A large park with many slides and watery diversions, Adventure Island can provide many hours of fun and relief from the Florida sun. Among its highlights are Riptide, a four-lane mat racing slide, and Wahoo Run, a partly enclosed family raft ride. Thrill-seekers would enjoy the Gulf Scream speed slide as well as the intertwined, double slides on the Caribbean Corkscrew. In 2015, the park added Colossal Curl. Passengers in four-passenger rafts ride through an enclosed slide, enter a mini funnel, and drop into a half-pipe element for some negative G-forces.
For younger children, Adventure Island offers a number of attractions, including dozens of interactive water elements at Paradise Lagoon and pint-sized fun at Fabian’s Funport. Everyone can enjoy the Rambling Bayou lazy river and the Endless Surf wave pool. There are also volleyball courts.
Compared to other major water parks, Adventure Island comes up short in signature attractions, however. It does not have a water coaster, bowl ride, or half-pipe ride, for example. Unlike other theme park/water park hybrids, Adventure Island and Busch Gardens Tampa are not really designed for guests to travel back and forth and sample attractions from each park in a single visit. The two parks have separate gates and separate admission fees. And while the parks are near one another, they are not adjacent and are not easily accessible from each other.
New at the Park
For the 2020 season, the water park debuted Solar Vortex. Adventure Island bills the attraction as “America’s first dual-tailspin water slide.” Passengers pile into large, circular rafts an navigate two tailspin elements, which whip them about 180 degrees around what looks like half of a bowl in a bowl slide. Solar Vortex also includes cool lighting effects which use natural sunlight to illuminate the otherwise dark, enclosed tube.
In 2018, Adventure Island welcomed Vanish Point. The three-slide tower includes two with launch capsules. Passengers climb in, hear an ominous heartbeat, and then a countdown. That’s followed by the opening of a trap door in the floor that releases riders into a nearly vertical drop. After about a 20-foot freefall, riders navigate a twisty 425-foot enclosed tube slide. The third slide does not include a launch capsule. After given the okay sign by the ride operator, passengers launch themselves down the tube. Vanish Point weaves in and around the park’s Colossal Curl raft ride.
Admission Policy and Operating Schedule
Adventure Island requires separate admission from Busch Gardens Tampa. Combo two-park, three-park, and four-park tickets are available that include SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Busch Gardens as well as Adventure Island. Reduced price for children up to 9 years old. Ages 3 and under are free.
It is virtually always less expensive to purchase passes in advance online from the park than at the gate. The park often offers a Fun Card that includes a season pass for the price of a single-day ticket. Season passes and special promotions are available for Florida residents.
Private cabanas are available for rent. Adventure Island offers a Quick Queue pass for an additional fee that allows visitors to bypass lines for some of the more popular attractions. The park also offers an all-day dining deal that allows guests to get an entree, side or dessert, and a beverage as often as once per hour.
Adventure Island is generally open daily from April through August. It is also open weekends and selected weekdays in March, September, and October. The park is closed November to February.
What's to Eat?
The SeaWorld parks (of which Adventure Island is a part) are known to have decent food. Options include the usual fast food and park suspects as well as flatbreads, fresh salads, wraps, and Italian sandwiches. Duval Street Grill specializes in fajitas, while the Island Taco Truck offers (you guessed it) tacos as well as chips and salsa, taco salads, and other Mexican favorites. Treats include frozen drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic), waffle cones, smoothies, and sundaes. The park often has special offers such as a pay-one-price, all-day dining deal.
Location and Directions
The park is located near Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. The actual address is 10001 N. McKinley Drive.
From Orlando: I-4W to I-75. Head NORTH on I-75 to Exit 265, Fowler Ave. Bear left on exit ramp onto Fowler Avenue. Go west on Fowler Ave. to McKinley Drive on left.
From the North: I-75S to I-275S to Exit 51, Fowler Ave. Go left (east) onto Fowler Ave. to McKinley Drive.
From the South: I-75N, past the I-4 intersection, to Exit 265, Fowler Ave.Bear left on exit ramp onto Fowler Avenue. Go west on Fowler Ave. to McKinley Drive on left.
Other Area Parks to Explore
- Discovery Cove- Swim with the dolphins experience at SeaWorld Orlando
- Typhoon Lagoon- Water park at Walt Disney World
- Blizzard Beach- Water park at Walt Disney World
- More Florida water parks