Busch Gardens offers a wide variety of exclusive park experiences, but many of them contain overlapping locations, so pick the one that is right for you. Though you can book all the tours listed below on the day of your visit at the Tours Information and Reservation Center near the main gate, the limited capacity of the tours causes them to sell out early most of the year. During peak seasons, you should call weeks in advance. The number for reservations is 888-800-5447 or visit the website to book online. Check-in for all tours is at the Serengeti Outpost, near the Animal Care Center in Nairobi.
None of the Busch Gardens tour prices include park admission, unless noted, and the prices vary due to the length and capacity of each tour. Prices are the same for all participants, regardless of age. Though the tours are worthwhile for animal enthusiasts, many—if not all—are too expensive for the average visitor. All prices below are listed without tax.
Serengeti Safari: $29–$39 per person depending on season, 30 minutes. Guides drive you in an open-back truck into the Serengeti Plain for up close encounters with some of the tamer animals. A zoologist accompanies the trip and doles out information on all of the animals you encounter. The highlight of the trip is feeding the antelope and giraffes. It’s a treat to watch the long tongue of a giraffe remove the leaves from a prickly branch while adeptly avoiding thorns. Bring your camera!
Jungala Insider: $29 per person, 45 minutes. The tour gives visitors an up close look at Jungala’s inhabitants, including the Bengal tigers and orangutans. Zookeepers are on hand to answer any questions. Wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.
Keeper for a Day: $250 per person, 61⁄2 hours. If you’re a zoo enthusiast ready to shell out some big cash to fulfill a personal dream, then this may be worth considering. Shadow a zookeeper for a morning with some of the herbivores on the Serengeti Plain and spend an afternoon with the Busch Gardens’s avian team. If you’re going to spend this kind of money, be sure to call ahead and get a detailed itinerary for the day you’re visiting. You must be at least 13 years of age and 52 inches tall, and children ages 13–17 must be accompanied by an adult. Park admission and lunch is included in the price. Wheelchairs cannot be accommodated. Reservations must be made at least seven days in advance.
Heart of Africa Tour: $39 per person, 11⁄2 hours. Join the keepers for behind-the-scenes time with hippos, cheetahs, and even lions. Open to those age 10 and older; wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.
Animal Care Center Behind the Scenes: $29 per person, 11⁄4 hours. For visitors who always wanted to be a veterinarian, this tour takes them behind the glass walls of the Animal Care Center, where they get hands-on time with X-rays, microscopes, and other life-saving medical equipment. Open to age 8 and older; be warned that you may witness an actual surgery or medical procedure.
Two different half- and full-day guided tours of the park are also available, and their prices are $100–$200 plus tax and park admission. The selling point is one-time, front-of-the-line access to most of the major rides and/or front seats at all of the shows and/or an Adventure Tour. If you’re in the mood for the VIP treatment, call 888-800-5447 for more information.
For a complete description of all there is to see at Busch Gardens check out Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, & the Best of Central Florida by Bob Sehlinger and Seth Kubersky.
Orangutan: Seth Kubersky
White Lion: By Cary Michael Bass (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons