This theme park has 10 loosely named African zones, which flow together without much fuss. The entire park is walkable. Admission includes three types of fun: epic roller coasters and rides, animal encounters and various shows, performances and entertainment. All are spread throughout the park, so successful days require some planning: check show schedules before arriving and plan what rides and animals to visit around the shows. Coaster lines only get longer as the day goes on.

Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours activity

Dolphin Cruise from The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay


Egypt Home to the epic Cheetah Hunt, a low-to-the-ground scream-fest meant to mimic a cheetah's acceleration. Another top-notch ride is Montu, the southeast USA's largest inverted steel roller coaster. The Moroccan Palace Theater presents the headliner shows (such as Cirque du Soleil).

Serengeti Plain This 65-acre habitat mimics the African plains, with hundreds of free-roaming animals. You can view it from the Serengeti Railway train ride, but the main access is the Serengeti Safari Tour (from $19 to $39 per person), which lets you out of the truck to feed giraffes, and so on.

Morocco You'll find Gwazi, a huge but traditional wooden coaster, along with monkey and ape encounters. It's close to the other main animal exhibits in Egypt and Nairobi.

Nairobi Devoted mostly to animals, Nairobi has reptiles and nocturnal creatures in Curiosity Caverns, and Jambo Junction lets you pet a flamingo and eyeball cute critters. It's also the location of the Animal Care Center, which offers educational behind-the-scenes tours of vets at work with some of the park's 12,000 animals.

Timbuktu Smaller, carnival-like rides and arcades dominate Timbuktu. The 4-D theater shows are a hoot: shameless 'interactive' fun where the seats goose and douse you.

Pantopia The imaginary Pantopia with its Painted Camel bazaar and animal- and travel-themed dining options opened in 2014. At its center is the park's newest ride, Falcon's Fury, a 335ft-high freestanding drop tower that plunges riders earthwards at 60mph.

Congo The Kumba roller coaster is a long-standing favorite. It features three gulp-inducing loops and a 360-degree spiral. Recover on the Congo River Rapids, a water ride.

Jungala Designed for younger kids, Jungala has a fantastic climbing structure, a splash area and a zip-line ride, as well as encounters with tigers and orangutans.

Stanleyville Another all-star coaster, SheiKra is North America's first dive coaster, which plunges straight down and even goes underground.

Safari of Fun & Bird Gardens The Sesame Street–themed Safari of Fun has awesome fenced-in play and climbing structures and splash zones that will keep kids busy for hours. Don't miss the Elmo and Friends show; reserve ahead to dine with costumed characters. Adjacent Bird Gardens (the seed of the modern park) has the quintessential flock of flamingos and a walk-in aviary.