Tampa area weekend advice

Thursday, February 17, 2005 10:43 AM
I am going to Tampa Feb 24th-27th for a business trip, and I got them to send me back on Sunday rather than Friday. I am planning to go to BGT of course, and I was thinking of going to IOA as well. Unless anyone has better advice.

I have some of Friday, all Saturday and leave Sunday at 7pm.

I may just hit the coast and enjoy a walk on the beach, maybe the Dali museum.

So, if it were you, what would you do?

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Thursday, February 17, 2005 12:02 PM
After more research I am thinking about doing the Sea World/Busch fun pass thing. Whats Journey to Atlantis all about? Is it more than a lift and drop?
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Thursday, February 17, 2005 2:10 PM
Yea, it is quite long and has 2 major lifts. It is themed nicely. The coaster part is a bit short and weak. But overall this is a top rate attraction.
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Thursday, February 17, 2005 3:05 PM
Kraken is a great coaster and one you shouldn't miss. You will enjoy BGT, if you want to hit a small park Cypress Gardens can be done in a afternoon. Might want to check the show schedule thought. The press says the park is pretty crowded when they have shows on Saturday nights.
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Thursday, February 17, 2005 3:27 PM
also swo could be done in a very short amount of time unless you want to see all of the shows. Even seeing two or three shows, and a few spins on Kraken and JTA, the park could maybe be done in about 4 hours. I would definately recommend going their, it is a fun place to be.

i would recommend ioa over bgt. I am not saying bgt is a bad park by any stretch of the imagination, but ioa is the best park in central florida hands down, you must visit.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005 3:48 PM
I have visited both IOA and BGT but since I will be staying in Tampa I figure I would go to BGT at least one day. I came up with SW because I want to ride Kraken, and because i can get a pretty good deal to get into both parks.
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Friday, February 18, 2005 8:14 AM
I'd do Sea World. It's not a thrill seekers paradise, but has some world class attractions. The Manatee, ray, dolphin and shark exhibits are first class, and the Sea Lion and Shamu shows are both excellent. Oh, and don't miss the "pets" animal show - I can't remember the name, but it is fantastic! They also have a decent simulator if you're into those.

Add a Busch Hospitality House, and you've got a full day of fun.

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Friday, February 18, 2005 10:57 AM
Can you do BGT or IOA in one day?

or even 1/2 a day?

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Friday, February 18, 2005 11:00 AM
Not sure what you mean Janet. I could I suppose.
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Friday, February 18, 2005 12:27 PM
You could in the off-season, but honestly, if it's a vacation and you really want to experience things, IOA deserves an entire day or more. BGT is a lot more fun too if you aren't scrambling around.
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Friday, February 18, 2005 1:17 PM
Tampa has a pretty nice aquarium if you are in to that kind of thing.
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Friday, February 18, 2005 2:46 PM
I have to concur on the aquarium. The Florida Aquarium really is an awesome aquarium. I really like the coral reef section they have in there. They also have a neat exhibit of the birds of Florida. Another cool thing is an exhibit where they show what hangs out around the bridge pilings in the bay.

As for other things to do in the Tampa area besides parks, there is the Museum of Science and Industry, which is really close to Busch Gardens. If you're interested in nightlife, don't miss Y'bor City and it's nightclubs, which are second rate to Bourbon Street and South Beach, but no where else.

Speaking of beaches, avoid Clearwater Beach at all costs. It gets WAY too crowded there, even in the offseason. It's probably going to be too cold to go swimming yet, so I'd pick a picturesque beach above anything else. If you can make an hour drive, shoot for Siesta Key, near Sarasota. It's one of the better beaches on the Gulf side and it's very quiet and serene. Great place to watch a sunset.

As for the parks, no matter how dead Busch is (and it will be dead), spend an entire day there. It's a big park with a lot of walking. There's alot more to do there then just the thrill rides and it's what really makes the park special.

One thing to be aware of, I don't know if you are going the weekend of the Daytona 500 or not, but that is the ONLY weekend in February (I know this because I almost always go to Florida in February), that the parks get packed. I went to IOA on Saturday before Daytona (unfortunately the one where #3 died), and it was hour to two hour waits for just about everything. The thursday before the race it was absolutely dead with walk ons to mostly every ride.

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Friday, February 18, 2005 2:55 PM
Tampa is a great area. I've had a lot of opportunity to explore the area in the past year or so.

If your looking for a great place to catch a bite to eat after visiting a park, check out Ybor City. It's just right off 275 in the heart of the city. It's a renovated town which has the spirit of New Orleans to it. There's some really cool restraunts and shops to check out there.

As far as beaches, you can't beat Clearwater Beach. Skip St. Petersburg beach and head over to Clearwater instead. Fort De Soto is a cool beach to check out.

It sounds like you only have time to visit 2 parks. I'd do IOA and BGT just as you suggested. Or hit a park you have never been to. Either way, you'll have a great time.

Have fun! *** Edited 2/18/2005 8:01:00 PM UTC by Jon Smith***

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Friday, February 18, 2005 3:03 PM
My girl and I spent 8 days in FL this fall with three nights at IOA, and the rest in Siesta Key. We went to BGT during that week so I have allready been there. Its nice, looking forward to seeing the animals again.

Depending on what I feel like doing I may hit the aquarium, thanks for the tip.

Looks like the Daytona 500 is this weekend, phew.

This is my first time by myself somewhere new. I am little nervous about finding my way around without a navigator. I think I should do fine. I will probably avoid the main city if I can. Are there any other places to eat in the area?

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Friday, February 18, 2005 4:25 PM
Anyone been to BGT on easter sunday? How were the crowds?
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Friday, February 18, 2005 4:28 PM
Bruno's white pie ALL the way...(extra garlic)...yummm...:)

Directly across from the park, JUST down from the employee overflow parking lot, on Busch Blvd.

Haven't been on Easter Sunday, but typically Sundays are good due to them being PREPARED for crowds (that don't usually show, LOL)...;)

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Friday, February 18, 2005 5:38 PM
Sorry, what I meant was: is it possible to do either park in a day, if you're just going for the coasters.

I've heard alot about IOA's great atmosphere though, so a full day will probably be needed.

So Clearwater is that bad, huh? I hate crowds so I probably won't go there then. I've heard alot about Siesta Key though.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005 6:02 PM
Note.. IOA from tampa is fun esp with the 55 MPH speed on I-4 in it's construction zone....

I would do BGT.... & SWO... Sea world can be done in a few hours if only for the thrills.... BGT is an all day object for thrills...

I shoukld know.. I live in Tampa.. (I havn't been to the aquarium since it opened.... I am not sure if you want to do it or not..)

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