Cheers! Busch Gardens’ gift to you for the park’s 60th birthday celebration: Free beer

Florida amusement park Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is bringing back a crowd favorite for its 60th anniversary: free beer.

Throughout 2019, guests age 21 and up can enjoy two complimentary 7-ounce beers during each visit.

The suds gratis will pour from taps at the Garden Gate Café and the Serengeti Overlook Pub within the theme park.

Free beer was a beloved constant at Busch Gardens for decades.

The tradition started in 1959 on the grounds of beer-maker Anheuser-Busch’s new brewery and bottling plant. At the time, guests could tour the plant and then enjoy a stroll through gardens, see tropical birds and sip beer at a hospitality house — all for free.

The grounds eventually developed into a full-fledged theme park with admission prices, but the free beer stuck around.

That lasted until 2009, when Blackstone Group purchased SeaWorld and Busch Gardens from InBev and subsequently canned the concept.

Last summer, free beer was temporarily reintroduced at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld locations. SeaWorld CEO John Reilly gives the promotion partial credit for a bump in park attendance and revenue, so it’s no wonder they are bringing it back.

These days, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is known for its boundary-pushing roller coasters and expansive wildlife exhibits.

In addition to lions, tigers and beers, there will be lots of extras for visitors to enjoy during the park’s 60th birthday year.

Busch Gardens is promoting 52 weeks of events in honor of the anniversary. They include a food and wine festival, a conservation speaker series, Sesame Street safaris, visits from Guy Harvey and Jack Hanna and annual holiday attractions Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town.

A new roller coaster is also set to debut this spring. Dubbed Tigris, it will be Florida’s tallest launch roller coaster at 150 feet, according to the company.

And in late summer there’s something special in store just for beer lovers. From Aug. 17-Sept. 8, “Bier Fest” will bring local and international beers to the park for a modern take on Oktoberfest.

Until then, the free beer is flowing.

A couple of important caveats: a valid I.D. is required to partake, and the offer will not be available during the park’s annual Howl-O-Scream event this fall.

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