Busch Gardens offers new adventures
Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa, Florida, recently unveiled Jungala, a four-acre jungle village filled with exotic animals, rides and attractions.
Set in the Congo area of the park and estimated to have cost $40-45 million, Jungala transports guests to a mythical place where human and animal inhabitants live together in harmony – in fact guests are immersed in the animals’ world. They can peer through underwater windows for a clear view of a tiger swimming in a plunge pool, or climb inside a glass-enclosed dome and get face-to-face. Gibbons, orangutans, lemurs and toucans are also featured in this exotic rainforest environment.
According to Busch Gardens’ general manager and executive vice-president, Donnie Mills, guest surveys indicated that, “an increasingly adventurous age group, the six to 13-year-olds, wanted something unique.”
Two signature rides add to the excitement of Jungala. Jungle Flyers consists of six Skydive ziplines from Heege of Germany, while a 35ft tower ride from Moser Rides called Wild Surge launches 14 passengers out of a simulated mountain crater and above a waterfall. There’s also a three-storey climbing area, Tree Tops Trails, featuring nets, bridges and crawl tubes from tree to tree. A water play area is featured down below.
“We wanted rides that work well in the jungle theme, and that are a fit for families,” adds Mark Rose, Busch Gardens’ vice-president of design and engineering. “That means they appeal to growing kids who might not yet be ready for the 200ft dive of SheiKra, but have graduated from [existing play area] Land of the Dragons.”
“Jungala was largely planned to maximise interaction with the animals,” notes Larry Wyatt of the Wyatt Design Group/MSI, responsible for the overall look and experience of the new area, save for the zoo exhibits (by the Portico Group). “Most of the animals are endangered species from the rainforests and jungles of India and Southeast Asia. Integrating educational messages anout the need to preserve and protect these amazing animals and their environments influenced numerous design decisions. At the same time, we needed to create fun and excitement for visitors, who typically come to a theme park seeking entertainment. We think we were successful in managing this delicate balance.”
“Jungala will serve as an ambassador to animals in the wild and is part of our responsibilities to them,” concludes Ginny Busch of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.