Busch Gardens

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Busch Gardens
LocationWilliamsburg, Virginia, U.S. (Busch Gardens Williamsburg), Tampa, Florida, U.S.
(Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
OpenedMarch 31, 1959; 65 years ago (1959-03-31) (as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
May 16, 1975; 48 years ago (1975-05-16) (as Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
OwnerUnited Parks & Resorts
ThemeAnimal park
Operating seasonYear-round (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
Year-round (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)

Busch Gardens is the name of two amusement parks in the United States, owned and operated by United Parks & Resorts. The original park is in Tampa, Florida, and the second park is in Williamsburg, Virginia. There were also previously Busch Gardens parks in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California (1964–1979)[1] and Houston, Texas (1971–1973).[2] The "Busch Gardens" name was earlier used to refer to the gardens developed by Adolphus Busch near his home in Pasadena, California, which were open to the public from 1906 to 1937.[3][4][5]

The Busch Gardens amusement parks were initially developed as marketing vehicles for

Busch Entertainment Corporation
, now called United Parks & Resorts, was created as a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies to run the various parks in 1959.

In 2009,

Clydesdales; however, the Clydesdales are not affiliated with the beer company.[6]


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

SheiKra was the first "dive machine" roller coaster in the United States.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay opened on March 31, 1959, and has an African theme. The park was originally tagged "The Dark Continent."

Gwazi by Rocky Mountain Construction. The park is some distance away from downtown, in central Tampa, near the limits of the city of Temple Terrace
to the east of Tampa.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg opened May 16, 1975. With its European theme, the park was originally tagged "The Old Country." Attractions at this park include Alpengeist, Escape from Pompeii, Apollo's Chariot, Loch Ness Monster and Griffon. Added in 2007, the Griffon coaster had bragging rights as the tallest dive coaster in the United States. The park is divided into seven sections, each themed to a different European country. On July 25, 2009, Busch Gardens announced that the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster would be retired September 7, 2009, after 25 years of operation due to its "meeting the end of its service life." and was replaced with Verbolten - a New Multiple Launch Coaster that opened in 2012. Newly added in 2009 was Christmas Town, A Busch Gardens Celebration, with many themed holiday attractions and shows with eight million lights and a 50-foot Light Animated Christmas Tree. Also in 2010, the 3-D ride Corkscrew Hill was replaced by Europe in the Air, which itself was replaced by a new VR action ride called Battle for Eire in 2018. Also new for 2010 was illumiNights: A Busch Garden Encore, with many mini nightly country shows and nightly fireworks set to a special soundtrack which is available during the special event in many gift shops. In 2010, Busch Gardens announced a drop tower called the Mäch Tower which was set to open in late spring 2011 but was delayed due to train problems from Italy and opened in August 2011. It was announced in late 2022 that the tower was to give its final rides on January 8, 2023. The ride closed permanently on that same day. Tempesto opened in May 2015, as it was part of an addition to the park's Italy section. InvadR, the first ever wooden coaster at Busch Gardens, opened in 2017. Pantheon opened March 25, 2022. Now operates year-round as of 2021.[10][circular reference]

Former parks

Busch Gardens in California

Pasadena (1906–1937)

Long before the current Busch Gardens amusement parks, the name referred to the personal gardens of

The Adventures of Robin Hood (archery scene, 1938),[11] and Gone With the Wind (Twelve Oaks barbecue, 1939).[3][4] Busch's widow offered the gardens to the city of Pasadena on multiple occasions for use as a public park, but the city never accepted the offer.[3][4] Busch Gardens closed in 1937 and the land was later subdivided.[3] The area is now a residential neighborhood, though some of the landscape features of the Busch Gardens era remain.[5]

Van Nuys (1966–1979)

In 1954, a new brewery was opened in Van Nuys. The company opened one of the modern Busch Gardens parks at this site in 1966 that included boat rides, a 10-minute monorail tour of the brewery, and free beer. (Circa 1974, there was a second monorail “which passes through an enormous aviary.”) The park expanded by 5 acres (2.0 ha) in 1972 to a total of 22 acres (8.9 ha). “The new section includes an exciting barrel flume ride; a huge, walk-through flight cage; a magic show; a special show place for otters; penguin and sea lion programs; and an individual boat ride popular with young skippers.”

Bud Light
facility and one of the remnants of the park is the footbridge connecting to the 1972 expansion.

