Power Outage Hits Busch Gardens Tampa

Shortly after opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, power went out across Busch Gardens Tampa, and remained out for approximately four hours. Since the power outage occurred just minutes after opening, only a few attractions were even open. Areas towards the back of the park, like Pantopia, Stanleyville and Jungala, don’t normally open until 30 minutes after the gates do, and remained closed until the power returned.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., the park tweeted that the power outage was ongoing, and they were working with Tampa Electric (TECO) on restoring it as soon as possible. The park also mentioned they were “delaying entry into the park,” although a number of guests reported still being able to enter through the gates during the outage.

Guest reaction on social media was mixed. Many guests were simply looking for updates, while some took to the chance to vent their frustrations over the power outage and lack of communication they were receiving in the park. Others took the power outage in stride, taking a moment to thank the park for doing their best dealing with the situation. Animal ambassadors came out to meet guests, and games were set up around the park to help pass the time.


Select food and beverage locations, including Zagora Cafe near the front of the park, continued to operate throughout the outage. Additionally, Garden Gate Cafe opened after 11 a.m. and served free beer as well as other offering other items for sale. An update from the park at 1:21 p.m. also announced Turn It Up!, the ice show at Moroccan Palace Theater, and some animal habitats were available for guests to enjoy.

Shortly after 2 p.m., power was restored to the entire park. By 3 p.m., the areas near the back of the park began opening, and most attractions were open by 4 p.m. Local news stations are reporting a squirrel is to blame for the power outage – apparently one got into the park’s power substation and caused the problem.

The park also stated operating hours would be extended to 10 p.m.; 9 p.m. was the originally scheduled closing time.

Guests who stayed and waited it out were back to having a good time by late afternoon. Show times were also adjusted and displayed on the park’s LED boards near Cheetah Hunt and SheiKra.

For the latest on Busch Gardens Tampa and other theme parks, attractions, dining venues and more across the region, be sure to follow Touring Central Florida on twitter @TourCentralFL & @androckb, and give our facebook page a like.

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