Thursday, April 14, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 2

me and flamingos at Busch Gardens
Newsflash: Sometimes Florida gets hit by severe thunderstorms. But we didn't let the bad weather ruin our second day. The plan was to pack a lunch and drive down to Tampa to do Busch Gardens. We waited until the severe thunderstorm warning expired before leaving the hotel. By the time we got to Busch Gardens (which is kind of in a sketchy area) the rain had stopped and it was lunchtime. Oh, and the park was empty. So empty in fact that we got to park in the preferred lot. There are perks to rain!

No gluten-free eats at Busch Gardens, hence the packed lunch. We ate before going into the park.

There are some cool rides at Busch Gardens, but you can't bring loose items (purses, glasses, etc.) onto them. There are lockers at each of the rides and for 50 cents you can store your stuff while you ride. We did one locker and rode three rides, then went back and got our stuff before moving to another section of the park and renting a locker at one of the rides there.

Montu was a fun (and smooth) ride. Gwazi and Kumba were cool rides, too. You will get SOAKED on the Congo River Rapids, so only ride it if it is sunny and hot outside. There is a new roller coaster opening up at the end of May called Cheetah Hunt. Part of the park was under construction because of it and we were able to see some of the new coaster on our safari train ride.

After Busch Gardens we drove to St. Petersburg for a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. But before the game we stopped at Maggiano's for some gluten-free pasta. Maggiano's is a chain restaurant that offers family style dining as well as individual plates. They don't have a specific gluten-free menu but all you have to do is tell the server you are gluten-free and he will be able to help you. Everything is made from scratch in-house so there are no weird ingredients. My husband got chicken parm with corn pasta and no breading on the chicken. If you tolerate gluten, might I suggest the four-cheese ravioli? So good. And it's under the Buy One Get One Free section of the menu. I'm not kidding. For $12 I got ravioli and a take-home container of another pasta of my choice (fettucini alfredo), which I ate for dinner the next night. (Another reason to have a cooler in your car and a fridge in your hotel room.)

Gluten Free Ballpark Favorites at Tropicana Field
We got to the Rays game at Tropicana Field with full stomachs, but that didn't stop us from sampling the food at the Gluten-Free Ballpark Favorites stand inside the stadium. Before leaving at the end of the 6th inning (the Rays were losing), my husband got a gluten-free hot dog on a tapioca flour bun. He said it was good. The stand also serves gluten-free beer, so if you find yourself at a Rays game, you can still nosh on classic baseball food. (Other baseball stadiums, such as Yankee Stadium and Busch Stadium, are also offering gluten-free items.)

Up next... going to Hogwarts, Animal Kingdom, and more!


  1. Glad you were able to find some GF restaurants and good eats!!! Looks like you had fun!

  2. Awesome! As long as you're willing to drive, we actually have a lot of options here.