Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, formerly known as Busch Gardens Europe and Busch Gardens: The Old Country is a theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia.



Busch Gardens Timeline

1969 - Anheuser-Busch buys 3,000 acres of land alongside the beautiful James River

1975 - Busch Gardens opens featuring England, Scotland, France, and Germany

1976 - Oktoberfest debuts

1978 - Loch Ness Monster roller coaster opens

1980 - Italy, the park’s fifth country, opens

1984 - The Big Bad Wolf roller coaster opens

1987 - Festa Italia rides area opens

1988 - Roman Rapids white water raft ride opens

1994 - Land of the Dragons children’s adventure attraction debuts

1995 - Escape From Pompeii debuts

1997 - Alpengeist roller coaster opens

1998 - “Pirates,” a 4-D high-tech comedy adventure debuts, “American Jukebox” takes center stage at the Canadian Palladium

1999 - Apollo’s Chariot roller coaster opens, “Howl-O-Scream” debuts

2000 - Jack Hanna’s Wild Reserve opens

2001 - Ireland, the park’s sixth country, opens

2005 - “Curse of DarKastle” opens

2006 - “Emerald Beat” and “Kinetix” debuts

2007 - Griffon opens May 25

2009 - Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens debuts,Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration debuts

2010 -“IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens Encore” debuts, “Celtic Fyre” debuts,“Europe in the Air” debuts .

Busch Gardens opened in 1975, near the colonial capital of Williamsburg, Virginia. Originally called “The Old Country,” planning for this park began in the mid-1960’s when the company started looking for a place to build a new brewery. In 1969, the company purchased a 3,000-plus acre tract of land just east of Williamsburg on the James River. According to a Sept. 17, 1969 Wall Street Journal article, the tract would be used to build a brewery, a residential development and recreation attraction. Company officials were quoted as saying the company “has been actively studying the land development business for the past 12 months as part of its long-range diversification program.” As a condition of the sale, Busch Gardens could not use an “early American” theme, since it could detract from the historical site located in Williamsburg. Construction of the brewery began soon afterward and was completed in 1971. Then in April 1973, the company’s board of directors approved plans for a 300-400 acre theme park on the site adjacent to the brewery.

On May 10, 1975, “The Old Country” opened to the public after many months of planning and construction. A formal dedication ceremony was held on May 16, 1975 and was described in detail in the May 17, 1975 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The article stated, “More than 6,000 guests led by Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. and television personality Ed McMahon dedicated and officially opened The Old Country as Busch Gardens.” When Busch Gardens opened, it featured England, Scotland, France, and Germany. Today, Busch Gardens features England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy.

It was clear after the first season that Busch Gardens was successful and plans for future expansion were implemented. Today, Busch Gardens has been voted the world’s “Most Beautiful Park” for 20 consecutive years by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. More than 50 thrilling rides, attractions and shows fill the park, 40 of which are kid-friendly.

Get in

Busch Gardens

One Busch Gardens Blvd.

Williamsburg, VA 23187

Exit 243A on I-64

Nearby Airports include:

Banbury Cross


The Globe Theatre 900-seat 4-D theater. As of November 2010, currently showing Sesame Street's "Lights, Camera, Imagination!" Guests see, hear, and feel the show.

Banbury Cross Fashioned after England, complete with stereotypical red telephone booths and common English architecture. A variety of shops await guests in this small hamlet. Guest Services windows are located next to the turnstiles of the Main gate. A simulacrum of the famous St. Stephen's Clock Tower (Big Ben) is the central element of this area. Banbury Cross also includes The Squire's Galley, serving breakfast and lunch, as well as a funnel cake shop, ice cream shop, and candy store. The Globe Theatre, a double-sized replica of William Shakespeare's performance home, is the most prominent attraction in the area, currently featuring Sesame Street presents Lights, Camera, Imagination!, a 4-D film. The theater previously featured the films Pirates, starring Eric Idle and Leslie Nielsen, R. L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse, and Haunts of the Old Country. Prior to the 4-D films, the theater hosted a variety of live shows including Mark Wilson's Worlds Greatest Illusions, America on Ice, Hot Ice, Celebrate America and the People's Choice. Banbury Cross also contains the skyride station nearest to the Main Gate. The Aeronaut (first leg) of the skyride departs to Aquitaine, France, while the Zeppelin (third leg) skyride arrives from Rhinefeld, Germany.

Loch Ness Monster, worlds first interlocking loop roller coaster.

Heatherdowns is a quaint Scottish hamlet situated at the top of the hill on the path leading from Banbury Cross, England. It is the second of Busch Gardens' European hamlets. Tweedside Train Station offers a 20 minute ride through the park with additional stops in Festa Italia and at the central train station, Caribou, in New France. Tweedside Gifts is located adjacent to the train station and offers a variety of gift items. Heatherdowns is also home to the Highland Stables featuring Scottish Blackface sheep, Border collies, Clydesdales and birds of prey. The stables highlight Scottish traditions dating back hundreds of years. Guests can interact with the animals and see them in action as they demonstrate their skills during daily demonstrations. Prior to 2010, the stables were home to several of the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales until the theme park unit of Anheuser-Busch was sold in 2009. Other points of interest include Pigs in a Kilt, a counter service walk-up.


Bistro 205 (France) All you can eat buffet that includes: Fried Chicken, Hot Dogs, Salad Bar, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cut Corn, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Dinner Roll, Hot Apple Crisp, Chocolate Pudding, Tea, Assorted Soft Drinks

The British Baker (England) Sweet shop offering: Funnel Cakes, Assorted Pepsi Products, Water

Cafe Lulu (New France) Cute cafe offering: Smoked Turkey Legs, Jumbo Soft Pretzels, Nachos with Chili and Cheese, Fresh Churros with Sugar and Cinnamon, Fresh Fruit Smoothies, Frosted Lemonade, Iced Coffees, Assorted Pepsi Products, Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Coffee, Milk, Water, Hot Chocolate, Anheuser-Busch Beverages

Dine at Castle O'Sullivan (Ireland) Dine with the Sesame Street gang at this buffet. Reservations recommended. Offers: Chicken tenders, Hot dogs, Pork loin with red onion marmalade, Beef fajitas, Tortellini with a buttery white sauce, BBQ chicken, Macaroni & cheese, Cheesy hash browns, Pasta salad, Tossed salad, Rolls, Soft drinks, Assorted desserts

Das Edelweiss (Rhinefield) Traditional German ice cream and sweet shop. Includes: Funnel Cakes, Strawberry Parfait, Fresh Cut Watermelon, Fresh Fruit Smoothies, Milk, Fresh Brewed Iced Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Lemonade, Assorted Pepsi Products

Das Festhaus (Oktoberfest) Large variety of lunch and dinner meals available.

Trapper's Smokehouse (New France) Large variety of lunches and dinners available such as ribs, chicken, and desserts.

And many more!

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