A picture of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Find out how it compares in price to Kings Dominion
Busch Gardens

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg prides itself on being the world’s most beautiful theme park. And for good reason – they’ve been voted that year after year since 1990!

But the theme park, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, isn’t just a gorgeous place to visit. From the thrill rides to the animals to the live entertainment to the classic European theming, there’s a lot to enjoy.

In this complete travel guide to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, you’ll learn everything you need to know for an amazing Busch Gardens vacation. You’ll find out about the different sections of the park, the attractions, and seasonal events. And you’ll see great practical advice like where to stay and how to save money with discount tickets!

A Brief History

The name “Busch Gardens” is now synonymous with fun theme parks. However, it was once used as a name for the gardens developed by one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch, Adolphus Busch. Those gardens, located near his home in Pasadena, California, were open to the public from 1906 to 1937. You can actually see the gardens in a number of movies, including 1931’s Frankenstein and 1939’s Gone with the Wind.

Decades later, the Anheuser-Busch company opened the Busch Gardens amusement parks for marketing purposes. There were hospitality houses that offered samples of Anheuser-Busch products. You could also see stables with many of the company’s Clydesdale horses. As time passed, rides and attractions were added, and the parks became the impressive theme parks they are today.

Over the years, there have been 4 different Busch Gardens parks, although today only two remain.

In the 1960s & 1970s, there was a park in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys. And in the 1970s, there was Busch Gardens Houston, which had an Asian theme.

You can still visit the original park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, which opened in 1959 and has an African theme. And then, of course, there is Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has had a European theme since it opened on May 16, 1975. In fact, it was originally named “Busch Gardens: The Old Country.” While it was renamed Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 1993, it was briefly (from 2006-2008) known as Busch Gardens Europe.

Busch Gardens Sections & Attractions

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a train that makes it convenient to get from one section to the other
Busch Gardens

The theme park is divided into different sections, which are for the most part themed to one of these six European countries: England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland.

Let’s go over each section and the fun activities (such as rides and shows) you can enjoy.

England (Banbury Cross)

England Banbury Cross section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park, with United Kingdom flags and a Big Ben replicaThe England section is the first area you’ll visit upon entering the park. It includes a version of London’s iconic Big Ben tower. You’ll also notice examples of classic English architecture.

At the Globe Theatre (which is a double-sized replica of the London theatre built by William Shakespeare’s playing company), you can see various live performances throughout the year. Currently, you can catch a showing of Let’s Play Together!, a Sesame Street themed musical show that runs during Busch Gardens Kids’ Weekends. (This is one of the many special events held throughout the year at the park; we’ll talk more about the seasonal events later.)

Skyride

 

A picture of the Busch Gardens Skyway at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VirginiaThrill Level: Medium

Since the attractions in Busch Gardens Williamsburg are spread out over several different sections, you can end up doing a lot of walking. Luckily, you can take the Skyride through the air as a transportation option. Plus, at 80 feet high in the air, you can enjoy some beautiful views! The Skyride station in England offers a one-way trip to France.

Scotland (Heatherdowns)

Animal experiences like seeing horses make Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park a great experience for the whole family
Busch Gardens

A highlight of this Scottish hamlet is the Highland Stables, which include such animals as Scottish Blackface sheep, Border Collies and Clydesdales. There are photo opportunities as well as daily demonstrations.

Busch Gardens Railway

Busch Gardens Williamsburg train station entrance in Scotland section of the theme park

Thrill Level: Low

On this 20 minute train ride, you’ll enjoy scenic views of Busch Gardens. There are three different stops (at Scotland, New France, and Festa Italia), but you can opt to remain on the train instead of getting off if you want to have the full experience. The train station closest to the front of the park is the one in Scotland, the Tweedside Train Station.

Li’l Clydes

Li'l Clydes children's ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

Height Requirement: Under 56”; hand-held infants not permitted
Thrill Level: Low

Fittingly, on this children’s carousel type attraction, kids ride around on Clydesdales.

Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster Roller Coaster with Double Interlocking Loops at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: at least 48”
Thrill Level: High

This steel roller coaster was the first (and is the only remaining) roller coaster in the world to include two interlocking loops. Opening in 1978, it is themed to the mysterious creature that reportedly inhabits Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.

Fun fact: in 1993, to celebrate the ride’s 15th anniversary, the “flying Elvi” (a group of Elvis impersonators) parachuted into the theme park and then rode the coaster in full costume.

Rhine River Cruise

Rhine River Cruise boat approaching bridge at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in Virginia, USA

Thrill Level: Low

Enjoy beautiful views of the park and photo opportunities on this scenic river cruise. The ride only runs seasonally, on Saturdays and Sundays, and until 5:00 PM.

Please note that, unfortunately, you can only access the ride by stairs (and steep stairs, at that) from Scotland and from Germany.

Sesame Street Forest of Fun

Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens - fun for kids in Williamsburg Virginia
Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens

This family friendly section opened on April 3, 2009. It’s themed to the beloved children’s television series, Sesame Street. At the Forest of Fun, you can watch Elmo and friends in a performance of Sunny Day Celebration on stage. There are also photo opportunities (at 1-2-3 Smile with Me!), play areas, and rides.

Bert and Ernie’s Loch Adventure

Bert and Ernie's Loch Adventure attraction at Sesame Street Forest of Fun in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: 36”-56” may ride alone; walking up to 36” must be accompanied by a supervising guest age 14 or older
Thrill Level: Low

This is a flat flume ride for children.

Elmo’s Castle

A picture of Elmo's Castle in Sesame Street Forest of Fun in Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia

A picture of the water play area at Sesame Street Forest of Fun in Busch Gardens WilliamsburgThrill Level: Low

Prepare to get wet! This is a fun water play area with jets and buckets.

Grover’s Alpine Express

Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia has a lot of great attractions for kids, like this Grover's Alpine Express kiddie roller coaster

A picture of Grover's Alpine Express, a Sesame Street Forest of Fun ride at Busch Gardens VirginiaHeight Requirement: at least 38″ to ride; between 38″ and 41″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion who is at least 14 years of age
Thrill Level: Low

For kids who aren’t ready for the major roller coasters at Busch Gardens, this sleigh-themed junior coaster is a good alternative. The ride is similar to the junior roller coaster Air Grover located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Oscar’s Whirly Worms

Height Requirement: at least 42” to ride alone; walking to 42” must have another guest age 14 or older riding with them
Thrill Level: Low

You’ll be rocking, twisting, and spinning on this rock-n-tug ride. (With this type of attraction, a tugboat shaped gondola rocks back and forth while also rotating.)

Oscar’s Yucky Forest

A picture of Oscar's Yucky Forest, a playground at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Thrill Level: Low

Children can burn off some energy at this fun playground.

Prince Elmo’s Spire

Prince Elmo's Spire children's ride at Sesame Street Forest of Fun in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: at least 42” to ride alone; walking to 42” must have a supervising companion 14 years old or older riding with them
Thrill Level: Low

Have fun on a shot-n-drop tower appropriate for children.

Ireland (Killarney)

Busch Gardens is the theme park in Southern Virginia with the most things to do for the whole family, including seeing wolves
Busch Gardens

In 2001, the area previously known as Hastings, England was rethemed to Ireland. There are a couple of theaters, some animal sanctuaries, and a couple of Irish themed rides in this section.

At the indoor Abbey Stone Theatre, you can enjoy entertainment such as Irish dancing or the Killarney Village Band. And the outdoor Pet Shenanigans Theater is where a live show with trained animals has run in the past.

At Lorikeet Glen, you can admire birds like bush thick-knee curlews, tawny frogmouths, guira cuckoos, and of course lorikeets. Birds of prey are found at Eagle’s Ridge, while Wolf Haven is home to magnificent gray wolves.

Finnegan’s Flyer

A picture of Finnegan's Flyer one of the newest attractions in Busch Gardens WilliamsburgHeight Requirement: at least 48”
Thrill Level: High

On this Screamin’ Swing ride, two arms swing back and forth like pendulums, allowing riders to swing higher and higher. In fact, the ride reaches heights of over 80 feet, while traveling 45 miles per hour. This creates the opportunity for some amazing views of the theme park – if you’re brave enough to dare it!

Italy (San Marco)

Entrance to San Marco, the Italy section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

This section is based upon Renaissance era Italy. Fittingly, it’s here you’ll find Da Vinci’s Garden of Inventions. This is a beautiful garden area with Italian statues and flowers.

The Battering Ram

A picture of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Find out how it compares in price to Kings Dominion
Busch Gardens

Height Requirement: at least 42” tall or accompanied by someone at least 14 years old
Thrill Level: Medium

This swinging ship ride does not go upside down, which is probably why Busch Gardens classifies the attraction as having a “Medium” thrill level. But that certainly doesn’t mean the ride is boring!

Da Vinci’s Cradle

Height Requirement: at least 42”
Thrill Level: Medium

With a design based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbooks, this attraction is perfectly themed for the area – and offers a lot of fun! Guests can enjoy the sensation of weightlessness as they swing back and forth, eventually rotating over the top (but with no inversions).

