Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Florida Vacation


This is part two of the Ramsey family's Florida vacation scrapbook. Florida is such a nice destination for vacations and whenever I think Florida I think flamingos. Do you all also think that? Or perhaps you think sunshine and fresh squeezed oranges. All wonderful thoughts of this sunny state. 

Our flamingos were on display in Busch Gardens Tampa. Did you know Busch Gardens is owned by the Anheuser Busch Company? And did you know the Anheuser Busch Company is very friendly to military personnel? I hope you do because the cost of the millions of free tickets Anheuser Busch must have given away since at least 1990 (after Desert Shield/Storm) must be an astronomical amount. The very fact that Anheiser Busch is so generous to the military sure has my attention and all of my gratitude. You see, active duty military and their immediate family members can get into the Busch parks free of charge. What a deal! Just Google 'Salute to the Heroes' or check out this website for more information. 

After delivering my uncle safe and sound at his home southwest of Orlando we decided to stay in Florida an extra day so we could visit Busch Gardens Tampa-especially since the tickets were free. The pictures in this post were all taken in Busch Gardens Tampa and this is a scrapbook for my family. We'll get back to regularly scheduled garden posts next week.

If you have never visited a Busch Gardens park you are missing out. All of the Busch parks that I have visited (Sea World, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Virginia and of course Busch Gardens Tampa Florida) are top notch. There is something going on all the time in the parks. The gardens and landscapes are extraordinary, people are friendly, and there is a wide range of rides and shows and animals that appeal to people of all ages. 

The Williamsnburg Virginia Busch Gardens Park has a theme of Europe. Since the Ramsey family lived in Europe for over ten years visiting the Williamsburg park is sort of like home-very comfortable and familiar to us. Busch Gardens Tampa has a theme of Africa. This park certainly did not remind us of home and was quite exotic and fun for all of us in the Ramsey family. We visited the Serengeti Plains and were able to get up close and personal with kangaroos-all without leaving the United States.
We saw elephants of the live kind and also the bronzed kind. He kind of reminds me of Dumbo. 
The caladiums simply shined under the cooling trees in the park.
This palm was such a great feature I took several pictures of it. Just look at the architecture of it! That silvery blue color sure makes it stand out too.
This tree was an acacia tree. It is in the mimosa family and is native to Africa. The bark was so shiny and smooth. A very cool tree! Most of the specimens and plants were marked with easy to read plant labels. Hence, the 'Garden' part of Busch Gardens. The Busch theme parks are not just amusement parks but also botanical gardens, operas, theaters, restaurants, and of course amusement in the form of many rides including roller coasters. On this visit I don't think I rode any roller coasters. Rattling my brain is not something I enjoy so no roller coasters for me. The Jimster and Mr. Fix-it rode quite a few though.
More of the gardens. Commercial parks and properties really have to mass plant for big impact. Busch Gardens got it right for sure.
We saw giraffes of the live kind and these topiaried giraffes were pretty neat too. Busch Gardens must employ a million horticulturists to take care of all the gardens and plants. What a big job.

And finally I include two pictures of the Jimster. For him the most wonderful part of his visit to Busch Gardens was not riding all the roller coasters-two times each, it was not the food or the shows, it was not the great weather and myriad of gardens, no, for the Jimster the best part of the day was the kangaroos. He got to feed them and get up close and personal. While he was feeding the older kangaroos there were several baby kangaroos who were being fed by the workers. The babies were so cute in how they sucked on the over sized bottles.

One of the last things we did before the end of the day was to go back and see the kangaroos. Feeding time in the morning was a time when the kangaroos were very active and sociable. When we went back in the evening the kangaroos were sleepy and just kind of hanging out. Fortunately we snapped a picture of the Jimster in front of this albino kangaroo.

Like all great theme parks Busch Gardens provides nighttime entertainment. The show we went to: which was called Kinetix; was very full but there was still plenty of seating for everyone. We planned all day to see this show and were not disappointed. This Kinetix show was full of energy and marvelous tricks and dances and music. I captured some of the act in this short video. Check it out as you too will be amazed....

in the garden....

