When my East Coast friends come to visit, occasionally (okay, rarely) they express a desire to visit an amusement park. When, in the course of that discussion, I mention Knott’s Berry Farm, the reaction, invariably, is: “Huh? That doesn’t sound like an amusement park.” I would wager the same is often said of the Busch Gardens theme parks, of which there are two: one in Virginia and one in Florida. Oh, and a third in Pasadena. “Huh?”
Believe it or not, the original Busch Gardens is right here in Pasadena. Opened to the public in 1906 by beer magnate Adolphus and wife Lily Busch, their tricked-out home was a major tourist attraction until closing in 1938. In that time it drew over one million visitors, which is, you know, a lot for those days. Since then, it has been largely forgotten. No longer: Pasadena Heritage researcher Michael Logan will give an illustrated lecture about the gardens, matching historic images to their exact locations a century later, locations that you can see for yourself on one of the two-hour, docent-led walking tours through the gardens, which will leave every half-hour until 4 p.m. Tickets are likely to go fast for this one, so get yours lickety-split.
Uncovering History in Pasadena’s Busch Gardens
Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m.
Westridge School (for the lecture), 324 Madeline Dr., Pasadena
$22; $18 for Pasadena Heritage members