Escape from Pompeii

Escape from Pompeii Attraction with Water Chute at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: at least 42”
Thrill Level: Medium

The premise of this water attraction is that you’re touring the ruins of Pompeii, the ancient city which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. However, as your boat tour continues, it’s evident that the volcano is erupting again. Fire, fog, falling statues, and dramatic music add to the experience. The ride culminates in a five story drop into a splash pool.

Escape from Pompeii is considered a Shoot the Chute ride. Attractions of this type involve a flat-bottomed boat that slides down a ramp (or inside a flume) into a lagoon. While a log flume ride usually seats up to eight people, a Shoot the Chute ride generally has larger boats.

Side note: Pompeii really is a fascinating place to tour. If you’re interested in seeing the actual ruins in Europe, consider this excellent private tour of Pompeii.

The Flying Machine

The Flying Machine ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in VirginiaHeight Requirement: at least 42”
Thrill Level: Medium

Located in Da Vinci’s Garden, this ride twists and spins guests in the air.

Little Balloons

Busch Gardens rides for children in Williamsburg Virginia

Height Requirement: under 56”; must be walking
Thrill Level: Low

On this whimsical children’s ride, young guests will go up, down, and round and round.

Little Gliders

Little Gliders children's ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in VirginiaHeight Requirement: To ride alone, must be from walking to 56” tall; Guests under 36” are limited to the sit-down gliders and can be accompanied by another guest age 14 or older
Thrill Level: Low

This is a hang glider ride from kids.

Festa Italia

This section of the park has a festival theme. The idea is that it’s a fair celebrating the return of Marco Polo, back in Italy after his famous trip to China. There’s also a Roman mythology theme found in the attractions.

Apollo’s Chariot

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has great roller coasters, like Apollo's Chariot, pictured hereHeight Requirement: at least 52”
Thrill Level: High

This steel roller coaster includes 8 air-time hills – and a memorable drop of 210 feet. On this 2 minute and 15 second ride, speeds reach as high as 73 miles per hour. And the elevated seats (your feet won’t touch the ground) create a “free-flight” sensation for guests.

Apollo’s Chariot originally opened in March 1999. To celebrate the opening, Italian fashion model Fabio Lanzoni (most commonly known simply by his first name, Fabio) was on hand for the roller coaster’s first run. Unfortunately, during that run, a 10 pound goose hit Fabio in the face, leaving him with a bloody nose. He was treated for minor cuts, but the goose was killed on impact. (Later, Fabio said that the goose actually hit a video camera, and the broken pieces of the camera were what struck his face.)

Busch Gardens Railway

The Alpen Express train at the Busch Gardens Railway station in the Festa Italia part of Busch Gardens WilliamsburgThrill Level: Low

Board one of three steam-powered locomotives at the Festa Train Station in Festa Italia. The train also stops in Scotland and New France.

Elephant Run

Elephant Run Children's Ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

Height Requirement: at least 38”; an adult may accompany a child who meets the height requirement
Thrill Level: Low

Elephant Run is a bobsled ride that has been sized down for children.

Pantheon

Pantheon sign for the newest roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia

Height Requirement: at least 52” and no more than 76”
Thrill Level: High

The fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the world, Pantheon opened in March 2022. It is themed to ancient Roman and Roman deities (Jupiter, Minerva, Mercury, Pluto and Neptune). The steel roller coaster has five airtime hills, four launches, and a 95-degree beyond vertical drop. There are two inversions, and the 178-foot-tall ride reaches a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour.

Roman Rapids

Roman Rapids Queuing Area for Water Ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: at least 42”
Thrill Level: Medium

If you’ve ever wanted to take part in a canal race through Roman ruins, now’s your chance! This white-water river rapids ride is also an excellent way to cool off on a hot day, as it will most likely leave you fully soaked. There are twists, turns, water squirters, and multiple large waterfalls. And the exact path of your boat may be different each time you ride, which adds to the excitement.

Tempesto

A picture of Tempesto roller coaster. Enjoy lots of roller coasters when you visit Busch Gardens theme park in Historical Williamsburg
Tempesto at Busch Gardens

Height Requirement: at least 54”
Thrill Level: High

On Tempesto, guests will experience many thrills, including a complete inversion 154 feet in the air. The steel roller coaster reaches a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour.

The Trade Wind

Trade Wind musical ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in Virginia

Height Requirement: at least 52”; if between 48” and 52”, must be accompanied by a supervising companion who is over 14 years old
Thrill Level: Medium

Smaller guests should sit towards the inside of this high speed circular bobsled ride.

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight spinning teacup ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

Height Requirement: at least 48”
Thrill Level: Medium

This beautiful attraction is a classic spinning teacups ride, and you can speed up the spinning if you’d like. (Note: for those prone to motion sickness, this ride is a little rougher than, for example, the Mad Tea Party ride at Disney World.)

