*This post is picture heavy…you have been warned!
Waking up on Day 3 of our trip we were all very excited to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa. This was a bit of a last-minute decision as we saw the flyer in the hotel lobby when we checked in and decided to give it a go. We didn’t even think of it when we were planning our trip as we thought there was enough to do in Orlando. Tampa is about an hour and 20 minute drive from Orlando. We thought it was definitely worth it if we were going to see the characters from Sesame Street. We were hoping that it wasn’t going to be as busy as Disney World though.
After eating some breakfast we hit the road at 8:30 so that we could make it to Busch Gardens by the time they opened at 10 AM. The drive there was all freeway and very quick. The entrance in wasn’t busy but we could see that the parking lot was getting full fast. We decided to pay extra for preferred parking so that we could park closer to the entrance. This would allow us to walk instead of taking the tram too. General parking is $14 and we paid $21 for preferred parking. It pretty much places you where all the handicap parking is at the front of the park. We still had a 3-4 minute walk to the front gate but that was nothing to us at this point.
We bought our tickets online so it was an easy process of scanning the tickets and our fingers to get through the front gate. We rented a stroller for Abby and started making our way to the Sesame Street Safari of Fun area. On the way we came across this little guy…
He was very friendly and no we didn’t give him any food. We passed Walkabout Way where you can go in and hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies. We were going to go in but there is an age limit. You have to be at least 5 years old to go in and Abby did not make the cut. We were pretty upset about that but I am sure there is a good reason for it even though the guy at the gate couldn’t tell us why.
We passed by some very colorful and noisy birds and finally we arrived! The Sesame Street Safari of Fun is just amazing. It was so much better than the pictures on the website and Abby just about when nuts. First we climbed the huge tree into the tree-house and then walked across the rope bridge to get to the 3-story high play area where Abby just had a ball. At the bottom of the play area there was a moon bounce and huge sand pit. Abby loved running across the moon bounce.
Of course, falling was just as fun too. We quickly changed her into her bathing suit so that she could play in the splash areas, they had 2!
We spent an hour just playing around and then we went looking for some characters. Look who we found!
It’s Abby Cadabby! There was no line to see the characters and Abby was able to play, hug and take pictures with them for as long as we wanted. Felt like we were in heaven!
We saw Grover too but Abby didn’t want anything to do with him…not sure why as she thinks he is hilarious. That’s okay though. I took a picture with him instead!
We were laughing at my husband who was trying to take the picture and hold onto my daughter at the same time. We turned around and then saw Zoey!
Abby was loving all the attention she was getting! After that we decided to take a little break from all the excitement and walk up to Lory Landing to feed the birds. It wasn’t busy at all and this time Abby was able to feed the birds all by herself.
She even let the bird sit on her hand to eat out of the cup. My husband was overrun with birds!
We headed back down to the Sesame area to see Abby’s favorite character…Elmo!
Abby was able to hug and sit on Elmo for a good 5 minutes before someone else came along. At this point we know that coming to Busch Gardens was a very good idea. The best part of our trip so far!
Abby even got to ride on a roller coaster!
Okay so it was a little roller coaster but still. And she loved it! She rode on it twice in a row and then a 3rd time before we left to go see the live show.
Cookie welcomed us with open arms. Abby loved the show and even danced with the characters.
It was the perfect end to a perfect day. We decided to head back to the hotel as we were all very tired.
That night I started to not feel so good. The next day I woke up and I knew something was wrong. My whole body hurt and my head was pounding. I asked my husband if we could cut our vacation short and instead of leaving the day after leave that same day. He, of course, was completely fine with it and we ended up leaving Orlando a day early because I wasn’t feeling well.
The plane ride back was a bit testy at times as Abby wanted to get off the plane about half-way through. Thank goodness she fell asleep as there was nothing else we could do but hold her down. Once we got home the relief was overwhelming. Abby was glad to be around all her toys again. I was thankful for my soft bed.
The next day when I woke up I felt even worse. I went to the doctor right away and found out that I had an Upper Respiratory Infection and 2 Ear Infections. Yes, I am glad we came back early from our vacation.
I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures from our vacation!