Happy Holidays! It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. If you don’t have any dinner plans, then I have a few fun ways to enjoy your holiday at the park.
Among the coasters and animals is one of the best fall festival dining experiences right here in Florida.
So if you’re looking for a fun thing to do on Thanksgiving Day November 23, 2023, then keep reading!
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Visiting the Busch Gardens Tampa for Thanksgiving Day at a Glance:
- Thanksgiving Day takes place on Thursday, November 23, 2023
- Enjoy Busch Gardens Christmas Town on Your Visit
- Be sure to check out NEW 40-foot pixelated tree in Cheetah Hunt Plaza
- Explore all of the magical Christmas decorations that are sure to lift your spirits this season.
- Get a photo with Santa Claus
- Step into the majestic light tunnel near the Bird Gardens area
- Capture the most incredible photo with a group of your beloved Universal Orlando Hipster Friends all decked out in their festive holiday attire!
- Upgrade your day with Busch Gardens Christmas VIP Tour
- Eat your way through the holiday treats (my favorite thing to do)!
Keep reading to get a full guide on how to conquer Thanksgiving Day at Busch Gardens like a pro!
Thanksgiving Day Taste Of The Holidays Buffet
Before the pandemic, Busch Gardens usually offered a hearty feast for you and your family to compliment your Thanksgiving Day adventure at the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant.
This feast would include a special prix fixe feast with delicious sliced turkey and fixings, plus soups, salads and dessert options.
As a result of the pandemic, instead of enjoying a Thanksgiving Day buffet dinner at Busch Gardens Tampa, you can enjoy the holiday treats in Christmas Town Village.
So, be sure to look out for zebras, giraffes, roller coasters and more while enjoying your holiday feast.
Cost of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday Treats at Busch Gardens
Starting at $45 and redeemable at the numerous holiday cabins located throughout the entire park, samplers offer the best value for guests and will be available in quantities of 5 and 10.
There’s an exclusive 12-item Sampler for the same price as a 10-item is available for all Pass Members.
Pass Members can save on this dining adventure. You can read more about Busch Gardens Pass Member perks here!
Holiday Menu at Busch Gardens Tampa 2023
You can create your own holiday food touring experience for each person in your party with the new items below.
Busch Gardens Tampa Holiday Food Menu
I am currently waiting for the final holiday menu from Busch Gardens.
However, I do have a few of the newest items being added to this year’s holiday festival below.
- Chicken coq-au-vin served with red bliss mashed potatoes
- Holiday Poutine, served with gravy, cheese curds and cranberry relish
- Smoked turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, gravy and Texas toast
- Seared scallop, ruby red couscous and goat cheese crumbles
- Mistletoe Margarita – Tequila, Monin pomegranate and a splash of lime
- South for the Winter – Jack Daniels, Jack Daniels Honey, Monin cranberry, ginger and lime
- Jack Frost – Coconut rum, blue curacao, mint and a splash of lime
- Ginger Snap Mule – Spiced rum, Amaretto, ginger and a splash of lime
- Candy Cane Lane – Vodka, Monin Peppermint, grenadine and a splash of lime
My Top Picks for the Best Food for Thanksgiving Day at Busch Gardens
Please note that the number indicates which booth the food is at on the map below:
- Cookies & Cocoa: Fresh Baked Deep Dish Cookie (Double Chocolate Chip, Holiday Sugar, Cinnamon Swirl)
- Christmas Cocktails: South For The Winter (Jack Daniels, Jack Honey , Monin Cranberry , Ginger and Lime)
- Coca-Cola® Pretzel Cabin: White Chocolate
- Char Siu Christmas: Red Curry Shrimp and Jasmine Rice
- Cookies, Cocoa & Cocktails: Specialty Hot Cocoa (Served in a Souvenir Cup with your choice of Peppermint or Gingerbread and Whipped Cream)
- Holiday Hearth: Braised Beef, Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese AND Smoked Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Texas Toast , Gravy
- Polar Pavilion: Candy Cane Lane (Vodka, Grenadine, Monin Peppermint, Lime)
- Xcursions: Eggnog Cupcake AND Apple Crumble Cupcake
- Christmas Celebration: Pork Shank Braised with Spiced Pineapple & Brown Sugar, Green Beans
- Cookie Time: Decorate Your Own Cookie (Choose Snickerdoodle, Sugar, or Chocolate Chip)
- Holiday Joy Tasting: Brussel Sprouts, Crispy Bacon, Apple Cider Vinaigrette AND Chicken Coq au Vin with Red Bliss Mashed Potato
- Dasher’s Delight: Seared Scallop, Ruby Red Couscous, Goat Cheese Crumbles
- Cocoa & Cream: Snickerdoodle Apple Pie ala mode
- Springs Taproom: Abita Brewing | Christmas Ale (Covington, LA | 5.8% ABV | 40 IBU)
- Holiday Wines & Sweets: Gingerbread Pudding (Rum Sugar Glaze)
- Sesame Treats: Christmas Churro
- Smokehouse Mobile: Carved Beef Brisket, Texas Toast, Beef Gravy, Onion Crisps
- Cookies, Cocoa & Cocktails: Mistletoe (Tequila , Monin Pomegranate Syrup, Lime Juice)
- Cocoa & Coca-Cola® Mug: S’More Please (Shmallow Whiskey, Hot cocoa, topped with a toasted marshmallow) AND Mexican Hot Cocoa (Ghost Tequila, Baileys Chocolate, Hot cocoa, whip cream, topped with chili flakes)
- Cookies, Cocoa & Cocktails: Candy Cane Lane (Vodka, Grenadine, Monin Peppermint, Lime)
- Dragon Dog: Turkey Dog, Stuffing, Cranberry Relish
- Twisted Tails: Spinach Feta Stuffed Pretzel
- Dragon Fire Grill Pub: Ginger Snap Mule (Spiced Rum, Amaretto, Ginger Beer, Lime)
- Kenya Canteen: Peppermint Brownie Sundae
- Giraffe Bar: Funky Buddha | Last Snow Coffee Porter (Oakland Park, FL | 6.4% ABV | 25 IBU)
- Coaster Coffee: Mini Funnel Cake
What to Know Before You Go to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Now that you know what to expect for Thanksgiving Day at Busch Gardens, let’s go over a few things to make your trip the best!
