From Summer Nights at SeaWorld to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, there are a number of exciting special events that take place at these two parks throughout the year. Here is an overview of the major ones to help as you plan ‘When to Visit.’
(The events are listed in the order that they begin throughout the year.)
Just For Kids Festival (SeaWorld)
SeaWorld’s Just For Kids Festival takes place on select Saturdays in January and February. In 2012, the event dates were Jan. 14, 21 and 28; Feb. 4. Highlights of the Just For Kids Festival are the live concerts featuring kid-favorites such as Max & Ruby and Choo-Choo Soul, the kid-sized rides in Shamu’s Happy Harbor and the fun music treats. Just For Kids is included with regular admission to SeaWorld.
January – March
Real Music Concert Series (Busch Gardens)
The Real Music Concert Series is a Big Band concert series held each winter/spring at Busch Gardens. In 2012, the Real Music Concert Series event dates are Jan. 18-21, Jan. 25-28, Feb. 1-4, Feb. 8-11, Feb. 15-18, Feb. 22-25, Feb. 29-March 3, March 7-10, March 14-17 and March 21-24. Guests bands include The Terry Meyers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters, Frankie Avalon, The Osmond Brothers and Rita Coolidge. Click here for a complete concert line-up. Real Music Concert Series is included with regular admission to Busch Gardens.
February – March
Bands, Brew & BBQ (SeaWorld & Busch Gardens)
Bands, Brew & BBQ is a special event held every spring at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. The parks partner with favorite local restaurants to bring a rich variety of BBQ and grilled food. There are also beer gardens at each park featuring specialty craft beers from domestic and international breweries. The highlight of Bands, Brew & BBQ are the incredible concerts with top artists in classic rock and country music. In 2012, Bands, Brew & BBQ event dates are Feb. 11-12, Feb. 18-19, Feb. 25-26 and March 3-4. Bands, Brew & BBQ is included with regular admission to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
SeaWorld 2012 Bands, Brew & BBQ Concert Line-Up:
Feb. 11: Foreigner
Feb. 12: Gary Allan
Feb. 18: Trace Adkins
Feb. 19: Kenny Rogers
Feb. 25: Doobie Brothers
Feb. 26: Ronnie Dunn
March 3: Sara Evans
March 4: Scotty McCreery
Busch Gardens 2012 Bands, Brew & BBQ Concert Line-Up:
Feb. 12: Lynyrd Skynard
Feb. 19: Bret Michaels
Feb. 26: 38 Special
March 4: REO Speedwagon
Jack Hanna Weekend (SeaWorld)
Jack Hanna Weekend is held each spring at SeaWorld. In 2012, Jack Hanna Weekend will take place March 24-25. Event highlights include autograph opportunities with “Jungle Jack” Hanna as well as special shows and demonstrations. Hanna’s past “co-stars” have included clouded leopards, kookaburra birds and majestic eagles. Jack Hanna Weekend is included with regular admission to SeaWorld.
April – May
Viva La Musica (SeaWorld & Busch Gardens)
Viva La Musica is held each spring at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens and celebrates the sights and sounds of Latin culture. Highlights include live concerts by internationally renowned Latin musical artists. Guests can also sample spicy, flavorful Latin food. In 2012, Viva La Musica takes place on Saturdays, April 14, 21, 28 & May 5 at SeaWorld and on Sundays, April 15, 22, 29 & May 6 at Busch Gardens. Viva La Musica is included with regular admission to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
SeaWorld 2012 Viva La Musica Concert Line-Up:
April 14: Elvis Crespo
April 21: Grupo Niche
April 28: RKM & Ken-Y
May 5: Gilberto Santa Rosa
Busch Gardens 2012 Viva La Musica Concert Line-Up:
April 15: Victor Manuelle
April 22: Grupo Mania
April 29: Dyland & Lenny
May 6: To Be Announced
June – August
Summer Nights (SeaWorld)
Summer Nights is a summer special event at SeaWorld. In 2012, Summer Nights at SeaWorld will run from June 23 until August 12. Highlights of Summer Nights at SeaWorld include special nighttime shows like Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonight as well as the nightly fireworks and fountains finale, Reflections. The park remains opens until 10 p.m. during the special event. Summer Nights at SeaWorld is included with regular theme park admission.
Summer Nights (Busch Gardens)
Summer Nights is also a summer special event at Busch Gardens. In 2012, Summer Nights at Busch Gardens will run from June 9 until August 12. Highlights of Summer Nights at Busch Gardens include special shows and evening entertainment such as returning favorite, Kinetix, and a nightly finale with fireworks in Gwazi Park. Summer Nights at Busch Gardens is included with regular theme park admission.
September – October
Howl-O-Scream (Busch Gardens)
Howl-O-Scream is an annual Halloween event that takes place on select nights at Busch Gardens. In 2012, Howl-O-Scream will be held on select nights from September 21 through October 27. Highlights of Howl-O-Scream include terrifying haunted houses, special entertainment and shows and experiencing the thrill rides at night. Howl-O-Scream contains adult content and is not intended for children. This is a separately ticketed special event and is not included with regular admission to Busch Gardens.
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is a family-friendly Halloween event that takes place each weekend in October. Highlights of the special event include trick-or-treating throughout SeaWorld with fun treasure maps, Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween Live Musical Stage Show, Penelope’s Party Zone with interactive games and activities, and fanciful sea creatures mingling with guests. SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is included with regular theme park admission. 2012 dates are: Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 26-28.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld hosts an annual Christmas Celebration each winter. In 2012, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration will take place from November 23 until December 31. Highlights of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration are the sparkling Sea of Trees which light up the water, THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience where guests can take a journey to the North Pole, and special holiday versions of shows such as Shamu Christmas – Miracles, A Sesame Street Christmas and Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas. At the end of each night, guests can watch the special fireworks show, Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is included with regular theme park admission.
Busch Gardens Tampa decks its halls with its first-ever Christmas Town, a wintery wonderland with special events and activities, including real snow for the kids to play in, performances from world-class ice skaters and visits from Santa. This separately ticketed event, held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through Dec. 23, ends each evening with a performance by Grammy-winning Christian act Jars of Clay.