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Photo update: Busch Gardens Tampa – New animals, decorations and ride construction

by Banks Lee

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By Kirstin Wright

I took a Sunday stroll through Busch Gardens last week. The purpose of this visit was to check out some of the park’s new animal residents and take a peek at the Falcon’s Fury construction area.

On my way to the Stanleyville Train Station, I found some autumnal decorations; a welcome treat for Florida residents accustomed to our season resistant green trees. One display is in front of Gwazi (below). The other is across from the otter display in Nairobi (top).

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Because the Skyride is closed (it is scheduled to re-open in November), the only way to see the new antellopes and gazelles is to ride the train. Before we get to the new animals, this rhino was eager to visit the train passengers as we made our way to the Nairobi train station.

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After a brief stop at the train station to pick up more passengers, we were on our way to the Edge of Africa, where the new animals live. The sable antellope were the first animals the train narrator mentioned.

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Notice their interesting manes.

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Near the antellope were two new types of gazelles roaming the plain. They are the springbok and Grant’s gazelles. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the white on their backside. The springbok’s white pattern forms a V-shape on their lower back, while the Grant’s gazelles’ white is squared off.

Many of the gazelle were either too far away from the train or sitting under a tree to tell them apart. Regardless, they are striking animals and worth a visit the next time you’re in the park.

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After the train ride, I stopped into the Reptile Hall to see a visitor from the Los Angeles Zoo. Batari is a two-year-old Komodo Dragon. And while she is a VERY big lizard, she’s still a baby Komodo Dragon. The babies can be as heavy as 300 pounds!

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On my way to Timbuktu, I noticed a prop display by the Animal Care Center advertising a new show being filmed at the park, The Wildlife Docs.

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I’ve been making it a point to check up on the progress of Falcon’s Fury construction each time I’m in the park. Even though this facedown drop ride terrifies me, I still get excited over ride construction sites because it means one thing: new thrills!

A wrap advertising the ride surrounds the site.

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I noticed there was a tear in this wrapping near the carousel. The crew was busy at work when I peeked in.

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The best view of the construction site is from the nearby Scorpion coaster.

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I can’t wait until this ride starts to go vertical!

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