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Theme parks can get expensive quickly. Once you’ve scanned your tickets, the expenses just keep coming! This year we took a trip to Busch Gardens in Virginia. Our trip was fantastic, without the expensive trip guilt. From your drinks to your park tickets, there are hundreds of ways you can save. Here are some ways to save you BIG on your next trip to Busch Gardens.
The Best Ways to Save at Busch Gardens
How to Save on Tickets
A ticket to Busch Gardens runs about $77 each for adults and $67 each for children (ages 3-9) March 20th- October 30th. Off-season times and holidays may increase or decrease this price. For a family of four (with one child) you could be spending about $300 on tickets before you’ve even walked into the park! Here are a few ways to save on your Busch Garden Tickets
Go with a group
Busch Gardens offers discounted rates for group tickets. You will save $22 on each ticket you purchase when you buy tickets for a group of 15 or more. Tickets must be purchased at least 2 days prior to visiting the park.
Visit during off season
Visit Busch Gardens during off-season times for discounted ticket prices. Off-season for Busch Gardens is between October and March. Check the website for park hours to plan your trip during one of these weekends as park hours differ during fall and winter months.
Buy a Season Pass
If you know you will be visiting the park more than once in a year, buy the season pass. A season pass costs $144 for the entire year, and can even be done in monthly payments. By your second trip, you will have already paid the cost of the annual membership.
Look for discounted tickets
There are tons of ways you can get discounted tickets for Busch Gardens. When we purchased our tickets, we went through Groupon and ended up getting our tickets for just $35 each! Before you purchase your tickets at the gate or through their website, check Groupon and Retailmenot for deals and discounts.
Busch Gardens offers a few discounts on their tickets which can be used when purchased at the gate or through their website:
Waves of Honor or Shop on Base– Busch Gardens participates in the Waves of Honor program. Active service members, with military ID, can get one free complimentary admission ticket per year and as many as three direct dependent tickets.
Pre-School Pass– Before May 31st each year, if your child is between the age of 3-5, sign up and show proof of age when you enter the park to grab your FREE Busch Gardens Williamsburg Pre-School Pass! This pass is good for the entire summer!
Save on Food and Drinks
Quick service food stands are located all throughout the park. Unfortunately, items such as coolers, glass containers, or any outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park. There are still a few ways you can stay full without draining your wallet
Bring your own water bottle
Bottled water costs between $3-5 (depending on the size) at the park. This makes staying hydrated a hassle on your wallet. Instead of purchasing water, bring your own water bottle and fill it up at water fountains throughout the day!
Buy a Souvenir Cup
Souvenir cups may seem a bit pricey, however, once you purchase it you can use it year after year! Once you purchase the cup, soda refills are only 99 cents for the rest of the season and Icee refills are just $1.29. Soda is expensive in the park, and this deal yields significant savings. There are also insulated mugs for hot chocolate during Christmas time!
Other useful tips
Go when it’s rainy
Busch Gardens will remain open even during inclement weather. Some outdoor shows, rides, and other attractions may be temporarily affected by thunderstorms, but the park will remain open. Refunds and rain checks are not issued due to bad weather. Make bad weather work to your advantage.
We visited Busch Gardens during Memorial Day weekend this year, and like clockwork, it poured down rain the minute we entered the park. Theme parks are prepared to jack up the prices for items like umbrellas and ponchos the minute it starts raining, and lower them when the weather is nice. Bring your own poncho or rain jacket with you when you enter the park. We used our ponchos from our Disney trip two years ago, and they worked great!
Plus, since the weather was bad there were almost no lines for any of the rides. We rode almost every ride and visited most of the shops in only 3 hours! This saved us a huge amount of money on food since we were able to leave the park earlier than we planned. While bad weather might not make for the most enjoyable trip, it does have its perks!
Eat small meals throughout the day
When I’m riding rollercoasters, the last thing I want to do is eat a big meal beforehand. Instead of eating a big meal for lunch, we bought smaller snacks throughout the day. Buying an entire meal would have easily cost us over $20 each, even if we were being really frugal. Eat a big breakfast before leaving your hotel, and eat a late dinner after you’ve left the park if you’re still hungry.
Look for ways to get discounted rooms
When we stayed in Williamsburg during Memorial Day weekend we stayed in a resort style room for free! Read how we were able to score our free room here. When looking for hotels, check discount hotel sites such as Expedia, or alternatives to hotels like Airbnb, for cheaper rooms. Book your vacation ahead of time and during off-season to save on hotel prices.
Busch Gardens can be an affordable and wonderful time for you and your family. Don’t be intimidated by high priced tickets, and be on the lookout for discounts!