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Having Fun at Busch Gardens....photo heavy.

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Isafari, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    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. :sunshades:

    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. :excited:

    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. :wiggle::wave:

    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 –

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 :doh::lol: Anyway, she says she has a treat for us. :applaudit: 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! :mental:

    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.

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  2. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    Feeling hungry now, we head over to Crown Colony for lunch. We opt for the more casual café rather than the restaurant which we actually prefer but, we have a meal planned for tonight and just want something to put us off until then. We actually share pizza and fries with a large soda….followed by strawberries.

    Tummies full, we head over to see the gorillas and chimps. It’s pretty quiet here today and we sit on the stone steps watching the gorillas go about their business without a care in the world.

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    It’s very peaceful right now and I swear we even got a smile from one big guy….

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    Then come along three youths who think they ‘rule the school’. They are being very disruptive and showing no respect to the park, gorilla’s or us. :toetap: It results in DH having a word with them and this……

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    We arrive at the chimps just in time for them to have an afternoon snack of apples, bananas and oranges. One chimp even bites into an orange, then tips his head back and squeezes the juice into his mouth. He then makes a face which I truly wish I’d caught on camera :lol:

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    Heading over to see Simon, Iris and Rose next – actually my favorite animals in the park but usually the laziest too. Spending more time asleep than awake, it’s pretty hard to catch these guys with their eyes open. However, we’re in luck today – for a little while anyway. They’ve grown since we last saw them and Simon is now sporting a rather handsome dark mane. He’s still a juvenile but he’ll be king really soon. I sit in the back of the land rover. No one is around so I shout for my guy Simon who actually comes over, jumps into the land rover with me (just luck I think) and gives me goose bumps just being so close. He was too close to take a photo though so I have many close up shots of his eyes or whiskers etc.

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    It doesn’t take long for the lions to be exhausted again and they wander off to slump in a heap with their backs to us.

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    The hyenas are up and about and the hippos are too. We wander by the giraffe’s and zebras etc and onto the meerkats.

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    This is one of DH’s fave animals and he takes one or fifty photos of them.

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    The elephants are having a game of football with some huge cans as we pass and we say a special “Hi” to Rosie who gave us plenty of laughs earlier this year when we spent the day with the elephant keepers.

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    We head to Jambo Junction and Curiosity Caverns as we didn’t have time to visit here last visit and it’s a quaint way to spend a few minutes with some very often overlooked creatures. When we get around to the flamingos, a staff member is busy in the background and we ask her if we can feed the flamingos as we’ve never done this before. She pops off for a minute and comes back with handfuls of food for the birds. Another first for us.

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    Now, I’m sorry but – we so need to go back to the tigers. As we head in the right direction which is a lot quicker now that they have a new pathway next to the new attraction they are busy building, we stop by the otters. We’re trying to take video and photos through the glass and laughing at our poor attempts :point: when a staff member taps me on the shoulder. “Do you want some better shots” he asks looking over at DH. He says that they are about to feed the otters and to stay put if we want to get some good photos. He goes on to say that the otters have been trained to each sit on a certain rock to be fed. He points to three rocks in the enclosure (there are three otters). Be ready and point your cameras at the rocks he says. Off he goes and we point our camera/camcorder at the rocks. :yes:

    Five minutes later, DH and I are giving each other looks. :unsure: Looks that say “he’s taking his time aint he. Ten minutes later, DH and I are passing comments about being on a hidden camera show and any minute now some one will pop out and shout “got ya.” Anyway, we are by now in fits of laughter – but still pointing our cameras at the rocks. :laughhard: A few other park guests wander by but don’t hang around next to the loony tunes who are obviously from another planet. Tears are now streaming down my face (you had to be there to realise how funny we found this) and I catch the staff member out of the corner of my eye sitting on a bench with two other staff – all in fits of laughter but trying to be quiet. Yes, we’re gullible. :lol::embarassed:

    Anyway, it turns out that they saw us laughing and thought they could have some fun with us and we’d take it in the best possible way. Our reward – we got to feed the otters. And – they otters are indeed actually trained to sit on a rock each to be fed.

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  3. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    Back at the tigers, we take the obligatory photo of myself with my head up the bubble amongst the tigers and chill with them until staff come around emptying the park and they throw us out.

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    We had another brilliant day at Busch Gardens :thumbsup:
     
  4. MystikPiglit
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    MystikPiglit Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse

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    Great photos! :yes:
     
  5. Dizneyblonde
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    Dizneyblonde Secret's Birthday Fairy!

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    Awesome photos Diane!
     
  6. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    Thanks guys - apprecaite the comments :thumbsup:
     
  7. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    What a fantastic day Diane, wish I could have been there with you to get VIP access to the animals.
     
  8. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Wonderful Diane!

    And to think, I used to live right around the corner from that place. Oh well, that was then, this is now.

    Tom :)macwave:... stuck in what passes for now.)
     
  9. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    I want a Meerkat! Fab photos and trip report Diane.
     
  10. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Wow, amazing photos Diane. How did you get so close to them.
     
  11. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    I thought of you when we were at the tigers if that helps - even sent you a text if I remember correctly. :)

    I would have practically lived there if it were so close to me :lol:

    Thanks Claire.

    Thanks John. We were lucky enought to shadow the film crew so we got some great shots as long as we respected that they had a job to do and we didn't get in the way. I have some even better shots which I haven't posted yet - and video.
     
  12. Kate
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    Kate Serious Forum Regular

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    Wow that sounds and looks like you had a fantastic day! You were sooo lucky you got such special treatment that day!
     
  13. daveann
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    daveann Addicted to Mickey

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    do you know we have never been through the animal part of BG i am ashamed to say but it looks fab :)
     
  14. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    We were very lucky :yes:

    :thud: seriously.....:thud:
     
  15. *Bambi-Belle*
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    *Bambi-Belle* Imagineer

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    Awwwwwwwww! Love this photo.

    Fantastic photos. We went to BG for the first time this year and loved it.
     
  16. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Would love to be in FL at the same time as you and Dave sometime so that we could do this with you.
     
  17. Shellyamc
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    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

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    Just amazing!!! I love seeing this through your eyes :yes:
     
  18. josh.p.
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    josh.p. Addicted to Mickey

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    Your photos are fantastic Diane :yes: I love the one of the Meerkat 'chillin' lol
     
  19. Dorothy
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    Dorothy Smiley Herder

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    You got to feed the flamingos :D I want to feed the flamingos :yes:
     
  20. DisneyFreak
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    DisneyFreak Serious Forum Regular

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    These were awesome Diane. Thanks for sharing.

    We have lived in Florida now for a little over 4 years and we really need to get up to this park!!! We still have never been there. :unsure:
     

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