Busch Gardens with a Two Year Old

I love amusement parks. I love roller coasters, the shows, the music, and the carnival type food. I spent many, many days at Busch Gardens in middle school, when all of my friends had passes and we would beg parents to drop us off and pick us up. The summer before R was born, I spent 5 weeks living and working up at William and Mary, six minutes from the park. We spent many warm summer nights at the park. When someone suggested that I take big R though, I was afraid he would be too young.

We arrived right at 10:00 when they opened because we wanted to spend as much time as possible in the park before nap time. (You can leave and reenter, but it was too far of a drive for us.) We headed to the Sesame Street Forest of Fun to ride the rides (but not the splash park! Kids see that and start right away, leaving the rides open!) R can be a little bit timid, and he wasn't ready to try the bigger rides, but he loved Oscar's Yucky Forest and didn't want to get out of Bert and Ernie's Loch Adventure. We skipped the meet and greets because R hates mascots, but don't skip it if your kid loves them!

We left the Forest of Fun and looped around to all of the countries. Don't skip out on these because they are not labeled for kids. Each country has something for kids. For those who don't like the rides, there is face painting, Henna tattoos, hair wraps, and paint your own pottery all throughout the park.
Germany/Oktoberfest: Der Autobahn Jr., Der Roto Baron, Wirbelwindchen, Kinder Karussel (the whole family can ride!)
Italy: The Little Balloons, The Little Gliders (parents can ride too!), parents can accompany their child on the Battering Ram, the Elephant Run, and Turkish-Delight
 Ram and The Flying Machine (these aren't kid's rides, but they can ride with a parent)
Scottland: Li'l Clydes
New France: Parents can accompany their kids on Le Catapult and Le Scoot

Also, while not marked as a kid ride, kids can ride the train, the Rhine River Cruise, and the Sky Ride. We ran out of time to catch these, but we really wanted to. That's okay, we have things to look forward to next time!

We then headed over to the Land of the Dragons where R loved the playground and rode several of the rides. Eggery Deggery and Flutter Sputter are both rides that adults can accompany their children. R also rode the Bug-A-Dug (which I think was a little fast for his liking), and Chug-A-Tug, which he loved.

We looped back around to Elmo's Castle to see the Sesame Street show and splash in the fountains. Be aware, the water goes off when the show starts, so if your little one is going to go nuts if they turn off, plan to head there in between shows. This was R's favorite part of the day, and he could have stayed longer if it wasn't for nap time having been long past.

I wish that we had more time to see more of the shows because most of them are air conditioned and usually pretty good for kids. The park has six shows, but my top picks for young ones are the Sunny Day Celebration, Mix It Up, Oktoberzest, and More...Pet Shenanigans. We did take advantage of the fact that the Food and Wine festival is going on, meaning that there are booths representing different countries scattered throughout the park with small plates for sale. We sampled the Mediterranean and Indian, but I had my eye on several more options. All of this is a sign to me- we've gotta get a pass. Children ages 2 and under are free. Once they are three, they can get a free preschool pass until they are five. If you're looking for the preschool pass, be sure to look online early to get it. Also, passes get you a discount on items that you buy. We like to snack all day, but there are buy ahead meal deal options also.
Some tips:
01. Get measured in England right when you walk in. This will get you a wristband and a list of rides that your little one can ride.
02. Bring in water bottles and individual sized snacks.
03. Use the family dryer outside of Escape from Pompi to dry off after the splash pads.
04. Buying the refillable drinks gets you free refills of ice water. Ours is ten years old, and we still take it for free refills. The popcorn bucket is also refillable and a good deal.
05. The park has staggered opening times. Sesame Street Forest of Fun is one of the first to open.
06. There are nursing rooms throughout the park. There is one in the Festhaus, the Land of the Dragons, New France, Marco Polo's Marketplace, and in the Forest of Fun.
07. When using the tram, don't worry about folding your stroller up. The staff will help you get it, just grab your kid!
08. Look for stroller parking all around the park.
09. The KIDsiderate games in Oktoberfest will always have a prize.
10. Use the Child Swap for parents who want to ride the bigger rides. One parent waits in line, the other waits with your child, once you ride, you switch.