Natural Fun at Busch Gardens

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.

For this visit with some exposure to natural fun, my kids experienced a new side of Busch Gardens and some natural fun with the help of author and CEO of Mom Central Consulting, Stacy DeBroff.

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?

Enter below to win two one-day admission tickets to Busch Gardens.

For ticket prices, show times, park hours and more information on Summer Nights, visit Busch Gardens Tampa online.

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Denise

From start to finish, Denise is Run DMT, a Tampa Bay marathon mom on the run trying to maintain an easy pace through it all between races and raising three beautiful, brilliant children (ages 13, 9, 4). In 2007, I discovered a passion for running and in February 2015, I completed my tenth marathon, however, I continue to train for a variety of races and triathlons. In my spare time, I founded Tampa Bay Bloggers, a hyperlocal blogging network.

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8 comments

  1. Jenn @ Jenn Likes It says:

    I love Busch Gardens, but it’s been a few years since we’ve been there. We would definitely want to see lots of animals, like the hippos, lions and gorillas. My next door neighbor growing up works there. She’s worked with several different animals during her many years there, like the Clydesdales, gorillas, birds and all the cuties in the nursery. I’ll have to ask her what section she’s in now. I also have another friend that is an event coordinator there. I think she posted pictures of herself playing with lion cubs not too long ago. That would be very cool. By the way, awesome photos, Denise!

  2. Dana says:

    I would take my 2 year old around to see all the animals. She is learning about them all and loves making the noises associated with them. It is so wonderful to see the world through a toddlers eyes

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