Germany (Rhinefeld)

The Germany section of the park includes a couple of rides, a themed children’s play area, and a Skyride station.

Alpengeist

Height Requirement: at least 54”
Thrill Level: High

Take a ride on a runaway ski lift! “Alpengeist” is a German word meaning “”Ghost of the Alps” or “Alps Spirit.” The story behind this steel inverted roller coaster is that a ski-lift has been taken over by a local legend, the Alpengeist.

At the time of its opening in 1997, Alpengeist was the tallest inverted coaster in the world. And with 6 inversions, it continues to deliver on the thrills.

Kinder Karussel

Height Requirement: at least 42”; if under 42”, must be accompanied by a supervising companion and must ride in the center row of horses; hand-held infants are allowed only on the benches
Thrill Level: Low

There are 36 hand-carved ponies and 2 double-bench chariots on this charming antique Herschell Carousel.

Land of the Dragons

Land of the Dragons in Busch Gardens - kids activities in Williamsburg Virginia

There are a lot of things to do for energetic young guests in this children’s play area, which is basically a land within a land.

Brook Play Area

Thrill Level: Low

Children can splash and have fun in this water play area, complete with jumping jets.

Bug-a-Dug

Height Requirement: under 56”; adults and hand-held infants are not allowed to ride
Thrill Level: Low

This ladybug themed children’s ride features red and yellow cars.

Chug-a-Tug

Height Requirement: under 56”; adults and hand-held infants are not allowed to ride
Thrill Level: Low

Younger guests can go sailing on this kiddie boat ride!

Flutter Sputter

Height Requirement: between 36” and 56”; under 36” must be accompanied by a supervising companion; adults may accompany a child; hand-held infants are not permitted to ride
Thrill Level: Low

Soar to new heights on this flying dragon ride.

Tree House & Climbing Nets

Thrill Level: Low

This dragon themed tree house even includes a rope obstacle course.

Rhine River Cruise

Rhine River Cruise on the water at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in Virginia

Thrill Level: Low

Take in scenic views of the theme park on this relaxing cruise ride. It operates on Saturday and Sunday until 5:00 PM (and is open seasonally). Unfortunately, the attraction is not accessible to wheelchairs, and you can only reach it by taking steep steps from either Germany or Scotland.

Skyride

A picture of a Busch Gardens Skyway vehicle with the England section in the backgroundThrill Level: Medium

One of the three Skyride stations is located in Germany. From Germany, you can take a one-way gondola ride to England, which will get you close to the park exit.

Oktoberfest (Bavarian Germany)

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg Virginia has different European themed sections like Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest at Busch Gardens

This area is also themed to Germany, but specifically the celebration of Oktoberfest (the yearly festival held in Munich, Germany).

Der Autobahn

Der Autobahn Bumper Car Ride in Oktoberfest section of Busch Gardens WilliamsburgHeight Requirement: at least 48”; guests between 42” and 48” can ride with a supervising companion who is at least 14 years of age
Thrill Level: Medium

At this classic bumper car attraction, you’ll ride in stylish little German coupes. The name comes from the Autobahn, which is the national highway system in Germany.

Der Autobahn Jr.

Der Autobahn Jr kids bumper cars ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in VirginiaHeight Requirement: Under 48”; hand-held infants are not allowed
Thrill Level: Low

Guests who are not tall enough to ride Der Autobahn by themselves can enjoy this junior version of the ride.

Der Roto Baron

Der Roto Baron children's ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg park

Height Requirement: Under 56”; hand-held infants are not allowed
Thrill Level: Low

Let your little one be the pilot of a World War I fighter plane! This is a classic “red baron” type of ride (an amusement park ride where small airplanes or other objects “fly” in a circle).

Der Wirbelwind

Guests riding Der Wirbelwind, a classic swing ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

Height Requirement: at least 48”; guests between 40” and 48” can ride with a supervising companion who is at least 14 years of age, as long as they ride in the double swings
Thrill Level: Medium

This is a classic swings ride, where guests seated in swings will feel as if they are soaring through the air. For bigger thrills, choose an outside swing.

Mäch Tower

Mach Tower attraction in Oktoberfest section inside Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme parkHeight Requirement: At least 48”
Thrill Level: High

If you’ve been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, you’ve probably noticed Mach Tower. At a height of 246 feet, even without its colorful designs, it would still be hard to miss! This thrilling drop tower is the tallest attraction in the park.

Since the tower rotates and reaches such great heights, guests can enjoy incredible views of the park, as well as the nearby James River. However, the freefall drop at 50 miles per hour may be too intense for some. If this is the case, consider riding during the Christmastown event, when the ride becomes Nacht Tower. During this time, there are no drops, and you have the added bonus of getting to see millions of beautiful holiday lights.

