Our daughter turned 19 recently and she desired to go to Busch Gardens to celebrate. This would have been the first time we have ever gone and we have been Virginia residences for 18 years! Better late then never, right?
For her birthday, we got the children Busch Garden's Fun Cards, so they can go back all summer long. The kids were so thrilled that they will be able to enjoy this together through the summer. The wonderful thing about our summer is that Busch Gardens offers free passes for Virginia residents that are ages 3-5, with an eticket and birth certificate. All four of our children are able to enjoy this fun all summer long, while Mom and Dad get some things done.
When we first arrived in the Italy parking lot, we walked a short distance to the shuttle pickup area, which took us to the entrance to the park. Having to get the free pass for our 3 year old, we went to Guest Relations, where Delores served us with smiles. It would have been best if we were there prior to the park opening, so we were closer to the front of the line at Guest Relations. If you are only going for a day, be sure to arrive early.
Once we were in the park, I headed straight to Sesame Street Forest of Fun, with our 3 year old, while the other family went looking for adventures that fit them better. I had quickly realized that I didn't come prepared for what was offered for this age group, as we quickly saw the great big water fun in front of us! My 3 year old wasn't willing to get wet with his clothes on, so we went to the store perfectly positioned next to the water park. Within a few minutes, we had a Cookie Monster swim suit and sun screen (we overlooked packing that important item for a day at the park), eager to get wet and enjoy the adventure ahead. It is important to know that outside this water area, you can NOT ride on any of the attractions without wearing a shirt and shoes, and of course bottoms.
Before leaving Sesame Street Forest of Fun, we were able to say hello to a few of the friends that our 3 year old recognizes from our story books, Elmo and Grover! He was a little nervous and apprehensive in greeting them close up, but was willing to try for a picture.
The park is really big and can easily take your time if you walk through the whole park. We took advantage of two of the attractions that gave you the ability to move from one area of the park to another. These time and energy savers are Aeronaut Skyride and Busch Gardens Railway. We took advantage of these several times and enjoyed the view in the process!
Our 3 year old LOVED the train, but what little boy wouldn't!
Our older children just absolutely had a wonderful time riding all the hair raising roller coasters and can't wait to go back to have the thrills again and again! One thing that I absolutely loved about Busch Gardens is that way that they designed children's rides next to those rides that our teenagers love, so we can be watchful with the youngest one, while catching glimpse of my older three smiling from ear to ear on all those rides that make my insides shiver!
When I asked them what their favorite rides were, it didn't surprise me to hear that the scarier the better and Busch Gardens delivered on the scary rides! Even on Escape the Pompeii ride, got my 17 year old feeling a little jumpy! (The second row of people in the above picture are my three older children). I absolutely love water rides, so I knew that I wanted to try them out, especially when all three of our children came back with hardly any wetness. So, my daughter, husband and I took off for our ride on Pompeii. We sat in the same row, they did (the second row), but our ride was packed. As we hit the bottom, I was drenched with water… my husband and daughter… not so much! Guess my idea of sitting in the middle backfired!
The last ride of our wonderful day was the Roman Rapids, which I would HIGHLY recommend to do during the hottest part of the day because you get COMPLETELY wet! I loved the water rides!
Here are some tips to make your family's time at Busch Gardens a HUGE enjoyment:
- Plan your day BEFORE you come! Grab a map as you come in, so you can have it to implement your plan at the park.
- Look for PROMO codes for one day tickets
- Bring water bottles and snacks for young ones – Places that had “refill” signs filled our cups up through out the day
- Come dressed in water friendly clothes and bring a TOWEL!
- Bring SUN SCREEN
- Bring a water proof bag for your glasses, phone or other valuables
- Take advantage of the skyride and train to navigate the park faster
- Watch a show during the hot afternoon, we enjoyed Celtic Frye, because I love Irish music and dance… it was WONDERFUL!
- Skip out on the Rhine River Cruise if you have a stroller. There are a lot of stairs to go down and the incline on the way back can beat you up. It was a short ride and not a lot to make it worth the trip with strollers.
- Ride on Troy's shuttle on the way back to the parking lot – He was absolutely the best part of a
- Pack a cooler to enjoy at the end of the day and splurge on the food at Das FestHauus, where you can enjoy a show and get something to eat
I hope you enjoy your time at Busch Gardens and hoping that our family guide helped you plan your time together!