Thrills Await: 9 Best Amusement Parks in Tampa for 2024!

amusement parks in tampa

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Get Ready for Fun in Tampa!

Your Ultimate Guide to Amusement Park Adventures

Prepare yourself for a whirlwind of excitement! Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, animal lover, or watery adventure aficionado, Amusement Parks in Tampa are like a treasure chest full of entertainment.

From the roar of roller coasters to the laughter of children, discover your slice of joy in this sunny Floridian escape.

Top 9 Thrilling Amusement Parks in Tampa

1. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Wild Rides and Exotic Animals

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Step into the heart of African-themed adventures at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, where wild rides meet exotic animals. This action-packed park will thrill adrenaline junkies with its renowned coasters, like the gravity-defying Iron Gwazi.

Meanwhile, animal enthusiasts can marvel at the impressive zoological collection, getting up close with creatures from around the globe.

Top 5 Features:

  • Iron Gwazi, America’s tallest hybrid roller coaster.
  • Cheetah Hunt, the park’s longest thrill ride mirroring the speed of its namesake.
  • The Serengeti Plain offers safari tours amongst free-roaming animals.
  • Jungala, where you can encounter majestic tigers in a naturalistic habitat.
  • The Animal Care Center provides an inside look at wildlife care.


  • Offers a unique blend of thrilling rides and animal encounters.
  • Educational opportunities for a deeper understanding of wildlife.
  • A variety of live entertainment and shows for all ages.
  • Well-suited for family visits with something for everyone to enjoy.
  • Seasonal events like Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town add extra excitement.


  • Can be crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
  • Ticket prices and in-park expenses can add up.

Best for:

  • Families and thrill-seekers looking for a combined experience of excitement and education.

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2. Adventure Island: Splash into Excitement

Adventure Island

Make a splash at Adventure Island, where cool waves and sun-soaked fun go hand-in-hand. Just across from its sister park Busch Gardens, this waterpark is a tropical paradise with thrilling slides, a lazy river, and kid-friendly play areas.

From the adrenaline rush of Colossal Curl to relaxing at a cabana, Adventure Island caters to every kind of water enthusiast.

Top 5 Features:

  • Colossal Curl is Tampa’s only combination wave and whirlpool ride.
  • Endless Surf, the park’s 17,000-square-foot wave pool.
  • Fabian’s Fun Port is a special area designed for the amusement of younger visitors.
  • Rambling Bayou, a lazy river ride through rainforest scenery.
  • Private cabanas offer a personal space for relaxation and luxury.


  • A breadth of attractions suited for all age groups.
  • Provides a refreshing respite from Florida’s heat.
  • Abundant dining options ensure that guests stay fueled.
  • Lifeguards on duty prioritize safety within the water.
  • Season pass options offer great value with unlimited visits.


  • Peak season can mean long lines for popular rides.
  • Sunbeds and shade areas are highly sought after, getting occupied quickly.

Best for:

  • Families and friends seeking a day of wet and wild fun, as well as those looking to cool off in the Floridian sun.

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More than Just Roller Coasters

3. Safari Adventures at Busch Gardens

Experience the thrill of the wild in the heart of Tampa with Safari Adventures at Busch Gardens. Embark on an unforgettable journey through the expansive Serengeti Plain, home to hundreds of fascinating animals.

Feel the excitement as you traverse this rustic environment in an open-air vehicle, witnessing majestic giraffes, zebras, and ostriches roaming freely in their habitat.

Top 5 Features:

  • Up-close animal encounters allow you to feed and photograph wildlife.
  • Expert guides sharing insights on animal behaviors and conservation efforts.
  • The Serengeti Night Safari is an enchanting after-dark experience.
  • The Heart of Africa tour is a trek that immerses you in the wonders of African wildlife.
  • Kid-friendly Rhino Rally, where families can explore and learn together.


  • Offers an enriching, hands-on educational experience.
  • Connects you with nature and promotes wildlife conservation awareness.
  • Each safari provides a unique, unscripted adventure.
  • Picture-perfect moments to capture with loved ones.
  • Contributing to conservation efforts with each tour booked.


  • Additional charges for safari experiences on top of park admission.
  • Weather can affect tour schedules, sometimes leading to cancellations.

Best for:

  • Animal lovers and adventurers are eager to engage with exotic wildlife in an authentic setting.

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4. Water Wonders at Adventure Island

At Adventure Island, immerse yourself in water wonders that promise refreshment and exhilaration for everyone. From the rush of high-energy slides to the gentle flow of the lazy river, each water feature is designed to make a splash and create lasting memories.