Verbolten

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has great roller coasters like Verbolten pictured here
Verbolten at Busch Gardens

Height Requirement: At least 48”
Thrill Level: High

What starts as a simple trip down the Autobahn in Germany suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Lightning hits the car and forces you to drive into the forbidden Black Forest. Fittingly, the name of this steel roller coaster is a play on the German word “verboten,” which means “forbidden.”

The indoor portion of the ride, or the Black Forest section, features one of three stories:

  • A seemingly peaceful spirit lures riders into the forest and then turns on them
  • A lightning storm threatens to destroy both your car and the riders inside
  • A pair of red glowing eyes follow the train through the forest (which is a nod to the Big Bad Wolf, the roller coaster previously located where Verbolten is now)

France (Aquitaine)

Enjoy French food, attractions & rides at Busch Gardens theme park in Southern Virginia
Aquitaine at Busch Gardens

Travel back in time to Belle Époque France, the period of time between 1871-80 and the beginning of World War I in 1914. During this optimistic period, the arts flourished in France, especially in Paris.

The Royal Palace Theatre is located in the France section of the park, where you can watch various shows throughout the year (including an ice skating show during the Christmas Town event in the winter).

Griffon

A picture of Griffon, one of the eight roller coasters thrill seekers can ride at Busch Gardens in Virginia
Griffon at Busch Gardens

Height Requirement: at least 54”
Thrill Level: High

This thrilling dive coaster is named after the griffin, the legendary creature that has the tail, back, legs, and body of a lion, as well as the head and wings of an eagle. The floorless steel roller coaster features a 90 degree drop at 75 miles per hour – and a maximum height of 205 feet!

Skyride

Yellow gondola, part of the Skyride attraction, in the air at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme parkThrill Level: Medium

You can find one of the three Skyride stations in France, where you can take a gondola to Germany. Please note that you will need to exit at Germany; you cannot make a roundtrip ride to multiple stations without exiting.

New France

New France, the French colonial Canada area of Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park

The theme of this section is French colonial Canada.

Busch Gardens Railway

A picture of the Busch Gardens Railway at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VirginiaThrill Level: Low

The Caribou Train Station in New France gives you access to the Busch Gardens railroad. Relax and enjoy beautiful views on a train ride around the park. The other stations are located in Festa Italia and Scotland.

InvadR

Invadr Wooden Roller Coaster Sign at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Height Requirement: at least 46”
Thrill Level: High

On this wooden roller coaster, you’ll speed over nine airtime hills, including a 74 foot drop at nearly 48 miles per hour. In 2016, about a year before the roller coaster opened, fans were able to vote for the name of the new ride via an internet poll. (The name InvadR beat out the other two options, Viking Raider and Battle Klash.)

Le Catapult

Williamsburg Virginia historic resorts with 4-bedroom suites has 1 night free deal

Height Requirement: at least 48”; under 48” must be accompanied by a supervising guest age 14 or older; hand-held infants are not allowed
Thrill Level: Medium

A classic carnival scrambler ride, this moderate thrill ride is fun for families.

Le Scoot Log Flume

Le Scoot Log Flume ride in the New France area of Busch Gardens WilliamsburgHeight Requirement: at least 46”; under 46” must be accompanied by a supervising guest; hand-held infants are not allowed
Thrill Level: Medium

Cool off on this log flume ride, which includes a 50-foot vertical plunge. The attraction is themed to an old saw mill in a rustic New France village.

Restaurants in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Marco Polo's Marketplace Restaurant at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

There are a number of places to eat in Busch Gardens Williamsburg, for both meals and snacks. The following are dining options located throughout the park. Some of these are “Grab & Go” options, where you can pick up your food and then find a place to sit and eat in the park (or eat as you walk).

Many of these restaurants are included in the All Day Dining Deal – we go over both those restaurants and the deal in detail here.

England

  • Big Ben’s Funnel Cakes – Funnel Cakes (Grab & Go)
  • England Coke Market – Pretzels, popcorn and churros (Grab & Go)
  • M. Sweets Confectionary – A candy shop that also offers fudge, donuts, and hand dipped fruit (Grab & Go)
  • Squire’s Grille – British and American food, with outdoor seating (click here to read a full review)

Ireland

  • Abbeystone Theatre Lobby – Pretzels, churros and turkey legs (Grab & Go)
  • Grogan’s Pub – Irish and American pub snacks, whiskey, and 22 rotating draft beers with indoor seating

Italy

  • Marco Polo’s Marketplace – Italian, Asian & Mediterranean food with outdoor seating (some of which is covered)