Busch Gardens Houston

Houston's Busch Gardens opened in May 1971 and was closed within a few years. It was located adjacent to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, which opened in 1966. The 40-acre (16 ha) park had an Asian theme except for an ice cave with a temperature controlled environment for several varieties of

narrow gauge railway.[13]

Catalonia, Spain

Anheuser-Busch and Grand Tibidabo, S.A., owners of Tibidabo Amusement Park, in Barcelona, along with other Spanish investors, made plans to build a Tibi Gardens outside of Barcelona, Spain, in the late 1980s.[14] During construction, several of the Spanish investors backed out, and investors from The Tussauds Group stepped in. The park was renamed Port Aventura and when it opened in 1995 in Salou, Spain, Anheuser Busch had a 20% investment in the park while The Tussauds Group had 40%.[15] In 1998 the majority of Tussauds Group's shares in the park were sold to Universal.[16]

Unbuilt parks

Busch Gardens Dubai

In 2008, Busch Entertainment Corporation announced plans to open a new park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2012.[17] It was going to be placed on a man-made island shaped like Shamu in Dubai with SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica also being built on that island. The Dubai park would have added on a third park to the Busch Gardens brand. The plans have been shelved because of financial issues.[18] On February 4, 2009, Busch Entertainment announced that the Dubai plans had been canceled due to the global recession.

Free beer samples

After InBev sold the amusement parks in 2009 to Blackstone, many beer-affiliated traditions ended, including the tradition of offering free beer samples in their Hospitality Centers, and Brewmaster Clubs would come to an end in the parks.[19][20] Also announced was that workers would not get two cases of beer a month for free, which they would receive under old parent Anheuser-Busch.[21] Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has again begun offering free samples in conjunction with limited-time promotions, most recently in 2019 as part of the park's year-long 60th anniversary celebration. Each guest may sample two seven-ounce servings of beer.[22]

See also

Anheuser-Busch owned several other parks. All of these, except Grant's Farm and the former SeaWorld Ohio, were sold to the

Blackstone Group
in 2009:


  1. ^ a b Roger Vincent (June 13, 2008). "Anheuser-Busch has deep ties to Southern California". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b "Houston Past: Busch Gardens (1971-1973)". Houstorian.wordpress.com. April 7, 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  3. ^
    ISSN 0458-3035
    . Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  4. ^ a b c d "Pasadena's Busch Gardens". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  5. ^ a b Hemmerlein, Sandi (2018-01-08). "Was Pasadena Once Home to the '8th Wonder of the World'?". KCET. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  6. ^ Dan Parsons and Tyra M. Vaughn (2010-03-04). "Clydesdales are back at Busch Gardens - Daily Press". Articles.dailypress.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  7. ^ "Busch Gardens, The Dark Continent, Tampa–exotic animals, thrilling rides, dazzling shows". The Milwaukee Sentinel. January 23, 1984. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  8. ^ "Park Map | Busch Gardens Tampa Bay". Buschgardens.com. 2011-04-21. Archived from the original on 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  9. ^ "Busch Gardens' new Cobra's Curse ride coming in 2016 (w/video)". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  10. ^ "Busch Gardens Williamsburg".
  11. .
  12. ^ Sunset Travel Guide to Southern California. Menlo Park, Calif.: Lane Publishing Co. 1974. p. 47. .
  13. ^ "WKT Locomotive Houston". Lagoon is fun. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Richard Schweid (November 2, 1992). "Europe's Second Theme Park Planned in Spain". AP news Archive. Associated Press. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  15. .
  16. ^ "Pearson Completes Tussauds Group Disposal". pearson.com. October 19, 1998. Archived from the original on October 19, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018..
  17. ^ Albright, Mark (February 28, 2008). "Busch plans four parks in Dubai". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  18. ^ Kassab, Beth (February 4, 2009). "No Busch Gardens, SeaWorld for Dubai". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  19. ^ Garcia, Jason (January 6, 2009). "Last call for free beer tasting at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  20. ^ Volkmann, Kelsey (January 5, 2009). "No more free beer at Busch theme parks". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  21. ^ Eckert, Barton (January 5, 2009). "No more free beer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg". Washington Business Journal.
  22. ^ Kennedy Wynne, Sharon (January 2, 2019). "Free beer is back at Busch Gardens for its 60th anniversary". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 15, 2019. The park offered the perk for 50 years when it was owned by Anheuser-Busch and ended the promotion in 2009

External links