tampabay.com

Howl-O-Scream to get permanent Busch home

The theme park is building permanent structures to house the popular mazes.

By MARK ALBRIGHT
Published June 7, 2006



TAMPA — Howl-O-Scream has become enough of an annual rite at Busch Gardens Africa that the theme park is building permanent structures to house the popular mazes.

This October’s Howl-O-Scream will mark the first time none of the Tampa park’s six mazes will be housed under a tent — although one in the bird garden will still largely be an outdoor affair.

Busch already opened a roofed picnic pavilion outfitted with utilities and a concrete floor next to the animal nursery that can be used to house a maze.

Construction last week started on another new 6,000-square-foot building — this one by the bumper car ride — that during the Halloween fete will house the Mortuary, a maze that has been staged in a tent in a parking lot.

Another maze will take over the Ubanga-Banga Bumper car ride again this fall. But Busch’s long-range plan is to build more permanent, fixed structures for haunted houses that can be put to other uses the rest of the year.

''These new structures will allow us to move the Howl-O-Scream mazes into permanent structures a few steps removed from the normal park real estate, so we don’t have to close rides during Howl-O-Scream,” said Busch Gardens spokesman Gerard Hoeppner.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.