Festa Italia

  • Roman Frieze – An ice cream shop that also serves pineapple whip (Grab & Go)

Oktoberfest

  • Brauhaus Craft Bier Room – Snacks and 30 Different Draft Beers (located inside the main hall of Das Festhaus)
  • Das Festhaus – Pizza, sandwiches, and German food with indoor seating and (at times) live entertainment
  • German Pretzels and Beer – Hand-rolled pretzels and dishes involving pretzels, as well as authentic German, craft and seasonal beers, with outdoor seating (Grab & Go)

France

  • Aquitaine Refreshments – Turkey legs, churros and pretzels (Grab & Go)
  • Les Frites – French fries with a selection of different toppings (Grab & Go)

New France

  • Three Rivers Snacks – Kettle corn and funnel cakes (Grab & Go)
  • Trappers Smokehouse – Slow-smoked barbecue options (like ribs and chicken) with outdoor seating

Water Country USA

Busch Gardens Valentine's Day Sale free admission to Water Country USA
Busch Gardens’ Water Country US

Located only a few miles away from Busch Gardens, Water Country USA is a great addition to a Busch Gardens vacation. The water park is actually part of the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment family of theme parks, as is Busch Gardens. And you can often buy tickets that include admission to both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. However, due to the weather, the water park is only open May through September.

To get an idea of the water slides and fun things to do at Water Country USA, you can take a virtual tour:

Best Hotels near Busch Gardens

We recommend the following hotels for a trip to Williamsburg that includes a Busch Gardens visit.

Wyndham Garden Williamsburg Busch Gardens Area

This is one of the closest hotels to Busch Gardens (and Water Country USA). You can see what it’s like with this virtual tour:

Click here to get a great price for a stay at Wyndham Garden Williamsburg Busch Gardens Area.

Country Inn & Suites Williamsburg East Busch Gardens

This hotel is conveniently located in between Busch Gardens/Water Country USA and Colonial Williamsburg. You can learn more about the hotel in our review here.

Rodeway Inn Historic

You’ll be closer to Colonial Williamsburg than Busch Gardens if you stay at this hotel, but we’ve stayed here when visiting the theme park. We go into more detail about it in this hotel review.

Westgate Historic Williamsburg Resort

At this hotel, you’ll be just a 10 minute drive away from both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA (and only 1 mile from Colonial Williamsburg). Find out more about the Westgate in our hotel review. And see what it’s like for yourself in this video tour:

More Williamsburg Hotels

If you’re looking for more options for where to stay, check out these lists:

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Discount Tickets

Busch Gardens Williamsburg frequently offers deals and discounts to save you money on park admission.

To see current ticket deals, click here.

There are a number of different ticket options available.

Date-Specific Ticket

This is a one day ticket for a certain date. You have to choose the date when you purchase the ticket.

Any Day Ticket

If you’re not sure of the exact date you want to visit, opt for an Any Day Ticket. You’ll pay a little more, but you’ll have more flexibility, as you can use the ticket any day within 6 months of the date of purchase.

Multi Day Tickets

2-Day and 3-Day tickets are also available. They include both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA (when open).

Preschool Pass

The best thing about the Preschool Pass is that it’s free! It’s only for children ages 3-5, and it includes unlimited admission through October 31, 2022 to both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA (when open). Please note that you’ll need to register and take your first visit by May 31, 2022.

Bounce Pass

The bounce pass gives you a week of both unlimited visits and parking to Busch Gardens and to Colonial Williamsburg as well. Depending on when you want to visit, there is a Spring Bounce Ticket, Summer Bounce Ticket, and Fall Bounce Ticket. The Summer Bounce Ticket is a little more expensive and also includes admission to Water Country USA. We go into more detail about these Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg combination tickets here.

Fun Card

Fun Cards give you unlimited admission throughout the season. It’s like an annual pass, but without the special perks. For example, you don’t get any discounts on food or merchandise in the park. And it won’t include special events that are held once the regular season is over in September, such as Howl-O-Scream or Christmas Town (more on those events later).

Because it doesn’t include all those extras, though, it’s usually very reasonably priced. And a 2 Park Fun Card gives you unlimited admission to both Water Country USA (May 14 – September 11, when the park is open) and Busch Gardens Williamsburg (through September 5).

Memberships

A membership to Busch Gardens Williamsburg is basically like an annual pass. It’s 12 months from the date of purchase (as opposed to being based on a calendar year). And the 12 months do include the Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town events.

There are a variety of membership levels, both for 1 park (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) and 2 parks (Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA). The higher the level, the more benefits you receive. This includes things like free regular or preferred parking, free guest tickets, in park discounts, and more.

