Just as a quick recap we were visiting Busch Gardens in Tampa Florida and had made our way about halfway through the park before we needed to stop for some lunch in a nice shaded area.
That Florida sun can really get to you if you aren’t careful. But after our nice little break and we were ready to explore the rest of the park.
We found ourselves in the Pantopia section of the park which was very colorful and had some interesting looking buildings. This is actually where we had stopped for some lunch at a food court style restaurant with different stations depending on what you were in the mood for. They had Italian, American, Asian and Tex-Med which was a nice wide array of options. But it was extremely busy inside and was hard to find a place to sit once we have our food. After lunch, we explored this area a bit more, and there are quite a few rides for kids including a Carousel.
After we had walked through Pantopia we headed up some ramps to a higher ground level which was the Congo section. There was a Train Station here but it was not open for some reason.
Nearby the Train Station was a set of Restrooms with a penny machine nearby. The most common location for penny machines.
This machine has penny designs of a couple Giraffes, a Zebra, SheiKra and Kumba Roller Coasters.
Nearby this area were some interesting attractions like Ubanga-Banga bumper cars, the Congo River Rapids which from what I saw you get completely soaked on, and Kumba a pretty intense looking roller coaster.
The next area of the park is known as Jungala where they have a great area for kids called the Treetop Trails, then you can visit the Tiger exhibit and an area with Orangutans.
When you are visiting the Orangutans there is a building with large glass windows that will give you an up-close view of them. My personal favorite was the larger platform surrounded by netting where you get a more wide angle of their exhibit.
Under here is also where the two penny press machines are found and are located diagonally from each other under this covered area.
The first machine I came across had Pantopia listed on its marquee so I’m guessing these machines tend to move around periodically. The penny designs for this machine were fun with images of two Gorillas, a Giraffe, the Falcon’s Fury ride, and a couple Elephants.
Just on the other side of this platform is the second penny machine. The designs here are of a Tiger and cub, the Jungle Flyer, an Orangutan, and a Tiger face. After we said goodbye to the Orangutans there was a nice little pathway with not a lot going on but led us to the Stanleyville section.
This area had quite a bit going on as well, with a Skyride station, the Stanley Falls Flume ride (another one you get quite soaked on), and the SkeiKra coaster. Be careful around this part of the coaster pictured above as they have some nice benches and shaded areas but you will notice the ground is pretty slick. This part of the coaster goes through a pond of water and sprays it up into the air behind it as it zooms by. Of course, your kids will love it, and I did find it a bit humorous to see the adults quickly running for cover when they realized what was about to happen.
Not too far away from the entrance to SheiKra is a gift shop called the Kariba Marketplace. Part of this store is inside, and part is outside under a covered canopy and that is where you will find another penny machine.
This machine seems to be in its proper location as the cabinet is designed for the SheiKra coaster. The images available at this machine include a family of Tigers, an Iguana, Ring-tailed Lemur and the SheiKra Coaster.
By this time of day, we were definitely starting to drag a little bit. The hot Florida sun had taken its toll and we were ready to find the exit, but there was one last area to visit before we were back at the entrance/exit. I’m sure you can guess by the picture above that it’s all about Sesame Street and is called the Safari of Fun. This is really a great place for young children. The buildings and rides are all themed around Sesame Street, there are meet and greet areas to visit with your favorite pals like Elmo, Cookie Monster or Grover.
As you enter and leave this area you will see a gift shop completely filled with Sesame Street merchandise. The store is called Abby Cadabby’s Treasure Hunt and was so much fun to explore with my 3-year-old daughter. Of course, the plush toys are what she headed for with their bright colors and cute designs, but they also had t-shirts, coffee mugs and so much more.
This store is also the location for the last available penny machine and had designs of some popular Sesame Street characters like Zoe, Cookie Monster, Abby and Elmo.
We waved goodbye to Elmo and my daughter decided it was time to crash. She fell asleep shortly after in the stroller as I headed down the last section of the pathway heading towards the entrance. I passed by a very beautiful area filled with bright Pink Flamingos but didn’t have the heart to wake up my daughter to see them. We had such a great time that I know we will be back as soon as we can.
I get the impression it’s similar to SeaWorld (same company) in that the penny designs probably don’t get changed out too often. But they do have some new coasters and attractions opening up soon, so hopefully, some new pennies may appear. This was a really great park and far exceeded my expectations.