Guests at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay can feed sloths and pet rhinos in new 'Encounter' tours


  • Image via Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Even as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay focuses on upcoming big thrill attractions, the animals at the park aren’t being overlooked. Two new upcharge tours provide guests with unique behind-the-scenes experiences.
One tour gives guests a 30-minute visit with the park's numerous sloths, while the other is a 45-minute rhino experience. Both include talks by animal caretakers and the opportunity to feed the animals.

The Sloth Encounter offers a tour of the sloth habitat in the Animal Connections building as well as an up-close, hands-on visit with multiple sloth species. The Rhino Encounter features an off-road safari through the 65-acre "African veldt" that the rhinos call home; guests can hand-feed an endangered black rhino. Similar to the sloth tour, guests on the rhino tour will also see rhino care firsthand and have the chance to pet white rhinos.

These new tours are two of more than 10 that the park offers. Other upcharge behind-the-scenes tours including tigers, gorillas, African penguins and elephants. Tours start at just $59.99 per person, with advance reservations strongly encouraged. Both the sloth and rhino tour require all guests to be at least 8 years old. The rhino tour also requires guests to be least 54 inches tall to participate. Closed-toed shoes are also mandatory. At this time, neither tour is wheelchair accessible. For those seeking a full-day experience the six-and-a-half hour “Keeper for a Day” program includes multiple animal experiences. Advance reservations are required for the “Keeper for a Day” tour as well.

All tours require park admission and are not included in the tour price. Annual Passholders receive a 10% discount on most tours.

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