Today is Veteran's Day so I think this post and Skeeter's post yesterday come at an opportune time. If you ever get the chance to visit any of the Anheuser Busch Gardens and you are active military be sure to check out the free admittance. Walt Disney also does something like this and perhaps other parks but in my experience none go as far as Anheuser Busch to allow all family members free admittance to their parks.  Happy Veterans' Day!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Hi Tina, so pleased the Jimster loved the kangaroos. My favourite photo is of father and son in front of the giraffes. It is incredible to think how much work it takes to maintain those perfect looking gardens. What a wonderful vacation you're having. cheers, catmint

  2. Beautiful.... I shall read the words when I have time as we are off again....

    Have a great weekend and thanks again on this wonderful day of remeberance....

  3. Thanks for sharing such a great experience with us, love seeing all that beauty! I agree the giraffe topiary sure is cool! Ciao!

  4. Teasing us... Such wonderful images... We are going to welcome our rain season here, so these pictures are very comforting.

  5. Great picture with my fav being the one of the Jimster feeding the kangaroo. I think one of my favorites when I was there was the barn and the Anheuser Busch horses. Those giant horses are just amazing.

  6. Beautiful plantings at Busch Gardens and so nice that you highlighted there policy today. Love the camellia photo at the top. How's the camera?

  7. It's a glorious day in Tuckasee! Especially for raking.

    Catmint, Thanks and cheers! I thought of your kangaroos when I posted these photos.

    Skeeter, Have a safe trip!

    Anonymous, Hey you! Enjoy your day off with the kiddos!

    Tatyana, Thanks!

    Mom, We didn't make it to the barn this trip but those horses are surely great. Big too! Glad you got to visit them.

    Carolyn, Busch really goes above and beyond for the military. The camera is working out okay but I am still figuring it and Picasa out. I have to teach myself and hate siting down to focus on the lessons. Like I finally found out Picasa doesn't actually store photos on the computer-this after looking everywhere for the. Sigh. One of these days I'll get organized-I hope.

  8. We have a season pass for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I love the gardens just as much as I love the rides.

  9. what a nice trip! I've never been to Busch Garden in Florida but I've been many times to the one in VA. I agree with what you say based on my experiences there. Glad you had such a good vacation. It's good for the soul.

  10. Like the photo of father and son in front of the topiaries. A very lovely place for family to enjoy themselves.

  11. Love both Busch Gardens and yes I did know who owned it but not that they give free admission to the great is that...

  12. Tina, thank you so much for your great comments on my Veteran's Day post! I appreciated all you had to say, so much! This is a great post! I didn't know Annheiser Busch offered free tickets to military personnel and families to their parks, and I am so impressed by that! It's a wonderful thing for them to do. Busch Gardens Tampa looks awesome (Have been to Williamburg Busch G and enjoyed it a lot!) and we would loev to go sometime. How sweet that Jim loved the kangaroos so much and got to feed one! The pictures are just wonderful!

  13. We often visited St. Louis for a long weekend when my kids were younger, but I think we never made it to Busch Gardens. Next time (minus the kids, now) I'll have to make a point of visiting there. I think it's great that they offer free passes to military personnel; a much-deserved perk to you and everyone who has sacrificed for their country.

    That's a gorgeous palm tree!

  14. Finally had a chance to read the words! I am most impressed they offer free tickets to military families! A great perk for all you guys have done and continue to do for our country!

    What fun to feed the kangaroos! We have a new exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC with kangaroos. I have visit it since the new arrivals but that day, they were docile and did not come to us for feeding or petting. This exhibit, you walk inside with them and no fence between you and them! So neat. But the albino is a real treat...

    We shall be in the area of Busch Gardens soon and now with your post, We may have to visit them. We have been debating Sea World or Busch Gardens. The Gardens would be a bit of a drive though and may eat up some play time... Hummmm....