What should I pack for Busch Gardens?
- Comfy Shoes
- Small Bag
- Breathable Clothing
- Sun Protection
- Small Umbrella
- Hand Sanitizer
- Park Ticket
If you are wearing loose-fitting shoes, you should leave them at the loading platform. Any other loose articles can be placed inside any locker located throughout the park.
How to Get to Busch Gardens Tampa from Disney World
- Travel WEST on I-4 to I-75 (About 58 Miles)
- Merge onto I-75 NORTH via EXIT 9 toward Ocala (stay on I-75 for about 3.74 miles)
- Take EXIT 265 toward Temple Terrace (this exit is also the exit for the University of South Florida)
- You will merge onto E Fowler Ave/FL-582 W via EXIT 265 and stay on here for about 4.65 miles
- Turn left onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A (stay on here for about 1 mile)
- Make a U-turn onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A
- Arrive and park at Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens Tampa Address
The address for Busch Gardens is 10165 N McKinley Drive Tampa, FL 33612.
Busch Gardens Tampa Hours
Busch Gardens usually opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. However, during the peak of the holidays, the park may be open until 10 p.m.
Remember when planning your trip, always check the park’s website or mobile app for the current hours and wait times.
Is Busch Gardens Busy on Thanksgiving Day?
Because of this, expect a slightly higher crowd level as the day progresses on both Thanksgiving Day and the weekend following the holiday.
Thanksgiving Day at Busch Gardens Itinerary Just for You!
- Download and go over the park map.
- Plan to arrive prior to the gates opening.
- Ride Iron Gwazi
- Check out the famous Florida gators in Morocco.
- Join the Cheetah Hunt.
- Ride Cobra’s Curse.
- Experience Montu.
- Have Your Thanksgiving Day Feast.
- Enjoy a stroll on the Edge of Africa or in the Myombe Reserve to relax.
- Walk over to the middle area of the park.
- Ride Sheikra.
- Conquer Tigris!
- Ride Stanley Falls.
- Conquer the Congo River Rapids
- Ride Kumba.
- Dive into the Scorpion Roller Coaster
- Conquer Falcon’s Fury.
- Visit Christmas Town Village.
- Watch all the Christmas Town Shows.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa
After your Thanksgiving Day Feast, be sure to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas at Busch Gardens.
During the holiday season at Busch Garden’s you will be able to:
- Watch world-class ice skaters
- Listen to melodious tunes
- Visit your favorite Sesame Street characters
- Discover Christmas Town® Village
- Shop for the perfect gifts
- Taste special Christmas treats
- Ride a holiday train
- See Rudolph and friends, including Sam the Snowman, at Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland
- Visit Santa’s House
- Watch the AMAZING fireworks show!
This event is every night from November 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024 with holiday activities starting around the afternoon time.
Admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Christmas Town is included with park admission.
Anyone with a ticket to Busch Gardens, a valid Fun Card or Annual Pass can enjoy this festive holiday event.
Recommended: 12 Most Festive Things to Do in Tampa for Christmas
My Final Thoughts on Going to Busch Gardens for Thanksgiving
Overall, you’re going to have an incredible Thanksgiving holiday at Busch Gardens.
Just make sure that you plan our your day in advance and don’t forget to partake in the Christmas Town experience.
What are your Thanksgiving Day plans? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:
- Christmas Guide to the Florida Theme Parks
- How to Go to Busch Gardens Alone (11 Easy Solo Travel Tips)
- Thanksgiving Day at Universal Orlando Resort
- Where to Find THE BEST Busch Gardens Coupons and Deals!
- 17 Busch Gardens Must Do’s You Have to Experience
- Complete Busch Gardens Guide
- SeaWorld Complete Guide
- How to Do SeaWorld Orlando Solo
- Ways to Use Groupon for Your Busch Gardens Ticket
Happy Thanksgiving Hipsters!
About the Author
Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.
Connect with me on Instagram!
(Original Article Date: November 6, 2016/Updated November 6, 2023)