Photo of the day:
|Ceri and Gregory with a "Busch" tiger.|
Thing unexpectedly found to have sugar in it of the day: Chilli flavoured crisps
We had planned to set off for Busch Gardens in Tampa at 8 a.m. but my alarm didn't go off so that's about when I woke up. In the end we left around 9.30 and got there at almost 11. The place was a rip-off, so many things in it cost extra money, even food to give to the animals. ("So, let me get this straight. You have to feed your zoo animals. You already bought the food. You want me to feed your animals and pay you to do so? No, I'll pass and they can starve.") I was particularly scandalised to discover that the "Quick Queue" pass which enabled you to bypass the queues for the rides cost over $30. (Plus tax. Everything here is "plus tax". The children are forever asking me what tax is, and that's a fun question to answer right up there with "where do babies come from?")
So in other words, rich people get to jump to the front of the queue. Roderic said it's "The worst of capitalism in action." Disney's FastPass scheme, which also allows you to skip the queues, is free.
Then it was $3.99 (plus tax) for a churro, and around $5 (plus tax) for a drink, and you can understand why Roderic was in full Roderic-the-accountant mode. He'd come equipped with directions to the nearest KFCs so that we could leave the park for lunch. For about ten seconds I thought that was rather overdoing it, until I discovered the "All you can eat" dining option at Busch Gardens was $32.99 (plus tax...) per adult, and two of our three children counted as adults. So that would be... well, quite a lot to feed us all. So we did indeed leave the park, and walked through the pedestian exit to the KFC right across the road where we all ate and drank our fill (much bigger bits of chicken than we're used to in the UK) for $33. Including tax.
Before we went for lunch I'd gone on the Stanley River Log Flume with Gwen and Ceri and got utterly head-to-foot soaked. In the hot sun walking to KFC and back I dried off. So I then went on the Congo River Rapids (twice) and got soaked again. Only by now it was later in the day and starting to get chilly. I'm now suffering from a painful back which I put down to it having spent most of yesterday cold and wet.
I burned my hand badly making pancakes. It's a tradition. I did it last time we came to America and made pancakes too. Still have the scar.
We left Busch Gardens about 8, before the Edeys, and arrived home around 10. At midnight the Edeys still hadn't appeared and we were getting quite worried they were lost on the Interstate somewhere, or worse.
Everyone Else Version
Busch Gardens was beautifully presented and a lot of fun. Too much to do in just one day, it's particularly good if you're a roller coaster fan because there are lots of them, all loosely connected to the animals around the park. I don't do roller coasters, but still found plenty to enjoy. The last thing we did there was the skyride, a cable car across the whole park, and it was glorious. We also saw the animals from the steam train which goes round the park, and strolled around in the sunshine admiring alligators, elephants, kangaroos, giraffes and turtles. Not the best park ever, but still really good and worth a visit.