Student Groups in Tampa Bay: Wild Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Did you know that Tampa, Florida is home to some of the most exotic animals in the world? Or that it offers sanctuary to some amazing endangered species? Just a short bus ride from Downtown and Ybor City, Tampa is home to several top locations to get up-close with some of the worlds most fascinating animals. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampas Lowery Park Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium offer opportunities to bring humans and animals closer together, and educate us about human responsibilities towards the animals we share our world with.

If youve never visited Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, I suppose the best way to describe it is as an amazing collection of some of the worlds most insane roller coasters interwoven with fields of free-roaming wild animals. Im not a roller coaster rider, so I enjoyed getting to check out some of the awesome animals.

Busch Gardens Elephants

These Indian Elephants were only feet away.and only a few hundred yards from the roller coasters in the background, Kumba and Sand Serpent, which are two of Busch Gardens seven named coasters.

This tower (yes, that's what they're called!) of giraffes is probably not as impressed by Cheetah Hunt in the background as Busch Gardens' thrill-seeking guests.

This tower (yes, that’s what they’re called!) of giraffes is probably not as impressed by Cheetah Hunt in the background as Busch Gardens’ thrill-seeking guests.

This lion was incredibly gorgeous and regal-looking.  I love the natural highlights on his beautiful mane, too!

This lion was incredibly gorgeous and regal-looking. I love the natural highlights on his beautiful mane, too!

His lady friends appeared to be just as laid-back and lazy as my kitties at home!

His lady friends appeared to be just as laid-back and lazy as my kitties at home!

These meerkats were on my list of critters to steal and take home with me when the guides from Busch Gardens werent looking.  (Just kidding!...maybe)

These meerkats were on my list of critters to steal and take home with me when the guides from Busch Gardens werent looking. (Just kidding!…maybe)

Celebrity Treatment:  This kitchen, where Busch Gardens' guests can observe how the animals' food is specially prepared, looks more like the set of a cooking show!

Celebrity Treatment: This kitchen, where Busch Gardens’ guests can observe how the animals’ food is specially prepared, looks more like the set of a cooking show!

Busch Gardens is fully equipped for large groups of students visiting on day trips or for several nights. They actually let student groups sleep in the park. One large tent-like room holds as many as 120 kids sprawled out, camping-style, in sleeping bags. This location serves as a home-base while its occupants participate in late-night activities in the park. This particular room was even used by the Tampa Bay Bucs for team-building exercises, so any group that chooses to stay there is in pretty cool company! Another room used for park sleepovers is actually inside the tiger sanctuary (separated from the tigers by a glass wall, of course). Can you imagine waking up (safely!) right next to wild tigers!
A tiger sanctuary sleepover might be nice for one nights stay, but for multi-night programs, which Busch Gardens offers, they have an actual dorm. This facility is used for the awesome summer camps offered by the park, but it is often inhabited for a few days at a time by visiting groups. Sleeping accommodations in the dorms are bunkbeds, with an entertainment and dining area not far away.

This is how kids are welcomed to their dorms at Busch Gardens!

This is how kids are welcomed to their dorms at Busch Gardens!

Teachers and chaperones even have their own apartment upstairs so they can relax while Busch Gardens counselors monitor the kids at night! Who knew all of this was right there at the park? I certainly didnt and I was totally impressed. Its really a one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend the day participating in Busch Gardens educational Zoo School programs or exploring the park, and then turn in for the night right there on park property!