Events to take place from January through March! 

Busch Gardens has just announced some exciting news for 2021. For the first time ever, the Williamsburg park is planning to hold three limited capacity, and outdoor, events in January, February, and early March. Guests will be able to meet animals not normally featured at the park, view fireworks on Saturday evenings, enjoy Cajun-inspired food and beverages, and participate in special kids’ activities.

Typically, the park closes up after Christmas events and reopens in mid to late March, so this new development is great news for theme park enthusiasts who crave ride time and the fun atmosphere the park offers.

Winter Weekends at Busch Gardens

busch gardens winter weekends
Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Guests will be treated to beautiful lights, thrilling roller coasters, and wildlife experiences. Several rides, including three roller coasters, will be open as well as Sesame Street Forest of Fun.

Winter Weekend Highlights

Day Hours: 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Night Hours: 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

  • Stunning Lights at Night: Keep a bit of that Christmas sparkle by strolling through eight European-inspired villages. Enjoy the crisp winter air and outdoor attractions and entertainment spread throughout the park.
  • Fireworks at Night: On Saturday nights, the skies light up with a stunning fireworks display to end the evening.

busch gardens winter weekends
Courtesy of Busch Gardens

  • Animal Experiences: Enjoy up-close encounters, with physical distancing, to learn about animals such as a capuchin monkey, baby kangaroo, gray fox, lemur, serval, crested porcupine, alligator, and more.
  • Musical Entertainment: Contemporary musical performances from an a cappella group and Killarney Trio serenade guests from different spots around the park.
  • Culinary and Beverages: Embark on a flavor-filled journey of animal-inspired treats like zebra chocolate drizzled kettle corn, Moscow Mule, and Salty Dog cocktails, specialty brews like Snakebite Stout, and entrée favorites from Das Festhaus.
  • For the Kids: Join a park-wide fur and feathers scavenger hunt that will inspire the youngsters to learn about animals and their impact on the environment. They can also learn how to build a birdhouse (for a small additional fee). You can also take part in photo ops with Frosty the Snowman.

Mardi Gras

busch gardens winter weekend
Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

“Laissez les bon temps rouler” as the spirit of New Orleans comes to Williamsburg in this limited capacity special event. Eight decorated villages will be serving up Cajun food, cocktails, and live entertainment and music. Additionally, there will be rides and roller coasters, and Sesame Street Forest of Fun for thrill seekers to enjoy.

  • Entertainment: The carnival atmosphere comes alive with street entertainment such as a New Orleans Jazz Band, interactive drum band, stilt walkers, comedic jugglers, and much more.
  • Culinary and Beverages: Enjoy classic New Orleans food and beverages like Cajun sausage and grits, gumbo, hurricane cocktails, and specialty beer. Beignets and king cakes really bring in the Big Easy spirit of Mardi Gras.
  • Kids’ Activities: Join a park-wide masquerade scavenger hunt with activities and mask decorating.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

March 2021 (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)

Information is not currently available for this event, but it’s in the works, so keep an eye out at the park website or social media channels.

“Adding January, February, and early March to our schedule is an exciting operational change for us and we couldn’t be more thrilled to kick off a new year with new special events for our guests,” said Kevin Lembke, president of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. “While we continue to operate safely with limited capacity, our guests now have the opportunity to experience even more events with a great lineup happening almost every weekend of the year.”

Busch Gardens 2021 Limited-Capacity Events:

  • Winter Weekends: January 15–24
  • Mardi Gras: January 29–February 28
  • St. Patrick's Day Celebration: March 5–28
  • Food & Wine Festival: April 2–May 23
  • Kids' Weekends: June 20
  • Summer Nights: June 25–July 29
  • Bier Fest: July 30–September 6
  • Howl-O-Scream: September 12–October 31
  • The Count's Spooktacular: September 25–October 31
  • Christmas Town: November 13–January 2

Busch Gardens’ Winter Weekends and Mardi Gras are limited capacity events. Admission starts at $34.99. Admission is included for members, Annual Pass and Fun Card holders, but reservations are still required as this is a limited capacity event, and the park needs to keep a count on how many guests will be in the park. Please visit the Busch Gardens website for information, complete operating schedule, and to make a reservation.

The park operates in compliance with Virginia’s phase 3 COVID safety guidelines for businesses. There are enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, mask-wearing requirements, temperature screenings, and physical distancing.

Could year-round operation be a permanent thing? We really don’t know, but one can hope, right?

Are you planning to go to any of the winter events at Busch Gardens? Let us know in the comments.