Adventure Island, not to be confused with Universal’s Islands of Adventure, is Busch Garden’s water park and is a great time.
It took me a number of years to finally make my first visit here because I was so enamored by Busch Gardens across the street, but eventually I went, found it was awesome, and am now a proud annual pass holder.
A few highlights of the 30 acre water park: the Colossal Curl, Rambling Bayou, Runaway Rapids, and Splash Attack.
Colossal Curl—the Colossal Curl is the newest slide to join the water park, and it is massive. It is a tube slide that seats up for four people and boasts funnels and twists and turns. This is the current king of Adventure Island.
Rambling Bayou—I’m a sucker for lazy rivers, and the Rambling Bayou is no different. It lazily meanders throughout the park for a glorious half mile. I like that I can use this as a lazy way to get to the various slides located around the park.
Runaway Rapids—this is my favorite part of the park, partly because it is plain fun and partly because my boy loves it so much. There are five water slides, but to get to them you have to swim through a pool, “climb” up a water mountain, and then chose which path to pursue to find your preferred slides. Slides #1 and #2 an adult is allowed to go down with their child. On slides #3, #4, and #5 you are on your own.
Splash Attack—this attraction is purely for the kids. It’s a water fort/structure that allows the kids to climb up through different elements, shoot water at each other, and go down water slides.
This is certainly a seasonal day trip, as the park is closed winters and only open weekends during the off-season. The time it shines is during its Island Nights celebration during the heart of the summer, in which the park is open until 9:00pm every single night. Starting at 5:00pm there is live music, stilt walkers, sand sculptures, and other stuff too depending on the night. Yes, in my humble opinion, the Island Nights celebration is the best time to attend.
Be sure to buy your tickets at the Adventure Island website as it will always be cheaper than buying tickets at the gate. Also, keep your eye open for special deals that the park randomly runs. If you live in Tampa Bay and plan on going more than once, consider buying the annual pass since it pays for itself after a couple visits, plus you will receive free parking ($15.00 per visit).
Location: 10001 N. McKinley Drive, Tampa, FL 33612
Admission: Ages 3 and Up $54.99 | Children 2 and Under FREE
Hours: Varies (check on website), Open Seasonally
Doing it on the cheap…
If you are in the Tampa area and plan on going 2+ times it makes sense to get the annual pass and you also get the free parking.
If you plan on going just once, your best bet is to keep your eye on the Adventure Island website for flash deals over the course of the summer. If you plan on doing Busch Gardens, you can sometimes land a deal adding on Adventure Island.