Busch Gardens to open in winter months for first time ever

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Jan 05, 2021

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Busch Gardens Williamsburg will open during the winter months for the first time ever, offering three new limited capacity outdoor events: Winter Weekends, Mardi Gras and a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

"We're giving our guests and our membership base more of an opportunity to come and visit the park, and there's something to do almost every weekend," said Cindy Sarko, Public Relations Manager.

The events will be held in January, February and early March, operating in compliance with Virginia’s Phase 3 safety guidelines for reopening businesses, with enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, face covering requirements and temperature screenings.

From January 15 through January 24, guests can stroll through villages filled with lights at night, brave the thrills of thirteen rides, explore the Sesame Street Forest of Fun, encounter the park's newest animals, participate in special kid activities and view a fireworks finale on Saturday evenings.

"This is a whole new opportunity for us to explore new types of entertainment, new types of park decorations and new types of culinary experiences for the guests, so we're having a lot of fun putting together all these pieces and parts and also trying out the new food and drink options," said Matthew Edwards, manager of Events and Festivals.

Additionally, Winter Weekend guests can enjoy contemporary and interactive musical performances from an a cappella group and Killarney trio, a park-wide fur and feathers scavenger hunt to inspire kids to learn about animals and the impact they have on the environment, and flavor-filled journeys to enjoy animal-inspired sweet treats like zebra chocolate drizzled kettle corn, fun cocktails like a Moscow Mule and Salty Dog, a wide variety of specialty brews like Snakebite Stout and entrées from Das Festhaus.

The park will also celebrate Mardi Gras January 29 through February 28, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Guests can indulge in a New Orleans-themed event that the park says will transport individuals to the “Big Easy”. There will be eight decorated villages filled with Cajun food and drinks like sausage and grits, gumbo, fresh beignets, king cake, hurricane cocktails and specialty beer.

Live entertainment and music include a New Orleans Jazz Band, interactive drum band, stilt walkers, comedic jugglers, a park-wide masquerade scavenger hunt for the little ones and more.

Admission for Busch Gardens Winter Weekends and Mardi Gras limited capacity events starts at $34.99. Consumers can bundle Winter Weekends admission and a meal for $54.99 and bundle Mardi Gras admission with a tasting card starting at $59.99. Reservations are required.

Folks can also participate in a "Dine with Animals: Exclusive Meet & Greet." Participants can enjoy an exclusive Meet & Greet with visiting animals from Conservation Ambassadors, a savory meal in Das Festhaus and VIP Reserved Parking. Then, stick around for the opening Conservation Ambassadors presentation on the Das Festhaus stage. Prices start at $39.99.

January, February and March special events are included for active members, annual pass and fun card holders. For a complete list of featured animals, rides and activities, consumers can visit