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Christmas Town at Busch Gardens December 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Travel & Leisure.

Last weekend, we went to Busch Gardens in Tampa to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas Town.

First stop, Stanleyville Station to ride the Christmas Express.  After boarding, it started to rain. At the conductor’s request, we debarked and huddled together in the station to watch rain drops plopping in puddles for 15 minutes until the conductor asked us to retrace our steps:

“A~L~L    A~B~O~A~R~D!”

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The rain slowed long enough for us to pull out of the station, seated on soggy rainswept seats.

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We took the tracks less traveled . . . and saw behind the scenes hardware.

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As we passed Nairobi, the rains came . . . offering passengers a soggy safari.

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Can you hear My Fair Lady?   “The rain on the plain stays mainly on the train.”

Giraffes craned long necks in our direction.

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They stood high, but not dry, under tall palms.

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I heard them chuckling at prisoners huddled in puddles on the Candy Cane Express.

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After de-boarding, we decided to dry off inside.  We opted to see a show ~ Opening Night Critters ~ featuring rescue dogs, cats, birds, plus a plucky pony, a shy skunk, and a prickly porcupine.

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After the show, we saw other animals ~ elephants, Cape Buffalo, orangutans, and tigers.

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And a kangaroo stationed outside of Walkabout Way.

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Flocks of flamingos paraded around the grounds.

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All decked out in their Christmas finery.

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Amid beautiful floral arrangements.

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We saw fields of poinsettias blanketing a zebra-drawn sleigh.

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Inside the market place, we spied zebras, elephants, and giraffes for sale.

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Ready to be adopted by collectors of all ages.

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Before leaving, we walked through Christmas Village to watch wee ones enjoying a pint sized train.

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As it circled round and round model trains completing smaller loops.

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The trains defied all attempts to capture an unblurred image.  The trees stood silent and still, awash in bright lights while displaying a spirit of cooperation.

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Throughout the park, Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes offered scents of the season.

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This one stood in a pool of white poinsettia.

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And presiding over it all . . . the Big Man himself.

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Urging visitors to “Bring Home The Coke.”  HO~HO~HO!

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Aah . . . that’s better!



1. Jill Weatherholt - December 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing your trip to Busch Gardens, Nancy. I’ve been to the one in Williamsburg, Virginia, but it closed during the winter months, so no Christmas decorations. Gotta love those Florida downpours, it pours for five or ten minutes and then the sun reappears. 🙂

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is a beautiful place to meander, in season. It threw a 300th birthday party for William & Mary which we attended in 1993. So fun ~ only alumni and students admitted so the place was “empty.” We could ride a roller coaster, run around to the entrance and ride again ~ no lines!

And the cake! Oh the cake! HUMONGOUS!!!

The rain lasted about an hour (3:30 – 4:30), and it was warm enough that we didn’t feel miserable wandering around in soggy jeans. All things considered, a drier day might have improved our experience.

2. Pix Under the Oaks - December 12, 2014

That roo is pretty impressive! The butterflies!!! All your pictures add up to what looks like a great day.

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

We bought “after 3 pm” admission tickets to since we didn’t want to leave Tigger alone from dawn to dusk. It was just long enough to enjoy a few “tame” rides, see two shows, have a Twisted Tail Pretzel, and take in the lights.

3. livelytwist - December 12, 2014

Aargh, rain. I like the flamingoes amid beautiful floral arrangements.

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

We’re going back on Sunday, weather permitting, to focus more on the grounds and the animals and less on the Holiday lights. I may be able to share more of the beautiful floral arrangements if I’m not running between the raindrops.

4. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - December 12, 2014

Love those white poinsettias!

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

They are gorgeous, Kate. I’ll try to get a shot of the whole fountain when we go back this Sunday. I didn’t see them until after dark and I couldn’t stand back far enough to get a wider perspective.

Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - December 12, 2014

Awesome! I can’t wait!

