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Busch Gardens Summer Nights brings after-dark entertainment June 28 to Aug. 17

Much of the fun takes place in Gwazi Park, near the coaster.
Much of the fun takes place in Gwazi Park, near the coaster.
Barb Nefer

Summer is just around the corner, and Busch Gardens Tampa is celebrating with a return of its wildly popular Summer Nights. This year, the event will run every night from June 28 to August 17, with extended park hours until 9 p.m. and special entertainment that includes the following:

From June 28 through Aug. 17, guests can take advantage of extended park hours, special entertainment, high-energy DJs and the thrill of riding world-class coasters in the dark.

Kinetix

This popular award-winning Kinetix show returns to Summer Nights with a blend of high-energy music and astounding acrobatics. It features live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world. Their thrilling performance, along with modern music and pyrotechnic effects, get the crowd pumped every Sunday through Friday in Gwazi Park at 9 p.m. Gates open at 8 p.m., and if you arrive early, you'll snare a good spot and get to enjoy the Party Starters’ pre-show interactive games and dancing.

Summer Nights Concerts

This is a brand-new offering in Gwazi Park that features Saturday-night concerts with pop, R&B, alternative and Latino artists. Guests can also indulge in summer-favorite grilled food items and a selection of craft beers. The concerts are included with your regular park admission ticket, and viewing spots are first come, first served. The music starts at 8:30 p.m. each Saturday, followed by an explosive fireworks finale. Note: Kinetix will not take place on concert nights.

Opening Night Critters

Summer brings this brand-new animal "tail" in which a couple of human stage hands join a talented animal cast in the newly-renovated Pantopia Theater. You'll see both domestic and exotic critters.

Fireworks Every Night

Every Summer Nights evening is capped by an amazing fireworks finale. The incredible aerial display is set to a score of popular music. You'll get the best views are in Gwazi Park, right after the nightly Kinetix show, but you can see the fireworks from pretty much anywhere in the dark.

Night is also the perfect time to explore the new Pantopia area. Enjoy rides like Scorpion, Phoenix and the Grand Caravan Carousel and chow down on fresh-rolled pretzels and craft beer selections at Twisted Tails Pretzels. If it's hot out, delicious snow cones and smoothies at Lynx Frozen Treats will cool you down. You'll marvel at the open-fire grill at the all-new Dragon Fire, which serves ribs, sausages and kabobs.

That's plenty of fun for the summer, but if you're an annual pass holder and want to get an early start, jump here to read about Sidewalk Safari Nights.

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