I’ve been a Platinum member for years and love it. At this level, you actually get unlimited admission to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA as well as 9 other parks (SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San Diego, Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island in Tampa, Aquatica in Orlando, Aquatica in San Antonio, Sesame Place in Pennsylvania, and Sesame Place in San Diego). If you’re planning on visiting several of these parks over a 12 month period, this is a great deal.

You can get a membership plan here.

More Money Saving Tips

The simplest way to save money at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is to take advantage of the deals they offer on park admission. Click here to see discounted tickets.

There are other ways to save money, both on tickets and on dining inside the park.

Military Discounts

If you (or one of your family members) is a current member of the United States Armed Forces or a Veteran, then take a look at these current military discounts and offers. You will need to verify your active or veteran status through ID.me (you can sign up for it if you don’t already have an account).

All Day Dining Deal

The Busch Gardens All Day Dining Deal is a way to get a day’s worth of meals (one meal every 90 minutes) by paying one fee in advance. We discuss how it works and whether or not it is worth it here.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Extras

Busch Gardens offers a number of add ons to make your visit extra special. Some of these are fun way to try something new, especially if you’re taking a longer trip, or you’ve been multiple times before. And other options can save you a lot of time at the park, no matter if it’s your first trip or fiftieth!

Busch Gardens Quick Queue (Skip the Line)

At Busch Gardens, you can enjoy skip the line privileges by getting Quick Queue. While you don’t get to skip the entire line, you will get priority access and can bypass the majority of the line. (This is somewhat similar to Disney Genie Plus at Walt Disney World and Express Pass at Universal Orlando.)

If you’re only visiting one day and have a lot of attractions you’d like to ride, or if you really hate waiting in line, this is a great addition to your vacation.

You can purchase Quick Queue here. And you’ll be able to choose from the following options:

All-Season Quick Queue

This gives you priority access once a day to each of the following attractions. And you can enjoy this privilege for 365 days, starting with the date of your first visit.

  • Alpengeist
  • Pantheon
  • Apollo’s Chariot
  • Verbolten
  • Escape from Pompeii
  • Roman Rapids
  • Finnegan’s Flyer
  • InvadR
  • Griffon
  • Tempesto
  • Mäch Tower
  • Le Scoot Log Flume

Quick Queue

This is the basic Quick Queue option, valid for one day only, which allows you to get priority access one time for each of the following attractions:

  • Alpengeist
  • Apollo’s Chariot
  • Verbolten
  • Escape from Pompeii
  • Roman Rapids
  • Finnegan’s Flyer
  • Griffon
  • Mäch Tower
  • Le Scoot Log Flume

When you purchase this Quick Queue, you’ll need to choose the date of your visit. Prices vary by date; it will be more expensive during the more popular times of year.

Quick Queue Unlimited

With this option, you’ll get everything you get with the regular Quick Queue – except you can ride each attraction over and over with priority access, all day long. (Otherwise, you’d only get “skip the lines” privileges just once per attraction.)

Quick Queue Unlimited Plus One Time on Pantheon

This version gives you everything you’ll get from Quick Queue Unlimited, as well as a one time priority access ride on the newest attraction, Pantheon.

Reserved Seating

With Reserved Seating, you can pay to get access to a special reserved or VIP seating area. This is especially helpful on busier days when some of the shows get full unless you get in line well in advance. Instead of having to worry about getting there very early, you just need to arrive and check-in at least 10 minutes before show time.

Please note that for Celtic Fyre, the VIP seating (which is slightly more expensive than Reserved Seating) is for the section with tables and chairs located adjacent to the stage. The Reserved Seating for Celtic Fyre is for an area of seating up-close but not adjacent.

Click here to purchase Reserved Seating or VIP Seating for the shows currently running at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Tours

At Busch Gardens, you can choose from a variety of special tours. Some are more educational, while others will help take the stress of planning away from you and onto in park experts or guides. Click here to take advantage of these incredible experiences. We also go into more detail about them here.

  • Clydes & Collies Animal Tour – Get up close and personal with Clydesdales and Border Collies
  • Elite VIP Tour – Enjoy a day specially planned for you, including meals, snacks, priority access to all attractions, reserved seating & more
  • Family Fun Tour – A kid friendly tour with a Sesame Street Character Meet & Greet and priority access to Sesame Street Forest of Fun family rides
  • Howl to Coexist: An Inside Look – Assist in a feeding of wolves and learn more about wolves from animal specialists
  • Railroad Steam Engine Tour – Learn about how locomotives work while aboard a steam engine, where you can pull the steam whistle
  • Roller Coaster Insider Tour – Go behind the scenes to see how roller coasters work and enjoy an early ride

Events

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a full calendar of special events, all year long.

