TAMPA, Fla. – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is undergoing a leadership change.

What You Need To Know

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay getting new park president

  • Neal Thurman to take on the role

  • Current park president Stewart Clark taking on new role within the company

  • Thurman recently served as president of Six Flags Magic Mountain

Neal Thurman, most recently president of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles, has been named the park president of Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island.

Thurman will replace Stewart Clark, who will be taking on a new role as Senior VP of Zoo Commercial Operations for SeaWorld Parks. Clark has been president of Busch Gardens since 2017.

The leadership change will take effect September 8.

“To propel Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island into the future, we are thrilled to welcome Neal Thurman to our team,” a SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment spokeswoman said in a statement to Spectrum News. “Neal is an experienced theme park industry leader who joins us after 25 years with Six Flags.”

Prior to his position at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Thurman also served as president of Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

SeaWorld, which began reopening its parks in June, has taken a financial hit because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The company, earlier this month, revealed revenue and attendance were down at its parks due to temporary closures.

The company’s new attractions that were set to debut this year are now slated to open in 2021, including Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.