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

We’re hoping for a SUNNY day. 😎

5. Grannymar - December 12, 2014

The last bit put me off, Why must that soft drink company feel it has the right to hijack the holidays? I did like the Flamingoes, they always remind me of a holiday I had on Mykinos, Greece, a long time ago.

thecontentedcrafter - December 12, 2014

I agree about ‘that soft drink company’! Horrid to see considering what their product does.

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

We don’t drink soda. It’s lethal. I think we should write to Santa and tell him to stop prostituting himself! :mrgreen:

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Flamingos + Mykinos = Perfect Together!

Coca Cola has been happily hijacking the holidays for more than 100 years! http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/coke-ads

6. thecontentedcrafter - December 12, 2014

So, apart from the last bit which shocked me – truly – it was all so beautiful. So rich and elegant and eye catching. Even the rain wasn’t too bad. The grounds are so wonderfully set out – what great work in the gardens! And that tree surrounded by white poinsettias is just gorgeous! We don’t have anything as fabulously eye candy as that here.

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Although we live in the land of theme parks (Busch Gardens, Sea World, Epcot, Sea World, Lego land, Universal, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, the Magic Kingdom, etc.), we seldom visit any of them.

I guess we no longer find amusement parks amusing. 😛

That said, we took advantage of the “after 3 pm” tickets to check out the Holiday display since the price was right ~ 4 tickets for the price of one daily admission! We enjoyed the park, the shows, a few tame rides, and a fresh baked hot-out-of-the-oven Twisted Tail Pretzel.

We plan to go back Sunday to enjoy the grounds and animals a bit more until the crowds roll in at dusk.

7. ashokbhatia - December 12, 2014

The Yuletide spirit is upon us! Have a great time!!

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Thanks! The park added a bit of Merry and Bright to our holiday celebration.

8. jannatwrites - December 12, 2014

Looks like a beautiful place to visit (rain and all!)

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

We had fun . . . especially when the sun was shining.

9. Silver in the Barn - December 12, 2014

All those white poinsettias mimic snow beautifully, don’t they? And no shoveling….

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Exactly! Plus, they do well outside for most of the season!

10. Barb - December 12, 2014

That is a huge kangaroo, you couldn’t miss it! Lovely photos Nancy, shame about the rain but sounds like you enjoyed it nonetheless. The billboard of Santa (what he is promoting), needs to be replaced methinks.

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

I loved that kangaroo and when we go back on Sunday, we’ll walk through walkabout way to see the kangas, roos, and wallabies.

The sign is a point of contention with many readers. I guess we’re no longer convinced that things go better with coca cola.

11. Yolanda M. - December 12, 2014

Beautiful gardens Nancy – thanks for taking us along for the ride 🙂

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

My pleasure, Yolanda. It’s a fun place to walk around.

12. ericjbaker - December 12, 2014

Looks like a fun time!

nrhatch - December 12, 2014

Definitely a change of pace from our usual venues. And we enjoyed “singing in the rain” on a train through the African plain.

13. Tiny - December 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing the festive look of our Bush Gardens! I’ve never been there this time of the year. Looks like you had lots of fun despite the rain!

nrhatch - December 13, 2014

We’re glad we got the “after 3 pm” tickets, Tiny – 5 hours at a stretch is plenty for us. We are expecting a sunnier visit Sunday. 😎

14. Three Well Beings - December 17, 2014

What a great place to visit. I would really enjoy Busch Gardens even in the rain! There was a Busch Garden theme park in Southern California until sometime in the early 1970s. I know I visited, but I don’t remember too much. It was certainly not as elaborate as what you’ve shown in the pictures. I love those giraffes peeking through. The rain wasn’t bothering them! Fun, Nancy!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

We returned this past Sunday, a sunny Sunday, to see what we missed. We had a better time the first time, even in the rain. Go figure. In college we loved going to the Hospitality Center at Busch Gardens Williamsburg ~> 3 free beers! Perfect for the college budget.

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