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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg with Little Kids

Updated: Apr 2

Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a 422-acre amusement park with rides, attractions & events for thrill seekers & families, including concerts & holiday events. This theme park is located about an hour from RVA and an hour from Virginia Beach, so it's easy for a day trip for Virginia families!

This guide has all my tips and tricks for visiting Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VA as a family, and I also included helpful information for when you visit with kiddos under 4 years old. Please note: I did not include Water County on this guide, even though some of these tips are helpful for Busch Garden's water park too!

Follow @thewestendmom on Instagram for more things to do with kids in Virginia!

I visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg many times growing up in RVA, and we started bringing our son when he was 15 months old. Our first visit was during Christmas Town, and this was such a fun event even with a kiddo under 2 years old. Since then, we have visited during the summer and for the kid-friendly Halloween eventThe Count’s Spooktacular and the festive Christmas event Christmas Town. Based on our visits with kids, I've create this guide so you know exactly what to do with your kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

The Count's Spooktacular: This not-too-spooky celebration is usually hosted in September and October, with the last weekend being Halloween weekend or the weekend prior to Halloween (this depends on when 10/31 falls). Kiddos 9 & younger can dress up in costume, trick-or-treat around the park, participate in costume parades… plus everyone can enjoy all the regular theme park attractions! 

Christmas Town: This Christmas festival starts in November and goes through early January. It has Busch Gardens Williamsburg decked out for Christmas with more than 10 thousand lights! You can watch holiday shows, ride select rides & try lots of festive treats. Our favorites this year were meeting Rudolph, riding the Holly Jolly Express & Kinder Karussel and watching Elmo’s Christmas Wish!

Pro Tip: Check which rides are open & the show times before you visit! Our favorite Land of the Dragons was closed during this visit, so I had to switch up our itinerary to include the other kids’ rides & shows.

The Kiddie Rides at Busch Gardens Williamsburg:

Sesame Street Forest of Fun: If your little one loves Elmo, your first stop in Busch Gardens Williamsburg should be Sesame Street. Sesame Street Forest of Fun is located at the park's entrance near England. Along with kiddie rides, there is a play space with a soft flooring (Oscar's Yucky Forest) and there are character shows! You can also get your picture taken with Sesame Street friends.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, children can also enjoy the water activities in this area. Elmo's Castle turns into a splash park with buckets and jets.

  1. Grover's Alpine Express : This is a low thrill roller coast. Children must be 41" to ride alone; 38"-41" must ride with someone 14 or older.

  2. Oscar's Whirly Worms: This ride spins and moves on a track. Children must be 42" to ride alone. Kiddos who can walk to 42" must be accompanied by someone 14 and older.

  3. Prince Elmo's Spire: This is a kid-sized version of the "shot-n-drop" rides. 6 people ride per vehicle, and it goes up slowly, then it drops quickly. Children must be 42" to ride alone. Kiddos who can walk to 42" must be accompanied by someone 14 and older.

  4. Bert & Ernie's Loch Adventure: This is a water ride open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Little kids get to ride in a dragon boat around the castle. Children must be 36'-56' to ride alone. Walking to 36" must ride with a 14 year old or older.

*To enjoy these rides, children up to 41.9" (must be able to walk) and they must be accompanied by someone 14 years or older.

The Land of Dragons: Located in Germany, this section of the park has kid-friendly rides, climbing nets and more. Kids up to 41.9" (must be able to walk) can enjoy these rides with someone who is 14 years old or older. This section has the best rides for little ones who are 1 to 2 years old.

Ground Play: There is a soft surface around the tree house and climbing area. Dragons are "coming out" of the ground surface (this is pretend water). Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is a small splash park.

Tree House & Climbing Area: This treehouse and rope climbing area allows children to explore and move around in an unstructured way. This was one of the first areas my son loved (at 15 months old). He ran around and climbed up the tree house. We didn't try the rope climbing areas until my kids were 2 years old and older - younger kids definitely need assistance on this. Guests on the ground can see all the way up, so keep that in mind as you pick your outfit for the day!

Kiddie Rides in The Land of The Dragons:

  1. Bug-a-Dug: This ride moves on a circular track. Children ride by themselves - no grownups. It moves very slowly, and it was one of the first rides my son did at 15 months old.

  2. Chug-a-Tug: This boat ride moves in a circular track of water. Children ride by themselves - no grownups. It moves very slowly, and it was one of the first rides my son did at 15 months old.

  3. Flutter Sputter: This ride has individual "dragon" seats for each group (2 per vehicle). The dragons go in a circular motion, going up and down (this is very similar to Disney's Dumbo ride). Kiddos who can walk to 36" must be accompanied by someone 14 and older. This was one of the first rides my son tried at 15 months old.

Kid-Friendly Rides in other areas of Busch Gardens Williamsburg:

1.Busch Gardens Railway: This family-friendly train goes around the entire park in about 20 minutes. It is a must for train-lovers and anyone hoping for a rest! You can down on some of the walking by taking the train to different spots around the park. You can fold your stroller to board, too.

Location: This train makes stops in Scotland, New France, and Festa Italia.

4. Li'l Clydes: This slow moving pony ride is for children only (walking through 56"). Little kids get to ride on a Clydesdale in this carousel style ride.

Location: Scotland (near the High Stables)

3. The Little Balloons: This is a slow moving ride in which children sit in a seat. The balloons gently rise up and down in a circular motion.

Location: Festa Italia

*Children must be able to walk and under 56" tall. For all kiddie rides, children must have shoes on.

4.The Little Gliders: This ride has two seating options: one where kiddos lay on their stomachs and one where you can sit in a seat. It is a slow moving ride that goes in a circle, and each flying machine goes up higher in the sky and comes lower the the ground.

