Left the office around 3pm today to put my my Busch Gardens pass to use, decided on a two year pass earlier this year, this is my second time to the park this year, it includes free parking and discounts on food and stuff in the park-even beers! A quick drive of about 20 minutes from South Tampa to the park, no traffic at this time on the roadways, and nearly no one in the park. It's nice just to be able to relax, walk around the gardens, see some wild things, maybe hit a roller coaster or two..very relaxing end of the day. We tried some Shock Top brand beers from Anheiser-Busch, tasted just like Blue Moon. I was surprised at the amount of new beers they are coming out with, Bud Lights now have lime, lots of different types of energy drinks, and also mixing half and half of one type of beer with another. The Jungala exhibit was just opened last month, and seemed to be more for the kids, with lots of interactive exhibits and play areas, I did finally get to see a Gibbon in person which was very cool to watch. It was kind of sad not to see The Python rollarcoaster there anymore, as that was the very first coaster I ever rode, my Uncle and one of my older brothers must have rode it about a dozen times before they could get my butt on it, and ever since, I have loved rollar coasters..the bigger the better!!
After the Gardens we went to dinner on Davis Islands, a very unique and interesting part of the downtown Tampa area, Davis Islands is its own community unto itself with a small airport, major hospital and trauma center, community college, authentic main street with a dozen different types of eateries, playgrounds, ballparks, tennis complexes, and full marina, a beach and dog park, and lots of water everywhere.
I received a $25 gift cert from my friends at another blog site SOHOTAMPA.com, so it was off to Ricks Italian Cafe. Driving onto the Islands from Bayshore Blvd near downtown Tampa is like escaping to a Mediterranean oasis, with historic apartment buildings scattered amongst million dollar homes, there are no high rises here except for Tampa General Hospital. Rick's had a guitarist playing on the outside patio, it was another dry and breezy evening so we decided to take advantage of this, immediately as we sat, we were offered menu's and drinks...we ordered the Veal Brisoile, excellent Veal wrapped around mozzarella and Canadian bacon, and also the Trip Around Italy with ravioli, sausage, meatball, and eggplant, both served with a side of pasta, garden salads and vege of the day which was Italian greens and green beans in a garlic-oil, and fresh rolls dusted with parm cheese and garlic butter. Both good meals, Rick's isn't the best Italian, but makes do as a local Italian place for the Davis Islanders, and nice to sit outside along the Blvd and watch the people walk around, and listen to some live music....afterwards we walked over to the Channel, overlooking million dollar homes along Harbour Island and incredible views of downtown Tampa skyline. You can also sit and watch the HUGE ships coming in and out of the Port of Tampa as well. Davis Islands is a nice local escape, and you would never know you were in Tampa, except for the tops of the skyscrapers peering out every now and then as you walk along the Main Blvd.