Whether braving the twists of the Riptide or floating the day away, there’s an aquatic adventure waiting.

Top 5 Features:

  • Aruba Tuba is a family-friendly slide that’s both exciting and accessible.
  • Splash Attack, where guests can enjoy interactive water elements.
  • Key West Rapids, is a thrilling slide that simulates a wild rafting journey.
  • Paradise Lagoon is a pool area equipped with cliffs and waterfalls for exploration.
  • Solar Vortex, America’s first dual-tailspin water slide, is a vibrant visual experience.


  • Options for both high-thrill seekers and those seeking relaxation.
  • Water attractions cater to all ages, including children’s play areas.
  • Life vests are available for non-swimmers ensuring a safe experience.
  • Park amenities include lockers, retail shops, and plenty of food options.
  • Offers Night Slides on select dates for a unique evening experience.


  • Some attractions may have height restrictions impacting family inclusivity.
  • During peak summer months, wait times can be long for popular attractions.

Best for:

  • Water-loving guests looking for a diverse range of aquatic fun under the Tampa sun.

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For the Little Ones

5. Whimsical Delights at Fairyland

Fairyland Amusement Park

Transport yourself back in time with a magical stroll through the enchanting remnants of Tampa’s original Fairyland Amusement Park. Though the park itself no longer operates, echoes of its charm live on through whimsical statues and storybook settings that once captured the imaginations of visitors.

Top 5 Features:

  • Iconic storybook character statues that offer a glimpse into the past.
  • Historical significance as one of Tampa’s first amusement parks.
  • Nostalgic atmosphere, perfect for family photos and reminiscing.
  • Centrally located in Tampa, it is easily accessible for a quick visit.
  • Opportunities to learn about the history of the amusement park in the city.


  • Free attraction that adds a touch of nostalgia to your Tampa visit.
  • Provides a quiet, reflective space away from the bustle of modern theme parks.
  • Can inspire interest in local history and culture.
  • Ideal for a relaxing walk with both kids and adults.
  • Near other attractions, making it a convenient stop during a busy day of sightseeing.


  • Limited activities as it’s more of a historic site than a functioning park.
  • May not be as engaging for younger kids who prefer interactive attractions.

Best for:

  • Those who appreciate history, whimsy, and a quieter pace, or anyone seeking a nostalgic journey through Tampa’s yesteryears.

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6. Playful Discoveries at Glazer Children's Museum

Glazer Children's Museum

Foster curiosity and imagination at the Glazer Children’s Museum, where playful discoveries await around every corner.

Tailored for young minds, this interactive museum in the heart of Tampa offers a multitude of hands-on exhibits, designed to encourage learning through play in an environment where they feel empowered and excited to explore.

Top 5 Features:

  • Over 170 interactive exhibits across multiple themed areas.
  • Kid-sized versions of a bank, grocery store, and firehouse, educating through role-play.
  • Water’s Journey exhibit teaches about the water cycle while kids climb through a cloud.
  • Design Build area, where little architects can construct and create.
  • Traveling exhibitions that keep the experience fresh and engaging with every visit.


  • Encourages educational development and creativity in children.
  • Activities are available for various age groups, including toddlers.
  • Safe and secure environment specifically designed for children.
  • Centrally located in downtown Tampa, close to other attractions.
  • Memberships and daily tickets offer flexible visiting options for families.


  • Primarily designed for young children, may not entertain older kids or teens.
  • Can become crowded during weekends and school holidays, leading to longer wait times for popular exhibits.

Best for:

  • Young families and anyone caring for children who want an educational and enjoyable day out, where kids can learn through immersive, creative play.

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7. Educational Programs and Encounters at ZooTampa

At ZooTampa, learning comes alive with educational programs and encounters that go beyond the traditional zoo experience. Engage directly with wildlife, participate in conservation efforts, and absorb knowledge from passionate educators.

It’s where education intersects with excitement, offering lessons on biodiversity and the natural world in a way that resonates with visitors of all ages.

Top 5 Features:

  • Animal mingles are where visitors can interact up close with select creatures.
  • Zoo School offers educational programs catered to various grade levels.
  • “Zoo Ventures,” interactive experiences that include behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Seasonal camps and workshops that provide in-depth knowledge of specific animals or habitats.
  • Signature encounters, like giraffe feeding, add a personal touch to the visit.


  • Fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for wildlife.
  • Provides a variety of educational programs to suit different interests and age groups.
  • Hands-on experiences enhance learning and create memorable moments.
  • Helps support conservation efforts and promotes environmental stewardship.
  • Makes education entertaining through diverse and interactive activities.


