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.
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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.
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Cost of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday Treats at Busch Gardens
Starting at $40 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
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 Christmas festival below.
- Red Curry Shrimp and Jasmine Rice
- Wild Mushroom Tart with Boursin Cheese Crema
- Braised Beef and Roasted Garlic Smashed Potato
- Unique cabin serving Wine and Chocolate Truffles
- A “Decorate Your Own Cookie” Cabin for kids
My Top Picks for the Best Food for Thanksgiving Day at Busch Gardens in 2022
- Wine & Truffles (Station 1): 19 Crimes Snoop Dog’s Cali Gold Sparkling Wine AND Three truffles: Dark chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla
- Christmas Cocktails (Station 2): Spiked bourbon cider mule: Bourbon, apple schnapps, ginger beer
- Char Siu Christmas (Station 3): Red curry shrimp and jasmine rice (GF- Gluten Free)
- Christmas Celebration (Station 4): Roasted apple salad with spicy maple vinaigrette (VE, GF)
- Polar Pavilion (Station 5): Cinnamon Whiskey Sour
- Xcursions NEW! (Station 6) Delicious cupcakes are served here
- Holiday Joy Tasting (Station 7): Pennsylvania Dutch cream liqueur (4) .05-ounce flight: Egg nog, Salted caramel, Pumpkin spice and Peppermint bark
- Dasher’s Delight (Station 8): Braised beef and roasted garlic smashed potato
- Stations 9, 13 & 14. Cookies, Cocoa & Cocktails: Specialty Hot Cocoa: Served in a souvenir cup with your choice of peppermint or gingerbread & whipped topping (Make it jolly – add Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa or Peppermint schnapps)
- Cookie Time (Station 10): Decorate your own cookie: Choose snickerdoodle, sugar or gingerbread
- Cocoa and Cream (Station 11): Snickerdoodle apple pie ala mode
- Zambia Smoke House (Station 12): Smoked BBQ chicken slider with pickled cucumbers
- Twisted Tales (Station 15): Spinach feta stuffed pretzel AND Walking Baby Cakes Oatmeal Stout AND Brown sugar & pineapple-glazed ham with green beans
- Dragon Dog Mobile (Station 16): Brown sugar & pineapple-glazed ham with green beans
- Giraffe Bar (Station 17): Sam Adams Winter Lager
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What to Know Before You Go to Busch Gardens
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 summer days the park may be open until midnight.
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?
Holiday peaks, crowd sizes, weather, and a few other factors have a lot to do with your Busch Gardens experience, including how long you’ll be waiting in line for your favorite rides.
Because of this, expect higher crowds 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.
- Take the Skyride 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
- Experience the Sand Serpent Roller Coaster.
- Conquer Falcon’s Fury.
- Visit Christmas Town Village.
- Watch all the Christmas Town Shows.
Get Your full Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Guide here!
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
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
- Enjoy the model trains that encircle a miniature Christmas city
- See Rudolph and friends, including Sam the Snowman, at Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland
- Visit Santa’s House
- Watch the NEW fireworks show!
This event is every night from November 14, 2022 – January 9, 2023 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.
Read more about Christmas Town here!
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 us 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!
(Original Article Date: November 6, 2016/Updated November 8, 2022)