Busch Gardens: Our Early Roots
Our roots can be traced to 1959 when what would become Busch Gardens® Tampa opened as a small bird sanctuary and garden, both adjacent to the new Anheuser-Busch brewery. The park soon expanded with the country’s first free-range habitat for herds of animals, more extraordinary zoological attractions and an array of roller coasters and shows. Today, there are two Busch Gardens parks: the original Tampa, Fla. location and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Va. which opened in 1975. Both parks are family-oriented theme park destinations designed to immerse guests in foreign geographic settings.
Each of the Busch Gardens has a companion water park. Located adjacent to Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island® is a 56 acre water park that is filled with water rides, dining and other attractions that incorporate a Key West theme. The theme park is the seventh most-attended water park in North America. Water Country USA® is located near Busch Gardens Williamsburg and is Virginia’s largest family water play park. It has state-of-the-art water rides and attractions all set to a 1950s and 1960s surf theme.
SeaWorld: Waves of Growth
SeaWorld® opened its gates for the first time in 1964, founded by George Millay, Milt Shedd, Ken Norris and David DeMott. Originally planned as an underwater restaurant, the concept grew into a marine zoological park on 21 acres along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. With an initial investment of $1.5 million, 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two saltwater aquariums, SeaWorld drew more than 400,000 visitors its first year.
Today, there are three SeaWorld parks in the U.S., including the original San Diego, Calif. location, and parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas. We also created more parks that connect guests with marine life in new ways. The exclusive Discovery Cove® in Orlando is a tropical oasis where guests can swim with dolphins and other sea life. Aquatica SeaWorld’s Waterpark™, with locations in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, combines water park thrills, nature and animals for a unique family experience. The parks’ up-close animal encounters, educational attractions and innovative entertainment are designed to inspire guests of all ages to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world around them.
Sesame Place: Adding to the Family
Sesame Place® was developed as the only theme park in American entirely dedicated to Sesame Street’s® spirit of imagination. The theme park shares SeaWorld’s education and learning through entertainment philosophy. What began as a 3-acre theme park in 1980 has grown to 55 acres with more than 4-dozen rides, play areas, shows, distinctive experiences and events.