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The construction of the Wild Animal Kingdom prompted Busch Gardens to map out a competitive strategy for the coming years in preparation for its first direct competitor in the Florida theme park market.[203][204] The Land of the Dragons opened on May 9, 1995, debuting on a 1.5-acre (0.61 ha) area featuring a large three-story tree house, miniature cars, a ferris wheel, and rope bridge.[205] The dragon rethemed addition was done to update the area and was adopted from its sister park in Williamsburg.[205][206] The success of Kumba prompted the park to file plans for an Egypt section in May that would include the park's fourth roller coaster, shopping, and a train station.[207][208] Additional details of the Egypt land were revealed in August.[209][210] Anheuser-Busch stated its intentions to close the brewery inside the Busch Gardens Tampa location on October 25. The plant on the Busch Gardens property had become the smallest brewery of the company's 13 and was slated to close down because of the decreased beer consumption and high per-barrel costs. The shutdown was part of an overall restructuring effort, with the 17-acre (6.9 ha) land transferred to the park.[211][212] The Monstrous Mamba flat ride closed in the fall season.[119] A safari upcharge attraction was opened to the public in November riding through the Serengeti Plain section.[213] The park's brewery closed in December and was later demolished.[214]


Up to 2000, Busch Gardens' manager, Carson, had replaced several long-time executives and created a new leadership team to rejuvenate the park because of the growing competition from other Florida theme parks. Instead of investing in technologically innovative and expensive rides, the park sought to attract guests through unique experiences with interactive wildlife elements. The park began advertising its location as a holiday destination within the Tampa Bay area as Disney had done in Orlando.[246] To retain attendance from returning visitors, Anheuser-Busch began offering a "Fun Card" to Florida residents at their Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando theme parks beginning in 2000.[246][247] The pass would provide benefits and ability to visit the park to the end of the year and would replace most of its discount programs previously offered.[247][248] Park officials revealed plans to construct Rhino Rally in May, a Land Rover safari attraction for the coming year.[249][250] The revitalized 29-acre (12 ha) land of the Serengeti Plain debuted to the public on June 22, including an add-on tour in a truck through the animal habitat.[251][252] Busch Gardens premiered a Halloween event from the previous year, Howl-O-Scream, in October adopting the event from its sister park in Williamsburg after its success and in hopes of challenging Universal's own Halloween event.[253][254]

The previous Nairobi Field Station was renamed Jambo Junction in January 2008.[289][290] Jungala opened on April 5, at a higher estimated cost of around $40 million. The park section was marketed for age groups between older adolescents and young teenagers, who would be too young for their SheiKra roller coaster but too old for the Land of the Dragons area.[291][292] Belgian brewer InBev was reported in May to make a potential bid for Anheuser-Busch. The bid by InBev came when consolidation of companies was largely taking place and amid national competition for Anheuser-Busch. The Belgian brewer considered the sale of the Busch Entertainment division to help fund its buyout of Anheuser-Busch, which composed of ten theme parks including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.[293][294][295] InBev formally proposed its bid to Anheuser-Busch's board of directors on June 11.[296] By June 26, Anheuser-Busch contemplated restructuring and dropping some of its assets, such as Busch Entertainment, to strengthen its profitability and rationalize its refusal of InBev's bid.[296][297][298] The next day, InBev filed suit to prepare a facilitated takeover bid of Anheuser-Busch through the removal of its board of directors.[296][299] InBev formally drafted its takeover bid on July 7,[296][300] placing speculation as to a possible buyer for Busch parks, anticipated changes to park operations, and its identity.[301]

(Previously called Bud & BBQ and Bands, Brew & BBQ) For the months of March & April, Busch Gardens hosts a series of concerts in Gwazi Field, mostly from classic rock and country music acts. Sometimes the event includes alternative rock, pop, hip hop and R&B acts as well as comedians. Also, there are special culinary offerings that include a variety of ethnic food and wine samplings from various local vendors along the walkway from the Gwazi Roller Coaster to the gate in Gwazi Field. The documentary film Blackfish and a subsequent online petition led to several popular musical groups cancelling performances at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens "Bands, Brew & BBQ" event in 2014.[445][446][447] This caused the removal of the event in Tampa, which was replaced by the annual Food and Wine Festival, resembling the one currently at Epcot in Walt Disney World Orlando. In March, several Latin music acts are hosted on the stage in Gwazi Field. There is a similar culinary setup with special offerings for the concert days as there is for Bands, Brew & BBQ.[448] During summer months, the park stays open later and includes concerts by performers like David Cassidy and Starship with Mickey Thomas. The park's Independence Day festivities add fireworks to the entertainment lineup.[449] 041b061a72

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