This year Orlando Millennial was invited to experience Mardi Gras at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for the first time ever! Although we imagine things are different than years past due to enhanced safety measures with COVID, we have to say - Mardi Gras is definitely a MUST this season!
Unlike some of the other festivals at Busch Gardens, where food and drink is more the bottom tier of the festival and the holiday is the main attraction (such as Halloween or Christmas) this festival is A LOT about the food and drink! Now, Mardi Gras may be a religious celebration, but at Busch Gardens, it can be celebrated by all - it really is just a FUN event full of bright colors, New Orleans must, delicious food, strong drinks, and a good time! I personally do not celebrate Mardi Gras, but I will celebrate Mardi Gras any day if it’s at Busch Gardens again- we had a blast!
I recommend arriving early, since this festival starts at noon, so you can enjoy the park all day long. As I have said in some of my other posts, with COVID, I rarely leave the house and only will do outdoors things if I do, so I also do not ride rides right now, but they definitely had the rides going, so if you are currently riding rides - be sure to arrive early to enjoy it all! For me, it was about also getting to see all the animals and get in some of the great walking that you can get in while at this huge park. We got to see all the animals - it was truly the perfect day.
Now, Mardi Gras - as previously mentioned, the food and drink is the main attraction, and I mean it. The food was REALLY good! Some of the items we tried were: the shrimp po’boy and chicken po’boy which both come with their own full bag of Zapps voodoo chips (yes! Full bag!), jambalaya, impossible jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, braised brisket, beignets with rum glazed bananas foster, Hurricanes - punch and traditional, smoked bloody mary, French Quarter salted caramel thrill shake, gold coin mojito, Tampa Vice, Cinnamon spiked dark roast coffee, and jello shooters.
Personal Favorites: Shrimp po’boy and chips, impossible jambalaya, braised brisket, beignets, punch hurricane and the beignets. Honestly though, there wasn’t anything that wasn’t good. We all kept raving at how good all the food was during this festival. We got full, walked around the park, and then ate some more. I recommend getting the Sampler card so that you can try many of the foods and drinks to see what you like. If you are a passholder, you can actually get a 12 punch sampler for the price of a 10 punch; something that isn’t offered to anyone else!
There is a small little pop-up parade that comes by periodically and two different bands that play. We did not explore the bead garden, but it is right near the kangaroos if you are interested.
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We used this as a pretty relaxing girls day of eating and drinking. This festival only lasts until February 16th, so be sure to catch it before it’s gone! After that - it’s Food and Wine Festival - and who doesn’t like a good Food & Wine Festival?
I am a Busch Gardens blogger ambassador. In exchange for sharing upcoming information sometimes I receive complimentary admission to events. As always, all opinions are my own.
Hi all! I'm Michelle and I have been a lifestyle blogger since 2017. I used to host fun networking events around Orlando and now I've decided to take a step back and continue to focus on my favorite part - bringing you all the fun happenings around Central Florida, plus filling you in on my travels, life, and more! I'm a foodie, selfie-taking Millennial that loves spending time at the theme parks, traveling, and spending time with her dog, and trying new wine. I hope you enjoy reading my blog!