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Busch Gardens Williamsburg expects to reopen in August; no update on Kings Dominion's reopening
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Busch Gardens Williamsburg expects to reopen in August; no update on Kings Dominion's reopening

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Loch Ness Monster  roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg/

Busch Gardens Williamsburg plans to reopen next week.

The theme park said it will reopen Thursday, Aug. 6, with a new limited capacity special event that requires advance reservations.

"While the general park remains closed, this new specially ticketed outdoor event will highlight an array of hand-picked park experiences," Busch Gardens Williamsburg website said.

The Coasters and Craft Brews event will allow guests to stroll though select villages at Busch Gardens Williamsburg including Ireland, Scotland, France and New France. 

Guests will be able to ride only certain roller coasters including InvadR, Griffon, Loch Ness Monster and Finnegan’s Flyer. And they will be able to eat barbecue at Trapper’s Smokehouse along with tasting a selection of more than 20 local and craft cold brews at Grogan’s Pub.

The park will be open for limited hours - Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 pm., and each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Reservations must be purchased in advance. Park admission tickets are $44.99 per person. Food and beverages are sold separately. Parking is $10 per vehicle.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., the park's parent company, announced Wednesday that the park would reopen but it didn't provide details. "The company expects its Busch Gardens theme park in Virginia to commence a phased reopening in early August 2020," the company said in a news release that provided preliminary second quarter results.

A park spokeswoman said the company didn't have information at this time on when Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA will resume normal operation.


Kings Dominion remains closed and there are no updates at this time for a reopening the theme park in Hanover County, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The spokeswoman reiterated that with current capacity restrictions, "it is not economically viable for us to operate our park."

Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg — two of Virginia’s biggest tourist attractions and economic boosters — had said in late June that they wouldn't reopen on July 1 when Virginia moved into the third phase of the state’s plan to gradually reopen businesses amid the coronavirus.

The theme parks said then that limiting them to having 1,000 people at one time is not economically sustainable.

As of July 1, entertainment venues, including amusement parks, can open at 50% capacity, or a maximum of 1,000 people.

“The 1,000-patron limit does keep us out of business. It is not an economically sustainable model for us” to reopen, Kevin Lembke, the park’s president, said late last month.

Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water County USA have been closed since March.

SeaWorld Entertainment has reopened eight of its parks with capacity limitations including SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld San Antonio.

The company also said Wednesday that continues to monitor guidance from federal, state and local authorities to determine when it can reopen its parks in California.

Despite the capacity limitations, attendance numbers at the SeaWorld Entertainment parks have improved since reopening, the company said. "Total park attendance at reopened parks has increased 14% on a same park basis from the week ended June 28 (the first full week these parks were open) to the most recent week ended July 26," the company said.

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