  • Some encounters and programs require additional fees beyond general admission.
  • Popular activities may need reservations due to limited availability.

Best for:

  • Those passionate about wildlife conservation, students seeking a field trip destination, or families looking for a day out that’s both enlightening and entertaining.

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8. Exploring Tampa Bay's CityPASS Attractions

Unlock a world of discovery with Tampa Bay’s CityPASS. This pocket-sized ticket booklet grants access to multiple top-tier attractions at a fraction of the price, ensuring your Tampa exploration is not only immersive but also cost-effective.

You can enjoy famous sites ranging from thrilling theme parks to educational museums, making it an indispensable companion for any Tampa Bay adventurer.

Top 5 Features:

  • Save up to 54% on admission to Tampa’s premier attractions, including Busch Gardens.
  • Tickets for The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa, and more are part of the package.
  • Flexible ticket options, with validity for 9 consecutive days from the first day of use.
  • Skip most ticket lines, saving time during your visit to popular spots.
  • Mobile ticketing options are available for convenience and ease of planning.


  • Great savings on aggregate admission prices.
  • Flexibility to visit attractions at your own pace without rush.
  • Avoiding the hassle of purchasing individual tickets for each location.
  • Encourages exploring a wider range of venues, enhancing your Tampa experience.
  • Simplifies planning, enabling a focus on the enjoyment of the visit itself.


  • The pass does not cover transportation between attractions.
  • Once activated, the pass has a limited window of validity which may pressure time-limited visitors.

Best for:

  • Travelers looking to get the most out of their Tampa Bay visit while keeping an eye on their budget, and families eager to experience multiple attractions without overspending.

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9. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay rises above the typical amusement park experience, merging the thrill of electrifying coasters with the majesty of a world-class zoo.

Explore this African-inspired park where the scream of rollercoasters intertwines with the roar of lions, offering an unparalleled adventure for visitors in search of exhilaration and up-close animal encounters.

Top 5 Features:

  • Home to some of the best roller coasters in the country, including the record-breaking Iron Gwazi.
  • Expansive habitats like the Serengeti Plain, where animals roam in a re-creation of their natural environment.
  • Live shows, including entertaining performances and educational talks.
  • A variety of seasonal events provide year-round reasons to visit.
  • The Animal Care Center showcases Busch Gardens’ commitment to wildlife welfare.


  • Merged experiences of an amusement park and a zoo for diverse interests.
  • Opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation through interactive exhibits.
  • Thrilling rides for adrenaline-seekers, with options for all courage levels.
  • Family-friendly with facilities and amenities catering to visitors with young children.
  • Regularly updated attractions and events, keeping the experience fresh.


  • Higher ticket prices reflect the broad range of attractions offered.
  • Can become quite crowded, particularly during holidays and special events.

Best for:

  • Those looking for an all-encompassing entertainment destination that satisfies thrill-seekers, animal lovers, and guests of all ages.

Unparalleled Experience Beyond the Thrills

Diverse Dining Options across Tampa's Parks

Dining Options across Tampa's Parks

When you need a break from the excitement of rides and exhibits, Tampa’s parks offer a smorgasbord of dining options. Delight your taste buds with an array of diverse culinary offerings that span from quick bites to sit-down meals, ensuring that you refuel in the tastiest way possible.

Whether craving classic amusement park snacks or a gourmet feast, there’s a flavor for every fancy.

Top 5 Features:

  • Wide-ranging menus, from traditional American fare to international cuisine.
  • Specialty dining experiences within the parks, like the Serengeti Overlook at Busch Gardens.
  • Dietary accommodations include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and Kosher options.
  • Character dining experiences that add an extra dash of magic to family meals.
  • All-day dining deals for the ultimate convenience and savings on park food.


  • Enhances the overall park experience with quality food and themed dining settings.
  • Offers the convenience of staying energized without leaving the park.
  • Meets diverse dietary needs and preferences, ensuring everyone has something delicious to enjoy.
  • Dining packages can help manage costs and budget for meals during your visit.
  • Some parks offer unique dining events tied to seasonal festivities, broadening the culinary adventure.


  • Park food can be more expensive compared to options outside the parks.
  • During peak times, restaurants and eateries can become crowded, leading to wait times.

Best for:

  • Visitors who want to seamlessly blend dining with their day’s activities, families who appreciate variety, and those who seek meal options that cater to specific dietary requirements.

Seasonal Events and Festivals to Look Forward To

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Tampa’s amusement parks are not just about the rides; they transform with the seasons, hosting an array of special events and festivals that promise fresh excitement. Every year, these parks bring new reasons to visit, celebrating everything from culinary arts to holiday spectacles.

