Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A-Z Blogging - Adventure Parks - B is for Busch Gardens Pipe Dreams

One of my favorite amusement parks in the world is Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  To me, this park has one of the coolest themes of any park in the world and embodies the very epitome of the term "theme park."  The place, dubbed The Old Country, is designed to resemble a medieval/Renaissance era Europe, with sections of the beautifully landscaped park representing the major countries of the era, including France, England, Scotland, Germany and Italy.

The clock tower outside the Festhaus in The Old Country

A walk around The Old Country gives visitors the feel of being in medieval Europe, with attractions and shops seemingly authentic to the time and place.  Adding to the greatness of The Old Country were the coasters, all uniquely suited to their particular area of the park in which they were located.  Busch Gardens Williamsburg doesn't have many roller coasters, but the ones they do (and did) have are world-class, from the now-defunct Big Bad Wolf to the new Verbolten, Loch Ness Monster, AlpengeistGriffon and Apollo's Chariot.  Now that's my kind of amusement park! Check out the awesome Big Bad Wolf...

I remember during my first to Busch Gardens, sometime in the 80's, thinking that it would be so cool to have other parks around the country that would represent all of the other continents in such a uniquely fantastic way.  There already was another Busch Gardens in Tampa that was themed after the continent of Africa, and I got to visit that one, too, in the early 90's.  Even though it wasn't as cool or expansive as the Virginia property, it was unique nonetheless.  Imagine the rides and attractions they could create on the themes of Asia, Australia, North and South America and even Antarctica!

Well, I wasn't the only one who thought that because way back in 1971 there was another Busch Gardens located in Houston with an Asian theme.  Unfortunately the park only lasted for two years before closing its doors for good (maybe it was the cheap $2.25 admission!).  Check out a press release and an old photo I found on the place...

Two other Busch Gardens parks also existed in California, one in Pasadena that operated from 1905-1937 and one in Van Nuys, which served the public from 1964-1979.  With the exception of the Pasadena property, the other parks in the company first opened as companions to nearby Busch breweries, and cheap, and even free, beer was part of the original attraction.  Both of the California parks, predated the current ones and neither had the continental theme of Williamsburg, Tampa and Houston.

A boat ride at the old Busch Garden in Van Nuys, California

Two other Busch Gardens theme parks were proposed, one in Barcelona, Spain during the 80's and one in Dubai in 2008, but both parks never got past the planning stage.  

These days, it seems as if a Busch Gardens Asia will never be resurrected, nor a Busch Gardens The New World or Busch Gardens Down Under will ever be erected.  The Dubai project was scrapped due to the global recession and it doesn't appear that Blackstone, the current owners of the parks, is looking to develop anything new in the near future, so it is all just a pipe dream.  But just imagine...    

"B" Coaster of the Day - Banshee, King's Island, Mason, OH

During the A-Z Blogger's Challenge, we will also be featuring point of view videos of roller coasters from around the world to match the letter of the day.  Today's "B" coaster is one that has yet to open, the new Banshee at King's Island in Mason, Ohio.  When it does open later on this month, Banshee will be the longest inverted roller coaster in the world and I will be checking it out myself come July.  I can;t wait!!!

Check out my first entry in the A-Z Challenge:


  1. That Banshee looks pretty awesome. I haven't ridden a roller coaster in years, but my favorite is the Screaming Eagle at Six Flags St. Louis. It was made out of timber in the seventies I think and it's just a series of super-steep rises and falls, which is what makes it so awesome. Simple yet elegant---ly nauseating.

  2. What an awesome A to Z theme! This place looks so fun!