 and I rode in the back row of the second train in the station. I prefer it since you get a launch from a stopped position vs. the first train which is already moving when it gets to the launch. Superb ride as always. It's still my 2nd favorite in the park. The line got much longer after my ride, so I didn't ride again.

 

We then headed to Cobra's Curse. It had a 30 minute wait posted so I skipped it in favor of riding Montu (my fav in the park). Still great as always, but my body was starting to wear down from being out in that heat. I know I drank a minimum of 4 bottles of water while there (2 I brought in and refilled at a water fountain), but it may still not have been enough. I did get some pics of Cobra's Curse after Montu. It is quite photogenic and I love how they incorporated the walkways.

 

We then decided to head through Edge Of Africa to see the animals and then take the Skyride across the park.

 

Cheetah Hunt from the Skyride:

 

SheiKra from the Skyride:

 

Gwazi from the Skyride:

 

Montu & Cobra's Curse from the Skyride:

 

Sand Serpent from the Skyride:

This view will be quite different next year if they actually enclose it.

 

Falcon's Fury from the Skyride:

 

Kumba from the Skyride:

 

Stanley Falls from the Skyride:

 

After the Skyride we went and got on the Serengeti Railway at the Stanleyville Station. We planned on just riding it all the way around, but they announced that this train was going out of service after the Nairobi station and that we could catch the next one when it arrives there. So we just rode it to Nairobi. We were able to see some animals from the train like Zebra, Ostrich and a Black Rhino. We decided not to wait for the next train since we were pretty much ready to go (and it was only about 6:30). For pass members they were offering a buy one, get one entree 50% off after 5PM (during July), but decided to just leave and eat somewhere on the way home.

 

Cobra's Curse from the train:

 

Overall we had a nice day. This day trip however reminded us why we usually only go in the late fall-early spring. Besides the heat, the rain actually held off until after we left. We saw storm clouds approaching as we got in the car to leave. Perfect timing.

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Nice report and photos!

 

BGT is my 2nd favorite park after CP, so I always enjoy the PTR's.

 

Lowry Park Zoo was pretty cool when we visited a few years ago...but that damned flume ride was like the one that they used to have at Martin's Fantasy Island where the drop looks tame, but you end up getting soaked!

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Looks pretty tame, right?

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We both got soaked!!!

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^ & ^^ I'm not even sure Gator Falls is operating. It's not listed on their website or park map currently. We didn't go through that section this time, but it wasn't operating when we were there in late March during spring break.

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