We’re delighted to share our tips for surviving Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg with kids! Even though the park turns scary after dark, there is still plenty for families to see and do!
Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream is happening every weekend through October 29th. It will also be open Thursdays and Fridays for the next two weeks. Hours vary by date, so be sure to check their website for more details!
Tip #1for Surviving Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream with Kids: Visit during the Count’s Spooktacular
Visit during the Count’s Spooktacular. This is a daytime event held Saturdays and Sundays through October 29th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Children 9 and under can dress in Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the park. Trick-or-treat stations can be found in the following areas:
Adventure Photo – England
Kids Shamrock – Ireland
Tweedside Gifts – Scotland
Caribou Pottery – New France
Ring Toss Game – Oktoberfest
There will also be special Halloween entertainment during the event, including Sesame Street characters dressed in Halloween costumes!
Tip #2 for Surviving Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream with Kids: Hit the rides early
Busch Gardens warns parents that the park may be too scary for young children after 6 p.m. Since we have two scaredy cats, we decided to do all the children’s ride areas first.
The biggest children’s attraction areas, Land of the Dragons and Sesame Street Forest of Fun, close at 5 p.m. We like to start at the Forest of Fun and work our way counter-clockwise through the park’s countries.
Just past Sesame Street Forest of Fun, Italy has Elephant Run, Little Balloons, and Little Gliders for little ones. After that, you’ll be in Oktoberfest where you’ll find swings and bumper cars. Then, on to Germany where you’ll find classic amusement park rides such as airplanes and a carousel.
Land of the Dragons comes up right after the carousel and has a cute treehouse and ropes for kids to explore, plus several rides geared to little dragons.
Now that you’ve hit most of the kids’ rides, you may want to double back to Das Festhaus in Oktoberfest to grab some food, a drink from the wide assortment at the Brauhaus or the OPEN CASKet Howl-O-Scream bar, and watch a show in the bier hall.
Tip #3 for Surviving Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream with Kids: Enjoy the sights
After your time in Oktoberfest and Germany, make your way past DarKastle and Alpengeist and spend some time on the bridge watching the coasters and Le Scoot log flume drop. We had a fun time browsing the shops in New France (a.k.a. Canada) and buying some maple leaf cookies.
If you still have time before dark, you can walk through the aviary, visit the wolves, and the eagles before you land in Ireland.
Once you get to Ireland, you may be ready for another rest – a great excuse to watch a show at Abby Stone Theatre. Please note that this theatre is a bit small and lines form early. If you need a drink while you wait in line, the Inoculation Station is full of nurses ready to serve up a cure!
As you escape from Ireland, you’ll see monsters and creepy clowns that make a fun photo op!
Tip #4 for Surviving Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream with Kids: Take in the shows
We weren’t sure whether our kids would be too frightened for the shows, but we were able to see them all in one day without Here is a rundown of the shows and their scare factor for kids:
Night Beats – Das Festhaus in Oktoberfest
This cabaret-style dance show
is set in the “casket club” and the graveyard. Both kids loved the upbeat dance numbers set to popular songs. It was a cute show and featured vampires and other creatures of the night.
Plenty of seating available, but it may fill up quickly if you go during prime lunch or dinner time.
** Scare factor: 4
Fiend – Abby Stone Theatre in Ireland
A campy wacky scientist act with rock music, scantily clad nurses, a man in a speedo, a sea monster, and sexual references that may go over young kids’ heads. The show is set in a dark room with some bright light flashes and fireworks. Mild violence. Very original and creative storyline. Our 7-year-old son was fine, but our 5-year-old daughter was a little scared and opted to take advantage of the darkness and sneak in a nap on my lap.
As noted above, it is a smaller theater so a line forms early and the show could get filled up.
** Scare factor: 7
Monster Stomp on Ripper Row – Globe Theatre
No matter which season you visit Busch Gardens, shows out of this theater never disappoint with high-quality theatrical music and dance productions. The coolest parts of this show were a knife percussion solo done on a wooden casket and an Eminem rap/Evanescence song montage. There were also glow in the dark bones and aerial skeleton disco acts, plus stomp rhythms all mixed with a cat and mouse type love story until, well…it is Halloween in old-school England! Despite the storyline, the kids were highly engaged and we all agreed this was our favorite show of Howl-O-Scream
This theater is right near the park exit, so we usually watch this show last and then head out. This is a very large theater, but arrive early for the best seats.
** Scare factor: 8
Tip #5 for Surviving Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream with Kids: Embrace your inner child!
If you have enough adults with you, take turns popping into the Haunted Houses.
We didn’t have grandparents in tow, so we couldn’t explore the indoor haunts. However, we did stroll down Circo Sinistro. The kids did get creeped out, but it was totally worth the laugh. If your kids get spooked, duck into a shop or restaurant because the Scare Squad cannot follow you in there.
Get a cool blinking light drink. We found the cider in Italy to die for, but each spooky bar has its own specialty concoction.
Click here for more tips and information on how to survive Busch Gardens Howl-O-scream.
If you need a place to stay while you’re in Williamsburg, we highly recommend the SpringHill Suites. You can read five reasons why we think SpringHill Suites is the number one family hotel in Williamsburg here.
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