My professors have always stressed the importance of gaining “real world” experience in the public relations field before graduation. Most people wouldn’t consider spending your summer in a theme park “real world” experience, but when you are interning with Busch Gardens’ public relation department it is. I have learned so much about the public relations field, the marketing field as a whole and even some fun zoo facts.
My Internship started with Cheetah Hunt, which defines my entire summer here at Busch Gardens. Some roller coasters start out slow and steady, lifting you up to the top to give you some time to adjust to the idea that you are about to take a crazy ride. However, Cheetah Hunt takes your breath away with the first launch as soon as it starts. My summer definitely started out more like Cheetah Hunt, being thrown into the world of Busch Gardens public relations and the craziness that goes along with opening a new mega-attraction.
I was able to sit in on the final planning meetings to see all the efforts that the marketing team put behind Cheetah Hunt to make it so successful. Then, the day before Cheetah Hunt opened to the public, media from all over the state and 13 other countries came out to experience the mega-attraction. My day consisted of escorting local and international media and helping making sure the day ran smooth.
My crazy ride did not end after media day and neither did my media experience. I had the opportunity to escort media on several other occasions, from a wedding vow renewal at Adventure Island to Brazilian television host Rodrigo Faro andCaras Magazine.
I even had the opportunity take charge of two television shoots for Spotlight on Tampa. The first episode focused on Cheetah Hunt, and the second episode focused on Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts.
Along with the in-park media experience, I was able to assist on media trips to Orlando and Miami too. On the media trips, Busch Gardens took our newest superstars, Kasi and Mtanti, in-studio to news rooms and radio stations to promote Cheetah Hunt.
Besides opening and promoting Cheetah Hunt, I was able to work on National Dance Day. I did everything from brainstorming the ideas to working with various Busch Gardens park departments to make it happen. I wrote blog posts every day for the week leading up to National Dance Day, July 30, then celebrated National Dance Day in-park by working with entertainment to execute the Ultimate Dance Challenge Dance-Off.
Coming into this internship I had little writing experience. I have taken journalism classes in college, but nothing that has given me the writing experience like this internship. With the help of the public relations team, Jill Revelle and Kelly Heckinger, I was able to write numerous press releases and blog posts. They were always there to give a helping hand and edit my work.
I am so thankful that I was launched into this internship this summer. It has provided me with the “real world” experience I was looking for and introduced me to great mentors along the way. I have loved every moment working and learning this summer at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and sad for it to come to an end.