Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring regional theme parks. Lots of fun can be found locally!
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a family friendly adventure park with a European theme. It is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, just a few minutes away from the historic part of that town. Busch Gardens has over 50 rides and attractions, a variety of culinary experiences and entertaining stage shows. This amazing theme park has been named the world’s “Most Beautiful Park” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association every year since 1990, the year my family moved to Virginia. Since we lived right across the river from Williamsburg, Busch Gardens naturally became my home park and I have visited multiple times a year since then. I was even a cast member one summer at a ride that has now since retired. (RIP LeMans race cars!) I have so many fond memories of riding the coasters with my friends as a teenager and as an adult taking my son there to ride his first ride. Busch Gardens has changed so much over the years and now there is so much more to do and see there since I was teenager. So if you have never been, or if it has been years since you have been to Busch Gardens, here’s an overview of what they have.
Sections of the Park
Busch Gardens park layout is in a large loop. As soon as you enter the park, the first country you enter will be England. From there you can chose to go to the right to Scotland and Ireland or take a left and head to Italy. The areas you will encounter as you make this loop are:
- Jack Hanna’s Wild Reserve
- New France
- Festa Italia
Rides & Attractions
There are various types of rides at Busch Gardens, so there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. There are 8 main thrill rides here including the Griffon, which is the tallest and first floorless dive coaster. The Loch Ness Monster is one of the original coasters when the park first opened and has stood the test of time to still be a favorite coaster. Along with the coasters, Festa Italia and Oktoberfest have amusement type rides such as spinning rides and bumper cars.There are three water type rides that are guaranteed to cool you off during the hot summer months. There is also a train that encompasses the park that the whole family can enjoy as well as the Skyride, that gives you a birds-eye view of the park. My personal favorite rides are Apollo’s Chariot and Escape from Pompeii.
There is plenty for the little ones as there are two main areas in the park specifically for kids. There is Sesame Street Forest of Fun that is located near England. This kid-friendly zone has rides, mini coasters and a wet play area. There is even a sing and dance along show with some of your kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters. The second area is Land of Dragons located in Germany. This area is dragon themed, of course, and has a three story treehouse, a few kid-sized rides and a wet play area all for the little ones.
Busch Gardens WIlliamsburg has some fantastic options for entertainment. You have musical shows such as London Rocks and Roll Out the Barrel. There is aslo Celtic Fyre that features some amazing Irish dance numbers. The whole family will enjoy the animal shows in Jack Hanna’s Wild Reserve which are The Secret Life of Predators and More…Pet Shenanigans.
There are lots of great culinary options at Busch Gardens. All of the meals are counter service style meals with the exception of a few table style meals with entertainment they offer around Halloween and Christmas. Each country has a place that features some specialty foods that are native to that country. There are also kiosks that serve drinks and snacks and a Craft Bier Room to try over 30 beers on tap. My favorite places to eat here are Trapper’s Smokehouse which has fantastic hickory smoked ribs, chicken and brisket. My mouth starts to water just thinking of it. I also like Das Festhaus which is only indoor air-conditioned places to eat and also features a show with your meal. Das Festhaus offers a small amount of German food options with American food options for kids and picky adults such as myself.
Each country also have a few shops so you can take home plenty of souvenirs from you day at the parks. Along with souvenir shops for Busch Gardens specific gifts, there are some unique shops that feature specialty artisan gifts and a fun Christmas Shop for holiday decorations year round.
Busch Gardens used to only be open from Spring Break to the end of September. In recent years, they have been planning special events to keep people coming back for most of the year. During the early spring, Busch Gardens offers special concerts weekends in the park. There is the KIDsiderate concert series that hosts popular kid music groups and Glory in the Park which feature Christian bands and singers. In the late spring and early summer Busch Gardens has their Food and Wine Festival. This festival has kiosks scattered around the park that feature sample portion sizes of foods and desserts from around the world. You can read more about my experience from this event here. Since there is a German section at Busch Gardens features Bier Fest during Oktoberfest on select days in September.
In the fall there is the ever popular Halloween event called Howl-O-Scream. This event has grown tremendously over the years and gets scarier and scarier. Each country is decked out in creepy decorations and there are family friendly spooky entertainment. But after 6m, thing get eerie when the haunted houses that are scattered through the park open up and creatures come out to scare you. Read about my adventures at Howl-O-Scream here.
After Thanksgiving, the park is open on certain days for Christmas Town. This is when the park is filled with Christmas lights and decorations. There are carolers who stroll and holiday themed shows. This is a truly magical experience for anyone who loves Christmas. You can read about my holiday trip here.
So as you can see there is plenty to do and see at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For information you can visit the Busch Gardens site. Tickets can be bought through that site as well as at the gate. Busch Gardens offers discounted tickets if you are a military family or have AAA. I have also seen discount tickets on Groupon during certain times of the year as well. If you have plans to stay more than a day, don’t forget Busch Gardens has a great waterpark called Water Country USA! Feel free to comment below or ask any questions you have about Busch Gardens!
Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Regional Theme Parks
- 1st Stop – Love Our Crazy Life | Idaho’s Theme Park- Silverwood
- 2nd Stop – Adventureland Pam | Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- 3rd Stop – Trips with Tykes | California’s Great America with Kids: The Complete Guide
- 4th Stop – This Roller Coaster Called Life | Hersheypark
- 5th Stop – Alway Moving Mommy | Spending a Family Day at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World