Location:  Festa Italia

*Children must be able to walk and under 5'6" to ride alone. Children who are walking to 36" can ride with someone who is 14 or older in the sit-down glider.

5. Elephant Run: This is a kid-sized version of the bobsled ride. It spins pretty fast on a circular track.

Location: Festa Italia

*Children must be 38" tall and may ride with someone 14 years old or older.

6. Kinder Karussel: This slow moving carousel is fun for the whole family. To ride alone, children must be 42" or taller.

Location: Germany

7. Der Roto Baron: Children ride in a WWI airplane in a circular motion. Children can move the plane up and down.

Location: Germany

*Children must be able to walk and under 56” tall to ride.

8. Der Autobahn Junior: This is a kid-sized version of bumper cars.

Location: Germany

*Children must be able to walk and under 48” tall to ride.

*Dress for the weather & for walking! The children’s rides are spread out between Germany, New France, Italy, Holiday Hills, the North Pole & Sesame Street Forest of Fun.

Tips & Tricks for visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg with Little Kids:

1. Purchase tickets on Busch Gardens Williamsburg's website before your visit. You can score deals on everything from park tickets to dining plans. 

2. A daily ticket for anyone 3 years old and older starts at $92.99 (vs. 111.99 at the gate) and $139.99 (vs. 161.98 at the gate). You can purchase a two day, two park ticket for $104.99 (daily tickets) and $144.99 for a daily ticket plus all day dining pass. The Two Day, Two Park ticket includes visiting both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA when open. You must use this ticket within 6 months of purchase date.

If you are planning on visiting multiple times throughout the year, check out the membership options. There are four membership options, and you can pay monthly. These prices start at $14.50 per month.

3. The Preschool Pass is a must for children 5 and younger!

4. Parking starts at $32.00 per vehicle per day. Prices do fluctuate based on the anticipated crowd. If you have kids, preferred parking is a lifesaver - your parking spot is right at park entrance! 

5. While outside food is not allowed in the park, I always take emergency snacks for my 2 littles under 4. Toddlers are unpredictable, so I am always prepared. In the last 6 years, no Busch Gardens employee has stopped my toddler/preschool snacks - peanut butter crackers, goldfish, applesauce, water bottles, etc.

The all-day dining plans start at $24.99 for children, and $49.99 for adults. You can get a new entrée every 90 minutes. With entrees around $15, this is worth it if you plan on eating 2 or more meals at the park. Food is also abundant, so you may be able to get 2 meal plans for a family of 4. Participating restaurants and dining options are: Das Festhaus, Marco Polo's Market Place, Trappers Smokehouse, Les Frites, and German Pretzels and Beer.

6. If you can visit on a weekday or a non holiday weekend, the crowd is much smaller.

7. If you’re visiting during the Halloween festivities, arrive early! Sesame Street® Forest of Fun opens at 10 & all kid-friendly activities close at 5.  This is where the hay maze, Halloween crafts & costume dance parties are. 

8. Bring a stroller for anyone 5 and under. Stroller rentals start at $33 per day.

I love our double stroller . I specifically got this stroller for its height and weight limits. It still fits my 4 year old and 6 year old, and it has an attachment for an infant bassinet. It's essential when we visit Disney World and other theme parks.

I also love our umbrella stroller . This one is great for one kiddo OR a little kid and big kid who doesn't need to ride in a stroller. It's also easy to fold and carry.

9. Bring backup! If you have multiple children under 5, it will be so helpful to have another adult with you. Some of the children's rides have a height minimum even if an adult is riding too! During our visit, we have at least two adults, so we could swap out on rides with each child.

10. Bring fans, cooling towels and sunscreen. It can get really hot in the park during the summer. Our handheld misting fans were lifesavers, and I always attach these fans to our stroller in the summer. We used our cooling towels to sit on during rides, too. The seats get hot!

11. Measure your kids prior to your visit. It's good to know how tall they are & you can anticipate which rides they can get on. If you forget, an employee at any of the kids' rides can measure them & give them a wrist band (color coded to the rides they can do).

12. Water County USA is Busch Gardens Williamsburg's water park, and it is the largest water park in Virginia! Unlike Kings Dominion, this water park is not inside the theme park, and you will need to either buy a separate pass for the water park or buy a combo theme park/water park ticket.

Water County USA opens in May, and you can visit on weekends only. Starting the weekend of Memorial Day, you can visit daily between 10:30am and 7pm. Water County USA has water slides, a lazy river, a lagoon, and a wave pool!

During the winter months, you'll find it open from 3-8pm on Fridays, Saturdays from noon to 7pm, and Sundays from noon to 6pm.

During Spring Break (3/21 to 4/21), Busch Gardens Williamsburg is open almost every day all day - days are around 10am to 8pm. Check here for the calendar.

From June 1 to Labor Day, the park is also open daily from around 10am to 8pm.

14. Ride the Busch Garden Railway. The steam-powered locomotive is fun for kids, parents can figure out the park’s layout & everyone can rest. AND you can bring your stroller! 

15. Dress for comfort & bring a stroller for little kids! There’s a lot of walking & hills…. plus kiddie rides are spread out. 

Also, check out the Frequently asked Questions on Busch Gardens Williamsburg's website for more helpful facts.

Things to do with kids in RVA, Busch Gardens with little kids, Virginia Theme Parks

If you've visited a theme park before, what's the most helpful thing to keep in mind with visiting with children?

Headed to Kings Dominion Amusement Park in Ashland, Virginia with your family? Check out my guide on Visiting Kings Dominion with Little Kids.

For more details on these getaway spots and more Virginia adventures, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!


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