If you haven't been to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay lately, you're missing out on new thrill rides, up-close animal encounters and some of the best special events on the Florida Gulf Coast. With an all new record-breaking roller coaster opening in 2020 and other recently added experiences, now is the best time to plan your next vacation. Here are the top 5 experiences at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2020.

Iron Gwazi
Opening soon in the Spring of 2020, Iron Gwazi will be the world's fastest and steepest hybrid roller coaster. With wooden supports and a steel track, this hybrid will take you to new heights, plunging riders down a 206-foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop, reaching speeds up to 76 miles per hour. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, this new addition to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will actually utilize some of the existing wooden structures from the previous Gwazi wooden coaster, but with an all-new layout and a new steel track. Inspired by the mighty crocodile, riders on Iron Gwazi will encounter a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as they sink their teeth into this exciting new thrill ride.

Just opened in 2019, Tigris is Florida's tallest launch roller coaster. This innovative experience catapults riders through a thrilling array of loops and twists, both forwards and backwards, including a 150-foot skyward surge! The ride reaches speeds faster than 60 miles per hour traveling along more than 1,800 feet of steel track, and features moves that were inspired by the agility of the world's largest and most powerful cat, the tiger. After riding, you can explore the tiger exhibit next door at Jungala, which includes a unique photo opportunity where you can poke your head up into their enclosure for a closer look.

Serengeti Safari with Giraffe Encounters
The award-winning Serengeti Safari is an often-overlooked gem of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. On this special tour your group is taken out into the 65-acre Serengeti Plain riding on an open-air touring vehicle to get up-close with some of the park's most majestic residents. This 30-minute off-road tour is led by an expert guide and will allow you to not only observe animals like zebras, ostriches, rhinos and antelope up close, but you'll also have an opportunity to hand-feed a giraffe! This is an adventure your family will love, that'll create memories to last a lifetime. Be sure to book your Serengeti Safari time before you arrive, as slots may sell out for the day.

Food & Wine Festival and Howl-O-Scream
You can find special events going on at the park throughout the year, but there are two can't-miss events worth checking out on your next trip. The Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival runs on weekends throughout the spring and features dozens of gourmet dishes to sample, a large selection of wines, craft brews and cocktails, and even free live concerts. On select evenings in the fall, Howl-O-Scream takes over the park, transforming it into a terrifying fright fest filled with haunted houses, spooky scare zones, and live entertainment. It's the perfect event for all you haunt-lovers out there.

Up-Close Encounters
If you've been to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay before, but are looking to try something new, try these recently added animal encounters. Go on a unique off-road safari with the animal keepers to meet one of the largest land animals in the world up close, the rhino. This special 45-minute tour allows you to get closer than ever to the two species of rhino that call Busch Gardens Tampa Bay home. For something a little more adorable, check out the new Sloth Encounter. Get ready to take it slow, and go behind the scenes at Animal Connections, where you'll have the opportunity to meet and interact with one of their amazing sloths in this 30-minute walking tour. Advance reservations for these special animal encounters are encouraged as space is limited.

Of course, the fun doesn't have to stop there! Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers the best selection of thrill rides in the whole state of Florida, including the 335-foot drop tower Falcon's Fury, Florida's first family spinning roller coaster Cobra's Curse, and the triple-launch Cheetah Hunt coaster. Between rides there's breathtaking scenery and gardens, colorful creatures around every turn, and fun for the little ones in multiple play areas. Grab tickets for your next visit today!