Even a year like 2020 couldn't stop this wild party! Busch Gardens' Summer Nights has been an annual tradition at the Tampa Bay theme park since 2003. With shows, food, fireworks and more, this summer celebration is a not-to-be-missed event and one this Frog Fam absolutely plans to return to! Busch Gardens is lighting up the night with festivities running until Sep. 6, 2021, and, this year, there's more fun than ever before — all of which is included with the price of admission! Hop along with us as we discuss all of the excitement Summer Nights has to offer.
Busch Gardens Summer Nights Entertainment
Spark! A Nighttime Spectacular
The biggest and brightest show ever to light the park's sky, "Spark!," features an explosive array of fireworks and exciting effects from dazzling lasers to graceful water elements and dramatic pyrotechnics — all set to head-bopping music, including "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)" by Fall Out Boy and "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses!
Due to popular demand, frogs are able to enjoy this nighttime spectacular every night at 9:15 p.m. from now until Aug. 8, 2021. After that, "Spark!" will continue to illuminate the sky every Friday through Sunday through Sep. 6, 2021, including Labor Day. There's no bad seat in the house (err ... on the Festival Field) but the closer you are to the front, the easier it is to see the incredibly choreographed fountains that dance along to the beat. Truly a frogtastic way to end the night!
Pre-Party On The Festival Pathway
Starting at 8:30 p.m., the Festival Pathway comes alive with glowing lights strung among the trees, live music and more. Take in the spirit of summer as you make your way to the Festival Field where you'll find an open-air dance party. This is your last chance to grab a drink or some snacks, purchase glow-in-the-dark gear and bust a move before showtime. The DJ spun some rockin' tunes and Lily absolutely loved getting down with the dancers in their illuminated costumes!
Also brand new for 2021 is "Cirque Electric," a stunt show featuring world-class acrobats performing daring displays of balance and strength to an electrifying soundtrack with songs like "Warrior" by Hidden Citizens & Rayelle and "Young and Menace" by Fall Out Boy. Every act elicited multiple gasps from the entire Stanleyville Theater as these performers quite literally put their lives on the line. Tad and Lily were on the edge of their seats from start to finish!
Turn It Up!
Returning to the Moroccan Palace Theater is fan-favorite "Turn It Up!," an award-winning show that vibrantly celebrates skating with contemporary performances, aerial moments and dance-in-your-seat tunes, including "Something Bad" by Carrie Underwood & Miranda Lambert and "Me Too" by Meghan Trainor. No need to bring a jacket to this ice show. Even sitting second row, we didn't feel the cold (although both theaters are nicely air-conditioned in the Florida summer heat)!
Open-Air Block Party Plazas
Weather permitting, frogs will find refreshing tunes and classic summer flavors both in between Cheetah Hunt and Cobra's Curse at the Cheetah Hunt Plaza and in the shadow of SheiKra at the Stanleyville Plaza. The DJs will be spinning throughout the evening.
Busch Gardens Summer Nights Dining
Summer Dining Menu
Busch Gardens Tampa has cooked up handheld takes on BBQ classics, such as Loaded Corn Dog Bites, delectable desserts, such as the Summer Sweet Dough Delights, and more that are sure to ignite your senses with delicious bursts of flavor. These summer cookout-inspired dishes can be found along the festival pathway when it opens at 4 p.m. and all day at various locations throughout the park, from restaurants to food and drink booths. The Spark the Night cocktail made with Flor De Caña rum, red passion fruit, pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon and lime was a fun and fruity accompaniment to the dazzling fireworks display. (This and the two other specialty cocktails, the Blue Lagoon and Summer Apple Sour, can be purchased in a refillable illuminated party ball for $4!)
Take in the panoramic view of African animals on the Serengeti Plain at the brand-new Giraffe Bar at Serengeti Overlook. This spacious indoor/outdoor venue offers shade and AC and is a perfect place to hide from those mid-afternoon Florida rains (which we hoppened to be caught in during our visit)! Here you'll find a curated selection of frozen specialty drinks, hand-crafted cocktails, local draft beer flights, wines, spirits and a variety of bar food favorites, as well as multiple TVs so frogs can ribbit for their favorite teams! Mommy Frog and I split a Serengeti Sunrise, a sweet sip inspired by the vivid colors of its namesake. The tadpoles split the Smoked Beef Brisket Mac. Lily wanted to make sure I told you that this dish does have a kick so the spicy-averse might want to go for something a little more safe, such as the Giraffe Shaped Soft Pretzel.
Summer Nights is a roaring good time! What new experiences are you most excited to check out? Already been? Let us know your favorite part of the event in the comments below!