Happy 2013! We wanted to give you an overview of the major special events coming to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens this year to help as you plan “When to Visit.” These special events (as well as some of the smaller events) are listed on our crowd calendar, which is another great tool for planning your vacation.
Special events are listed in the order that they begin throughout the year. Dates have not been announced for all of these events, but rest assured, we’ll add them here as soon as they are!
Just For Kids Festival (SeaWorld)
SeaWorld’s Just For Kids Festival takes place on select Saturdays in January and February. Event dates for this year are Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2. Highlights of the Just For Kids Festival are the live concerts featuring kid favorites such as Max & Ruby and Choo-Choo Soul, kid-sized rides in Shamu’s Happy Harbor and fun meet-and-greets. 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. The Real Music Concert Series event dates for this year are Jan. 16-19, Jan. 23-26, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, Feb. 6-9, Feb. 13-16, Feb. 20-23, and Feb. 27-March 2. Guest bands include The Terry Meyers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters, Frankie Avalon, The Osmond Brothers and Rita Coolidge. Concerts are held at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Real Music Concert Series is included with regular admission to Busch Gardens.
Real Music Concert Lineup
Jan. 16-19 The Terry Myers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters
Jan. 23–26 The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
Jan. 30–Feb. 2 Chubby Checker
Feb. 6–9 Paul Revere & The Raiders
Feb. 13–16 Sha Na Na
Feb. 20–23 Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
Feb. 27-March 2 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
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. The Bands, Brew & BBQ event dates for SeaWorld are Feb. 9-10, Feb. 16-17, Feb. 23-24, March 2-3, March 9-10 and March 16-17. The Bands, Brew & BBQ dates for Busch Gardens are Feb. 10, 17, 24, and March 3. Bands, Brew & BBQ is included with regular admission to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
SeaWorld 2013 Bands, Brew & BBQ Concert Lineup:
Feb. 9 Chris Young with Jerrod Niemann
Feb. 10 Merle Haggard
Feb. 16 The Beach Boys
Feb. 17 Styx
Feb. 23 Big & Rich
Feb. 24 Third Eye Blind
March 2 Daryl Hall & John Oates
March 3 Darius Rucker
March 9 Michael McDonald
March 10 Josh Turner
March 16 Rodney Adkins with Uncle Kracker
March 17 Sheryl Crow
Busch Gardens 2013 Bands, Brew & BBQ Concert Lineup:
Feb. 10 John Kay & Steppenwolf
Feb. 17 Barenaked Ladies
Feb. 24 The Doobie Brothers
March 3 The Goo Goo Dolls
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. Viva La Musica takes place on Saturdays, April 13, 20, 27 & May 4 at SeaWorld and on Sundays, April 14, 21, 28 & May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) at Busch Gardens. Viva La Musica is included with regular admission to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
SeaWorld’s Viva La Musica full lineup:
April 13 Daddy Yankee
April 20 Willie Colón
April 27 Grupo Manía
May 4 El Gran combo
Busch Gardens 2013 Viva La Musica Concert Lineup:
April 14 Ednita Nazario
April 21 Oscar D’Leon
April 28 Milly Quezada
May 5 El Gran Combo
Jack Hanna Weekend (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
Internationally known animal expert Jack Hanna pays a visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on May 18 and 19. 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 Busch Gardens.
June – August
Summer Nights (SeaWorld)
Summer Nights is a summer special event at SeaWorld that will run from June 22 until August 11. Highlights of Summer Nights at SeaWorld include special nighttime shows like Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonite 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 that will run from June 8 until Aug. 18. 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
Jack Hanna Weekend (SeaWorld)
Jack Hanna Weekend has moved this year from spring to fall SeaWorld and will take place Sept. 14-15. 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.
Howl-O-Scream (Busch Gardens)
Howl-O-Scream is an annual Halloween event that takes place on select nights at Busch Gardens. 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.
Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26.
Hours are 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursdays and 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
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.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld hosts an annual Christmas Celebration each winter. 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.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens Tampa decks its halls with 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 has been held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in December. Last year, Christmas Town ended each evening with a performance by Grammy-winning Christian act Jars of Clay.
For more help in deciding when to visit, check out our crowd calendar, refurbishments and closings page, and seasonal packing lists. You’ll find more resources for when to visit inside our Planning Page!