We’re off to Busch Gardens today. DH’s favorite park. We leave the villa at 8.40am for the drive over to Tampa. It’s a lovely warm day today so we’re hoping it stays warm – and dry.
The journey takes exactly one hour from driveway to car park. We cover our bare bits in sun lotion and do our checks. Park pass – check. Cash – check. Sunglasses – check. Camera/camcorder – check. Sun lotion – check. Prescription pills – check. We’re all set.
We have about 15 minutes before the park actually opens at 10am and are one of the first cars in the car park. We hop onto the waiting tram and sit a couple of minutes while it fills up with other guests. I can’t help but doing this :207: while we wait. I’m getting super excited and the driver is looking in his mirror at me and laughing! He asks if I’m ready to hit the park yet and I nearly lift off my seat as I scream “yeeeeeees pleeeease” at him.
We have annual passes which we bought last Christmas and I visually cross my fingers as I pray they will work ok at the booths. No problem, we’re now in the park – well, just about in! The band are playing and are full of enthusiasm as usual. When they start to play ‘All the single ladies’ everyone starts to sway and hands are in the air.
Bang on 10am, we are allowed in. Now, we know where we are heading. We want some alone time with the tigers before everyone else gets there. This is usually no problem as other guests normally head straight for the rides which we don’t bother with – it’s all about the animals for us at this park.
Then we spot the new section –
It would be rude not to pop in and have a look so we agree to a couple of minutes before we quick march to ‘our’ tigers. Debbie is on duty here and tells us a bit about the area. Well, for $4 (with AP discount) we can hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies. It’s a must and we get a pot of food each.
We enter the home of these adorable creatures and within seconds they’ve won our hearts. Yeah, we know they’re just after the nibbles we’ve brought with us but just look at their cute little faces!!! We take some of the pellets out of the tub and hand feed these guys.
They are so gentle. They love to have their heads scratched and one – the big kangaroo boss took a liking to it so much that when I stopped and went to get up off my knees, he grabbed my arm with his paws and stared into my eyes. Well, two minutes turned very quickly into thirty minutes.
On the way to the tigers, we pass an assortment of other animals and birds which we give a little time to with the intention of coming back later.
Jungala – we’re here. We give a quick wave to the orangutans as they head to the top of their lookout posts and then the marathon walking stops. We’re still the first in the area and the tigers are curious towards their first guests of the day. Love these guys.
Now, we’ve done many backstage animal activities here at BG so ‘know’ a few of the staff by name and they in turn recognize us. We hear a “hey guys, didn’t expect to see you until late in the year” We turn our attention from the beautiful white tiger that’s sitting looking out at us to see Beth who we spent a full day with earlier this year. Now, she knows I am a huge big cat fan so she comes over to us so we can continue our watch over the tigers. “Staying with the tigers for long?” she asks. Now, she already knows the answer to this Anyway, she says she has a treat for us. Apparently she is waiting for a Mexican film crew who are doing a documentary and asks if we want to tag along as we should get some good photos. Of course we do!
A cameraman, a guy with fluffy microphones, a well made up lady later and we are like kids in a candy store. :D I have no idea what the crew were saying but they were lovely people. They didn’t mind us tagging along at all as long as we kept behind the camera. It was an amazing couple of hours. We got loads of photos – loads and loads, as well as video footage of ‘our’ tigers.
****CONTINUED IN POST BELOW****