After a hard day at work, you come home, kick off your shoes, and pop open an ice-cold can of beer. Staring at your beverage, the idea of a perfect vacation comes to mind – a field trip to a brewery! All that’s left is to convince the family to share in your dream. Never fear, Busch Gardens is here.
The first Busch Gardens, owned by Anheuser Busch (makers of Budweiser Beer), appeared in Pasadena, California in 1905. Unlike its offspring, it actually was a botanical garden rather than an amusement park. It was also quite popular with the local residents until it closed in 1938. During its run, a number of classic films such as Gone With The Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood were partly filmed on the grounds.
Still, Busch had bigger plans. In Tampa Bay, FL, they opened up a wildlife park in 1959 called “Busch Gardens Tampa” (later renamed “Busch Gardens Africa”). Today it is home to over two thousand animals as well as roller coasters and other attractions – and yes, plenty of Budweiser Beer.
Following the success of Busch Gardens Tampa, the company expanded in two other locations: Williamsburg, VA and Van Nuys, CA. The brewery tour in Van Nuys that opened in 1966 was amended to include an aviary, a working monorail tour of the brewery, a log ride, and a boat journey. Sadly, the So-Cal amusement park didn’t fare well against the nearby competition and closed in 1979 to make way for a brewery expansion.