Spring Break Day 4: Busch Gardens

Steph and I drove across the state to Tampa on Thursday so we could take advantage of our free preschool passes at Busch Gardens.  The Sesame Street Safari of Fun portion of the park opened this year and children ages 5 and younger can get free passes for the entire year with online registration!  With our adult FL resident Fun Cards, Steph and I can come back all year for free too.  Woo hoo!

Maps were distributed to all the boys when we entered the park.   The little ones were trying to find Elmo on the map. As you can see by the reflection, the Safari of Fun was right behind them 🙂

There were so many rides for the little guys that we spent most of the day in the Sesame Street area.  The boys loved everything!  Oscar’s Swamp Stomp was especially fun.  After I snapped the above shot, the boys were shooed out of the fountain by an employee.  Whoops.  Cute picture though!

I’m so excited that we rode the Air Grover roller coaster and I remembered to take pictures.  I have a Grover paper piecing that a scrapbooking friend made for me a long time ago.  I’ve never had a chance to use it on a scrapbook page until now!  Yeah!

The rope bridges at Elmo’s tree house were super fun too!  Steph (who is afraid of heights) did not really enjoy them but the boys and I certainly did.  We bounded across them bouncing and laughing the whole way!

Cookie Monster’s Cloud Bounce was one thing that adults were not allowed on, much to my dismay!!!  Look at that thing!  It was a HUGE  inflated bouncy mat.  They only let 12 kids jump at a time so there was plenty of room for the children to run and play without getting hurt.  Cutie Pie said that he wanted this to be his mattress at home…  I must say that I agree!

Then there was this kid…

He took his half of the sand out of the middle and completely lost control when any of the other children neared his creation.  His creation was pretty much a pile of sand with a shallow moat around it.  He began screaming and waving his fists at Cousin B when he accidentally stepped on the boy’s pile of sand.  Steph had to jump in to rescue B from a potential beating…  The boy’s parents were no where to be found, of course.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the kid with anger management issues.

Needless to say, we did not stay long in the sandbox…

The eyes on the carousel animals were hilarious!  Steph was asked to remove herself from the zebra after I snapped this photo.  Apparently only one rider is allowed per animal…

The boys had spied some colorful slushy machines in a gift shop earlier in the day.  After lunch they begged to have one.  Steph took the kids to find seats for the “A” is for Africa show while I made my way to the gift shop for a round of slushies.   The boys wanted mixed colors so I went nuts filling the cups with a rainbow of flavors.  It was a precarious trek back to find everyone as the gift shop did not provide lids for the cups!  Yikes!  I almost had slushy on me several times!

The show was adorable!  The boys bopped along with the music and dancing.  The characters were really good about working the crowd.  We got to see each of them up close several times during the performance.

When we’d done all we could do in the Safari of Fun section, we ventured out to see some animals.  Namely, hippos!  OMG!  I loved the hippos!  I called this one Gloria in honor of Madagascar.  But maybe it was a ‘he’ instead of a ‘she’ in which case it would be Moto Moto…

Check out the coolest animal viewing area ever!  These trucks were surrounded by Plexiglas.  Half of the truck was outside of the animal area and half was inside.  People could pretend that they were driving out onto the African plain to see lions.

We timed lion-feeding just right.   We exited the gondola ride just in time to see the zookeepers dropping hunks of raw meat from the top of the truck to the hungry lions below.

This lioness was on the hood of the truck!  The boys were inside the truck pretending to drive.  How’s that for getting up close with nature?!  Amazing!