Secret GardensBusch Gardens Williamsburg: Busch Gardens has some nice, secret, out of the way places to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Here are my favorites!
From Wayne BerryBusch Gardens has the thrills – some of the best attractions and rollercoasters on the east coast. You can spend your day, rushing from ride to ride. But, you’ll miss one of the best aspects about this European themed park: the sense of relaxation you can get from a leisurely stroll through a garden. With that in mind, here are my top 8 secret spots at Busch Gardens, places off the beaten path, places where you can just relax (maybe have a beer) and enjoy the park:
Posted March 30, 2011 at 3:02 PM
1. Grogan’s Pub, located in Ireland. The Irish have a term for fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation: craic. This Irish pub has craic! It’s an exceptional place to cool off it’s too hot outside and have a refreshing beverage.
2. Caribou Pottery, located in New France. Most shops offer pottery for sale or, at the most, the chance for you to watch someone making pottery. This shop is different. It allows you to embrace your creative side and paint the ceramics yourself. You’ll have a memorable experience for your family and leave with a unique souvenir.
3. Lorikeet Glen, located between Ireland and France. Enjoy the frog pond or the picture perfect flower beds. You never know what creatures you’ll run into here: anything from a wallaroo to a boa constrictor.
4. The wooden swings, located at the edge of New France. You may walk by and not even notice this nice resting spot. It’s on the hill to the left as you are leaving New France, before crossing the bridge at Alpengeist. The shade covered swings provide the perfect place for a picnic or a well-earned nap.
5. M. Sweets Confectionary, located in France. This candy shop is typically less crowded than the one near the front of the park, making it much easier for you to browse through the sweet treats. The chocolate covered marshmallows and the fudge are out of this world. If you’ve ever had the desire to have a caramel apple covered in gummi worms and butterflies, you can find it here. The fountain in front of the shop provides an outstanding place to devour your treasure.
6. The Roman Rapids observation deck, located in Festa Italia, beside La Cucina. For a quarter, you can blast and bomb Roman Rapid riders with even more water. Nothing can be more fun than seeing the shocked expression on their faces! For those of us with a mean streak, this can provide hours of entertainment.
7. Secret dining area, located in Italy, near Ristorante della Piazza. Just behind the main dining area and across the main walking path, there is a sunken patio with a few tables and chairs, surrounded by trees. If you prefer peace and quiet as opposed to a loud show and louder children, this is an excellent place to enjoy your cannelloni.
8. The Bridge under the Loch Ness Monster, located over the Rhine River, with access points from Germany and Scotland. From this vantage point, you are so close to the riders of the Loch Ness Monster, you can actually see the terror in their eyes or the sheer look of excitement as they descend the first drop or as they go through the interlocking loops. Sometimes, it’s absolutely hilarious. For those of you with a more peaceful nature, you can also enjoy the warm benches in the sun, gazing out over the turtle-filled Rhine River. You’ll have to climb some steep steps or an even steeper hill to leave, but it’ll be worth it. You can’t help but want to ride the Loch Ness Monster after spending some time here.
What are you favorite “secret” spots at Busch Gardens?
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From Lisa MearsMy secret place isn't inside the park. My favorite Busch Gardens activity is parking lot beer drinking. The perfect spot for this is in the lot near the kennel. There's a nice, shaded picnic area where you can easily leave the park mid-day to go chug beers from a cooler in your car, then go right back into the park for some tipsy thrills. Although, I'm not sure how much of a secret it is, I've run into others with the same great idea. It's fun to tail-gate before, during and after a fun day at the Gardens!
Posted March 30, 2011 at 4:34 PM
From Donna TolliverThese are the ones I posted a few years back. Rather than re-typing, I'll just link -- hopefully the link will work. I think most of them are still there although of course the park is always changing! The area beyond the lorikeet glen you mentioned is imo not quite so "hidden" any more due to the cabanas, but there are still some nice quiet spots in the park.
Posted March 31, 2011 at 6:45 AM
From Jason JacksonThe Rhine River Cruise is one of Busch Gardens hidden gems...it takes you out on the Rhine River "lake" and you get to see a different view of Apollo. The Captains always have some stories to tell. It is a nice relaxing time. During Illuminights, they offer an evening Fireworks cruise that is spectacular (there is an upcharge), but it is fun.
Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:30 AM
From Wayne BerrySome great spots in your discussion, Donna! I think they're all still there. And the Rhine River Cruise is one of the best things in the park!
Posted April 4, 2011 at 4:19 PM
From Scott SealOne of my favorite concepts is that of the "hidden garden"...I had a recurring dream throughout most of my childhood that the driveway at the end of the street I grew up on led to a path in the woods, with gardens and bridges and statues and such. It's probably part of my interest in theme parks...this idea of immersion in a complete world apart from the real one. At any rate, I have often wished that I would, while walking around BGW or Disney World, stumble across a secret, tucked away corner of the park. Literally nothing would be a better feeling than coming across a little path that no one seemed to notice, or a space behind some hedges that had been long neglected.
Posted April 4, 2011 at 5:39 PM
I wonder if there are any such places at Busch Gardens. Like, literally hidden spaces that only a select few people know about and keep quiet about. The closest thing I've found to this is the Rhine River bridge, but I want something MORE than that. A place that nearly no one knows about.
From Hannah AtkinsMy husband and I always love Grogans Pub for a quick pop in for a pint or two, out of the sun, some adult conversation at the bar and a quick rest. This year we found that they took the bar stools away from the bar, set up more food, and it's much more of a 'kid' friendly place this year. The lady pouring the beers left about half to a quarter of the head on your beer, I finally had to let her know that the beer needed to be filled more, with less head. It was less than amazing. We were very disappointed.
Posted June 5, 2011 at 9:28 AM
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Theme Park Insider: Orlando 2014
Get all of Theme Park Insider's reader ratings, tips, and advice for planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld, in our new 2014 Orlando guidebook! It's more than 200 pages of well-tested, insider information that will help you get the most from your vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Connect with Theme Park Insider
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive