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Friday: Busch Gardens, Tampa - Elf M. Sternberg
Friday: Busch Gardens, Tampa

We decided to burn some cash and go to Busch Gardens, a major theme park in the Tampa Bay area. The girls were entirely up for that. Busch started out as a garden, quite literally, a recreational post-Victorian stroll-through, a gift from the Anheiser-Busch beer dynasty to the community that housed it. Through the years it has morphed into a quasi-zoo, quasi-rides park, with relationships with the Children's Television Workshop and Seaworld on the side. The major parks are all named after places in Africa, with labels that screamed "we know it's considered insensitive these days, but we have to label it something and if we changed it nobody would recognize the place."

They have a meal deal that is sorta worth it, if you're not eating with kids. Adult meals would recoup the buyer's price, kids meals not so much.

Hot Lioness
There's a small water park for little kids only, associated with Sesame Street. One section is called "Oscar's Swamp Stomp," and it has a sign saying "Do not swallow the water! The water is recirculated." Translation: "If you get this water in your mouth, know that it contains the pee of ten thousand toddlers."

The cast members were friendly, but after viewing a filked version of "I Kissed A Girls" into "I Dropped Some Trash!" during which employees danced and sang with mops and brooms and so forth about the joys of not littering, I had to say, "Four years of private Dance and Drama school training, and this is what you do for a living?"

We rode in several roller coasters, ate at the steak house, and rode more rollercoasters, including one that dangled riders over a precipice before dropping them down a vertical shaft. Only Storm and I were willing to go on that one. (Later, only Storm and Omaha got to ride the Cheetah.) We saw kangaroos and komodo dragons, and alligators and cheetahs and all the rest. It's much more a "look at the big pretty animals" park than a working zoo; there is no research there.

My body can no longer consume 2 liters of Pepsi without consequence.

Toward the evening we had a quick dinner at yet another fast food place, then Omaha convinced me to ride on the last surviving roller-coaster from her youth, thirty years ago. It was actually still fun. We stopped at the "Busch Gardens History" hallway so she could reminisce and I could mock the ancient costumes of Germany on Ice (Lederhosen and ice skates for the win!) and other old stuff they had had there.

We drove home late, and went back to bed.

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