Plan your trip around these vibrant seasonal offerings for an experience that complements the thrills with culture, music, and festivity.

Top 5 Features:

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Food and Wine Festival is a culinary adventure with gourmet dishes and fine wines.
  • Summer Nights Concert Series, where lively music accompanies warm summer evenings.
  • Howl-O-Scream and Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends offer Halloween fun for all ages.
  • Christmas Town, dazzling with holiday lights and festive cheer.
  • The park’s Independence Day festivities are complete with awe-inspiring fireworks.


  • Each event offers unique entertainment options, setting it apart from regular park days.
  • Seasonal events often include limited-time food, merchandise, and interactive experiences.
  • Special performances and shows elevate the park’s ambiance.
  • Provide visitors with a taste of local culture and seasonal traditions.
  • Ideal for making celebrations like birthdays and holidays extra memorable.


  • Special events may require separate admission or additional fees on top of the regular park entrance.
  • Peak event days can result in bigger crowds and longer wait times for attractions.

Best for:

  • Those who enjoy aligning their amusement park visits with festive occasions and guests who want to enhance their experience with seasonal specials and events.

Planning Your Visit

Ticket Options and Pass Savings

Ticket Options and Pass Savings

When you’re eyeing a day (or more) at Tampa’s thrilling amusement parks, navigating ticket options and pass savings is key to a wallet-friendly adventure. With various ticket types, from single-day entries to multi-park passes, flexibility, and savings are at your fingertips.

Go for a power-packed experience or choose a tailored admission that fits your needs, allowing you to make the most of every rollercoaster, splash, and animal encounter.

Top 5 Features:

  • Single-day tickets are available for those looking to dedicate a day to full-on park enjoyment.
  • Multi-Attraction Power Packs, bundling activities, arcades, and dining for an all-inclusive experience.
  • Annual passes for year-long access, ideal for locals or frequent visitors.
  • CityPASS options offer substantial discounts on Tampa’s top attractions.
  • Online exclusive deals that may include parking, tours, dining, and speedy access.


  • Tailor your tickets to your travel style and budget.
  • Benefit from significant savings with bundled attractions versus individual purchases.
  • Flexibility to visit parks at your leisure with multi-day options.
  • Avoid long lines with dedicated entrances for pass holders in some parks.
  • Online purchase incentives can enhance your park visit with added perks.


  • Some passes may have restrictions on dates or events.
  • A plethora of choices can be overwhelming when deciding which is the best value for you.

Best for:

  • Thrill-seekers and families planning to hit multiple spots over a short period, as well as locals looking to enjoy their home city’s attractions at leisure, all while ensuring the most for their money.

Accommodations and Staying Near the Action

After a day packed with excitement, having a comfortable place to rest near the heart of the action can make your experience even more enjoyable.

Tampa offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to family-friendly hotels, ensuring that whether you’re here for a quick trip or a lengthy stay, you’re always just a stone’s throw away from the next adventure.

Top 5 Features:

  • On-site hotel packages at places like The Don CeSar, with exclusive perks like early park entry.
  • Family-friendly suites at Holiday Inn Express & Suites offer convenience and comfort.
  • Stylish stays at Embassy Suites Tampa, where evening receptions make your visit extra special.
  • Budget-friendly options like Hyatt Place, without skimping on quality.
  • Hotels provide free shuttles to nearby attractions, adding to savings and convenience.


  • A range of options to suit every budget and preference.
  • Staying close to the action maximizes your time at the parks.
  • Some accommodations offer exclusive deals such as park admission or dining discounts.
  • Amenities like swimming pools and fitness centers provide relaxation and recreation beyond the parks.
  • On-site dining makes meal planning easy and accessible.


  • Premium hotels closer to the action may come with a higher price tag.
  • During peak seasons, popular hotels can book up quickly, necessitating early reservations.

Best for:

  • Visitors who prioritize convenience, comfort, and extra perks with their accommodation choices ensure they’re refreshed and ready for each day’s adventures.

Embrace Adventure Beyond Amusement Parks

Unique Local Activities to Enhance Your Stay

Unique Local Activities

Tampa isn’t just about thrilling roller coasters and wildlife encounters – it’s also brimming with unique local activities that can elevate your stay from great to extraordinary.

After indulging in the adrenaline-fueled parks, immerse yourself in Tampa’s rich heritage, cultural institutions, and outdoor pursuits, giving you a well-rounded and unforgettable vacation experience.

