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Busch Gardens, the Opening …

April 14, 2010

For those of you who don’t know, Busch Gardens opened its doors on May 16, 1975 as Busch Gardens, The Old Country. Themed after Old Town Europe, The Old Country represented four European Countries: England, Scotland, France and Germany. As you traveled through the park you could see intricate theming and detail that made you feel like you were in Europe.

Guests started their tour of Europe in England, which housed a replica of Big Ben, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a British Bakery and shops along a cobblestone path. Musicians played live music, and tours were given from the sky on the Skyride.

From England, the paths led to Scotland, home of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Guests could take a ride on the railroad, or travel down the hill to Hastings, a medieval hamlet located within the England Village. Once inside Hastings, guests enjoyed an arcade, theatrics and a dark ride, the Catapult.

After Hastings, they were led down a path toward France. There, the park replicated the streets of Paris, housed quaint outdoor restaurants and showcased several animal shows in the Three Musketeers Amphitheater. If a ride was what guests were looking for, the LeMans Raceway was what they found. It made for a nice drive through the countryside.

Next up was New France, home of log cabins filled with shops, pioneer crafts and artisans. There, the LeScoot Log Flume took guests on a splashing trip, cooling them off on a warm summer’s day.

Germany was themed after a 19th-century German village, live with an Oompah Band, dancers, candy makers and clock makers. Animals were around for the little ones to feed and pet, and they could even ride the horses of the Carousel. Germany was also home to the Rhine River Cruise and the parks first roller coaster, the Glissade.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing about Busch Gardens in the early years with me. I look forward to sharing some more history with you soon.

Renee
Park Operations Manager at Busch Gardens

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2010 9:00 am

    Again, just like I said last time you wrote about your history, we really love this stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pinky permalink
    April 14, 2010 9:05 am

    Cool. I always did wonder though – why “New France” and not Spain or another country? Not a criticism, just curious!

  3. Adrian permalink
    April 14, 2010 9:24 am

    That was awesome! I always wondered about that! I wonder what the rollercoasters looked like:) I love BG.

  4. April 14, 2010 9:33 am

    I actually have a souvenir Bell that says “The Old Country” on it that we gave to my grandmother. It calls the Festhaus the “German Beer House” it calls the mascot the “Friendly Eagle” and it has the “Musketeers Theatre” on it.
    When she passed away, It was one that I was able to get for my own from her collection. It has a ton of sentimental value.

  5. April 14, 2010 10:25 am

    If you have pictures of the early years, please post the on Facebook. We would love to see them! Thanks.

  6. April 14, 2010 10:39 am

    Many of us appreciate reading and seeing the past of Busch Gardens. I still hope you have my suggestion of making a booklet or perhaps a DVD with the entire history of the park from past to present. One thing I have always wanted to see is the entire BGW park construction. The attention to detail has always impressed me so, that it would be nice to see the people and the creativity behind the magic.

    Not only that but old footage of rides, shows, areas no longer standing, and games would be priceless to those who grew up around or near the park.

    Thanks for your article, it was a pleasure to read.

    • April 14, 2010 3:12 pm

      I agree. A souvenir book and/or dvd would be awesome.

  7. Karen permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:05 am

    I remember the Glissade!!! I have always been a roller coaster fanatic and also recall riding the Loch Ness not long after it first opened – I think I was about 12 years old.

  8. Margaret permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:14 am

    I remember all that. There was also a shooting gallery, and haunted house in Hastings. There were bagpipe players in Scotland, and the glissade was a very cool coaster. but the best ride was the Octopus. It was located where the swings are now, and the swings were where the katapult is now located. Still missing LeMans & Octopus! I remember the sign in Scotland in the bushes that said Loch Ness Monster coming soon 🙂

    • April 14, 2010 12:47 pm

      I really miss LeMans too, it where my husband and i meet when we both worked at Busch Gardens about 6 years ago. I also miss Cork Screw Hill was so sad to here that they changing it again…. I was sad when they took out Quest Star was taken out. Thank for all the memories BG 😛

  9. Marcus permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:48 am

    Loved the Glissade! Still miss it!

  10. Laura permalink
    April 14, 2010 2:06 pm

    What a great post! I second the request for more history and especially pictures!

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