Time for bit of house keeping. Busch Gardens Tampa has slowly become one of my favorite parks in Florida. I’ll always have a special place for the Disney parks but there is just something about Busch Gardens that I really enjoy. Whether it’s the animals, the rides, the food festivals or maybe even their Howl-o-Scream events each fall, they just do it all really well. I reviewed all their pressed penny machines in a previous post which you can read all about here.
However, on a trip last fall I noticed that a couple of the pressed penny machines had disappeared. This piqued my interest hoping for some new designs, so I revisited the park again a few weeks later and instead of new designs I found that just like the Disney parks the machines had the price increased. It did take quite a few trips throughout the year before I was able to document all of the machine changes and that is what we are going to go over today.
See I told you this all started back in 2020. Unfortunately as we all know theme parks and most other outdoor activities were closed for part of that year due to the COVID pandemic, but they did eventually reopen with some new safety precautions.
After you park, use the tram (or walk) then go through a temperature check tent you come to the main entrance of the park. This is also where you can purchase tickets if you didn’t do so previously online. On the side of one of the ticket booths are the first two machines. Previously there were actually four machines here, two on each side of the main pathway down the middle, but now there are just these two.
Here is a close up of the new cabinets. They did appear to get a fresh coat of pain and the colors of the signage looks nice and fresh. However the designs are the same as before the upgrade. The only real changes made are to the cost which is $1 per penny. You can pay with cash, credit card or Digital payment like ApplePay. Just note that when paying by Credit or ApplePay you automatically get all four designs. You cannot pay for just one, two or three designs. For that you must pay with cash. Also as we have review in the past with similar changes the machine now supplies the penny to be pressed so you cannot use your own penny any longer.
Next you head through a security check with metal detectors and bag checks before having your park ticket scanned. Then you are officially inside the park and are greeted with some gift shops and a couple small food kiosks. Near one of the gift shops there is a bit of a breezeway between two buildings. Down this little pathway are the next two penny machines.
Just as with the other machines we just visited, the cabinets have been freshened up a bit but the designs are unchanged. I didn’t check my records but I believe these machines were found in a different location before the changes. That seemed to be something I found on these trips was that the machines had been moved around a bit. On a side note, if you need help finding the machines you can check out our Maps pages for this park and other Central Florida theme parks here. We update them weekly and in my humble opinion will be the most reliable resource for your penny pressing trips!
I did mention a little earlier that the park had rolled out some new safety procedures to help encourage things like facial coverings and social distancing. I thought the above sign was a cute way to make sure you are one “alligator” distanced from other guests.
These are a bit larger than 6 feet long so if you want to be extra cautious feel free to use these as your reference. How are they not just eating those turtles?
Just like other parks, I find that for some unknown reason I always walk the same direction each time I go. At Busch Gardens I head towards the right side of the park and find myself near Cheetah Hunt. They have had a penny press in the past, that used to be right inside the gift shop.
But for now, it’s been moved outside in the courtyard area in front of the Serengeti Overlook restaurant just across from Cheetah Hunt. Then we headed towards Cobra’s Curse, Montu and the Safari plains. There are some nice little paths in between animal exhibits for meerkats, African dogs and even some Tigers. Eventually you cross some railroad tracks into the Nairobi area of the park.
Near the Nairobi train station you will find a pressed penny machine and a mold-o-rama machine. In past trips my daughters have collected all of the molds throughout the park and I may need to post about those in the future as I do get a lot of comments about them.
But on this trip we were focusing on the pressed pennies. As you could see from the previous picture this machine is right near a crossing for the safari train. When those barriers go down and the train passes by this area can get pretty crowded as guests taking pictures of the train or are just waiting for it to pass so they can cross the tracks. I have found when this happens the machine can be swarmed by guests making it a little hard to use, but fret not the train isn’t that long and will pass pretty quickly.
We kept walking through the park enjoying our day and found ourselves in the Pantopia section of the park. There are quite a few places to eat and drink here, along with some attractions for some of the smaller ones in your party.
When you pass through the other side there is a ramp that takes you to the next area of the park which is on a bit higher ground. Up at the top of this ramp is the next pressed penny machine. My daughters really enjoyed the color of this one!
Not too far away from the top of that ramp is the U-Banga Banga bumper cars. The penny machine located here used to be a little further down the path near the restrooms.
Thankfully they have been moved out of that area which was always crowded. I really liked the orange color of the signage, just something a little different.
Eventually we came to the Orangutan area which is a guest favorite. If you time it right you can see them being fed which is fun to watch. There is a covered bridge / walkway near the viewing building that used to have two penny machines, but now only has one.
The designs from this machine are the same as they were before the cabinet upgrade.
Lastly we ended up in the Stanleyville section of the park. Just across from the water flume ride is where I found the last penny machine. This machine did offer four new designs all themed around the nearby Tigris roller coaster.
Tigris has been open for a couple years now, but I was very happy to see some new designs celebrating this attraction. Sometime in 2021 they will be opening their next coaster called Iron Gwazi and I’m crossing my fingers for some new penny designs when that opens. But if it’s like Tigris we may not see those for a while after the attraction opens.
Those were all the pressed penny machines. For those of you that read my previous posts may have noticed that the park used to have a total of 12 machines, and now only have 10. I have gone back a few more times but haven’t seen the other machines so I’m thinking they just downsized a bit. Each machine is numbers, and the highest number I found was 10 so I don’t believe I missed any. Maybe this is just temporary and when the new attraction opens we will see additional machine(s) released. As I mentioned at the beginning this has become one of my favorite parks and I’ll definitely be back to keep an eye out for anything new.
Thank for visiting this week, stay safe and Keep on Pressing!