Top 5 Features:

  • Delight in Elev8 Fun – a gaming and entertainment hub perfect for all ages.
  • Experience the eclectic mix of activities varying from African American Heritage to Eco-Friendly explorations.
  • Enjoy seasonal fireworks and beach festivities for quintessential Florida fun.
  • Revel in a range of live entertainment options, including world-class shows.
  • Dive into adventure with local summer camps, offering everything from sports to the arts.


  • Complementary experiences to theme park excitement.
  • Opportunities to delve into Tampa’s rich cultural and historical tapestry.
  • Family-friendly options that keep the joy and learning going.
  • Nightly entertainment ensures every moment of your stay is packed with fun.
  • Outdoor and eco-conscious activities for a refreshing change of pace.


  • Time constraints might limit your ability to enjoy the full range of activities.
  • Additional costs for these experiences require budget considerations.

Best for:

  • Those who want to soak up the full Tampa flavor: families, couples, and groups of friends who are keen to complement their theme park thrills with cultural enrichment and local gems.


The best times to visit Tampa’s amusement parks are during the off-peak seasons, typically from May to June and from September to October. You’ll experience milder weather and shorter lines. Avoiding holidays and school vacation periods can also help ensure a more relaxed visit.

Yes, discounted multiple park visit options are often available, like combo passes or the Tampa Bay CityPASS, which bundles several attractions at a reduced rate. Check the parks’ official websites for current deals and partner offers.

Yes, Tampa is home to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a highly acclaimed theme park known for its combination of thrilling roller coasters, live entertainment, and extensive zoological exhibits.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, FL, typically has all its major attractions open, including roller coasters like Iron Gwazi, animal exhibits, and shows. For real-time updates, check their official website or app for the current status and any seasonal closures.

Yes, Busch Gardens Tampa has an adjacent water park called Adventure Island. It features water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and play areas for children.

Tampa boasts a variety of parks, including major amusement parks like Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, as well as numerous city parks and nature preserves. The count varies depending on the type of park.

The three major theme parks in Tampa are Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, known for its thrilling rides and animal exhibits; Adventure Island, a water park with slides and pools; and ZooTampa at Lowry Park, offering interactive wildlife experiences.

The biggest park in Florida in terms of land area is Everglades National Park, covering approximately 1.5 million acres. It is known for its unique ecosystem and abundant wildlife, rather than as an amusement park.

Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing is best for Busch Gardens Tampa. Include breathable fabrics, comfortable shoes for walking, and a hat or sunglasses for sun protection. Check the weather forecast before visiting and dress accordingly.

The best days to visit Busch Gardens Tampa are typically on weekdays, especially Tuesday through Thursday, as you may encounter fewer crowds and shorter wait times for rides than on weekends or holidays.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers a wide range of rides, from kid-friendly attractions to high-thrill coasters. Adventure Island provides water rides and slides, while smaller parks like the Glazer Children’s Museum have play-based exhibits and rides suitable for younger children.

While Tampa’s amusement parks, like Busch Gardens, have thrills for all ages, they don’t cater exclusively to adults. Adults may prefer high-thrill rides, concerts, and events like Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens for more mature entertainment.

The best amusement parks in Tampa include Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for thrill rides and wildlife, Adventure Island for water-based fun, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park for engaging animal encounters and educational experiences.

To find amusement parks near your location in Tampa, use online maps or GPS services on your smartphone. You can also visit the official Tampa tourism websites for information on park locations and proximity to where you are staying.

Yes, there are amusement parks in the Tampa Bay area, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park, all offering a mix of rides, water attractions, and wildlife encounters.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers attractions like the Iron Gwazi roller coaster, animal exhibits, live shows, kid-friendly rides, and seasonal events like Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town. It’s a full-service theme park with diverse appeal.

Adventure Island Tampa is known for its water attractions, including thrilling slides like Vanish Point and Colossal Curl, a wave pool, a lazy river, and areas for children like Fabian’s Fun Port, amidst a tranquil tropical atmosphere.

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Conclusion: Amusement Parks in Tampa

In conclusion, Tampa’s amusement parks deliver an incredible mix of fun, thrill, and education, making it a top-notch destination for all kinds of visitors. From the wild rides at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to the refreshing water escapades at Adventure Island and the enriching wildlife experiences at ZooTampa, there’s something to delight everyone.

Throw in the convenience of CityPASS for great value, diverse dining options across the parks, as well as unique local activities, and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable vacation. So pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and get ready to create some magical memories at the best amusement parks in Tampa!

Share your thoughts and experiences about the amazing Amusement Parks in Tampa! We’d love to hear about your adventures and favorite rides.

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