About a month ago, my kids and I were invited to visit Busch Gardens Tampa to experience some natural fun. Though we have Busch Gardens passes and visit regularly, our visits typically revolve around roller coasters and rides. Occasionally we’ll visit an animal exhibit, but more like glance at the animals as we quickly by on our way to a ride or splash pad and we never stop to watch show.
Sadly, kids today, have a “Natural Fun Deficiency.”
“According to a just-released survey of nearly 900 moms conducted by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Busch Gardens®, kids spend only two hours during the week participating in natural, unstructured activities such as playing tag, riding bikes, and exploring nature, and these activity levels increase only slightly on the weekends to a little more than two hours.”
Stacy, shared with the other mommy bloggers and I some more staggering statistics which prompted a discussion for ways to push away the screen and engage with our families in more exploration, outdoor activities. As we chatted, our children played and my girls had their face painted.
Following our round table discussion, we followed a tour guide to the Myombie Reserve exhibit where we witnessed animal trainers feeding the magnificent gorillas. As we gathered to gaze upon this rare, up-close experience, we learned some interesting facts and observed the behavior patterns of these remarkable primates and their incredible relationship with their animal trainers.
After Myombie Reserve, our tour guide led us to the Moroccan Palace Theatre to experience Iceploration, best described as Cirque du Soleil on ice meets Lion King, the live stage production. With ice skaters, acrobats and larger-than-life puppets and animals, audiences explore habitats all around the world. The main character, Austin, explores the world with his grandfather to experience a world beyond the technology and computer screens, a great tie in to the natural fun lessons we experienced during our Busch Gardens visit.
As we exited the show, a few of the stars lined up to thank everyone for coming and my children were so excited to pet a real wolf. A few nice touches, then we waved good-bye to the wolf and followed the group to Edge of Africa to learn about lions.
Once again, we witnessed another feeding as the animal trainers shared some lion lessons with us. When being fed, the lions are trained to sit in a certain spot. If they don’t comply, they do not receive their juicy red meat treat. I jokingly replied to my children, “Mommy makes you sit in a certain spot to when eating your meals. We call it the kitchen table.”
Last on our natural fun agenda, our tour guide led us to the hippopotamus exhibit. There, she talked about herbivores and shared teeth and fossils.
Then, the animal trainers demonstrated how hippos love to smile for snacks. The kids laughed at the funny, large (yet deadly) hippo mouth.
Once the natural fun presentation portion of our visit ended, my kids demanded time for rides. The natural fun educational experience was fun but it was clear my children were ready for some serious thrilling unnatural amusement park mechanical fun!
When the day winded down and it was time to leave, a peacock escorted us to the main gate as a friendly reminder to visit again for some more natural fun at Busch Gardens.
How will you experience natural fun with your family at your next visit Busch Gardens?
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