Busch Gardens Mardi Gras

This special event, celebrating Mardi Gras, is held during the weekends near the beginning of the year. Find out more by checking out our Busch Gardens Mardi Gras Guide.

Busch Gardens St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Learn about the 2022 St. Patrick's Day Event at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Learn about live performances, how to save money on tickets, drinks

Like the Mardi Gras event, the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration can be enjoyed on the weekends. Learn more about this fun March event by checking out our travel guide.

Sesame Street Kids Weekends

The weekends in April at Busch Gardens are all about the kids… and favorite Sesame Street characters, too! Learn about the fun activities at this event with this guide to Sesame Street Kids Weekends.

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival

This popular event, held between April 28 and June 12, is ideal for foodies! During the weekends, you can sample a variety of delicious food and specialty drinks. See for yourself what it’s like with this video from 2019’s festival:

Busch Gardens Summer Nights

On select nights between June 17 and August 14, the Busch Gardens Summer Nights event features a nightly fireworks show! There’s also special entertainment included in the event.

We love watching fireworks at Busch Gardens Williamsburg; here’s a video from Memorial Day 2021:

Busch Gardens Bier Fest

Beer lovers, rejoice! Choose from a variety of seasonal brew offerings and beer-inspired recipes at Bier Fest, which runs on the weekends from August 12 to September 5.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

This thrilling event, held on select nights from September 9 to October 31, is perfect for anyone who loves being truly scared. (If being spooked isn’t your idea of fun, you may want to pass on Howl-O-Scream.) To get an idea of what the event is like, watch this video from Howl-O-Scream in 2019:

The Count’s Spooktacular

For a more child friendly Halloween event, stop by during the weekends from September 24 to October 30. Kids can go trick or treating and celebrate the holiday with their friends from Sesame Street. We share 5 reasons to visit this upbeat event here.

Christmas Town

A picture of the beautiful holiday decorations at the Italy section of Busch Gardens Christmas Town

A wonderful way to celebrate the holidays is by visiting Christmas Town! From November 11 through January 1, the park is completely transformed into a magical wonderland. From the millions of sparkling lights to the holiday themed shows to the delicious food, it will certainly put you in a festive spirit! Find out more in this Busch Gardens Christmas Town guide.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Accessibility

Busch Gardens Williamsburg offers an in-depth Accessibility Guide which goes into detail about park accommodations, rider requirements, accessible entrances and exits, and more. Click here to view the guide.

There’s also a Ride Accessibility Program available to guests. How it works is that you print off a questionnaire, fill it out, and then bring it with you on your next visit. You’ll take it to the Welcome Center, which is located just past the turnstiles on the right. Click here for the Ride Accessibility Questionnaire.

The Ride Accessibility Program provides guests with a personalized list of attractions you can ride. When you enroll in the program, you can also participate in the Special Access Program. This allows you to access a more accessible alternate entrance to some attractions, as well as a virtual queue if you are unable to wait in line.

Wheelchairs and electronic scooters (or ECV’s – Electric Conveyance Vehicles) are available to rent at Busch Gardens, as well as standing electronic scooters. If you want to rent a wheelchair or scooter, you should make a reservation online at least one day prior to your visit. Otherwise, there may not be any available, as they are rented first-come, first-serve. Scroll down to near the bottom of this page for wheelchair and scooter rentals.

Click here if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding guest accessibility resources.

Other Things to Do in Williamsburg

Area Attractions

If you’re planning a vacation to Williamsburg and are looking for more things to do in the area, Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to visit. As we mentioned earlier, you can get a combo ticket that includes admission to both Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. And even if you decide to pay separately (for example, if you decide to get an annual pass membership to Busch Gardens), it’s still worth visiting.

Even without a ticket, you can walk around Colonial Williamsburg. You just won’t be able to enter the buildings, which have been restored or re-created from the 18th century. (You also won’t be able to access the shuttle system.)

Colonial Williamsburg makes up one third of the Historic Triangle area in Virginia. The remaining locations are Jamestown and Yorktown. All three are both historic colonial communities as well as tourist attractions. If you’re a history buff, or at least have some interest in United States history, then they are all wonderful additions to your travel itinerary.

If you’ll be traveling with children, then you’ll want to take a look at our list of the 30 best activities for kids in Williamsburg. While Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and Colonial Williamsburg are represented, there are also other fun things to do for kids on the list.

Where to Eat in Williamsburg

While there are a number of places to eat inside Busch Gardens, you may also want to enjoy a meal or two (or more!) outside of the park as well. Williamsburg has a number of restaurants, especially pancake houses. Use these reviews to help you decide which restaurants are perfect for you and your family: