This summer we spent a couple of days in Williamsburg, Virginia. We visited the Busch Gardens theme parks, which are really nice. We went to Water Country, U.S.A. to cool down and then hit the roller coasters in the main park.
Busch Gardens is fairly old, but is well maintained and attractive. Unlike other parks, they don't have many 'branded' attractions. The different sections are designed around country themes, there's England, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. We entered through England and the first roller coaster we hit was the Loch Ness Monster.
I was struck by how well the designers excited the theme. They created a faux society of Nessie enthusiasts and placed expedition materials around the entrance of the ride. Here's the sign for the expedition's main 'camp.' The society (I think it's meant to be an 18th century theme. It's very steampunky) is called the "Club of Underwater Phenomena Undiscovered, Ltd." Very cool.
This is the back of the research sub. I love the details. Someone had a lot of fun designing this.
This is one of the diving suits.
A map of the sightings.
There's even warning signs telling visitors to take cover if they hear the "Nessie" siren.
I guess Nessie likes her nibbles. I wonder what's in the "Loch Lure"? Maybe haggis?
The fake sponsors are awesome. I want to belong to the Scottish Society for Freshwater Phenomena.
More sponsors. "Royal Academy of Applied Scientific Study of Historical Nautical Rarities"? I wonder if Prince Harry is in charge of that? Sounds like it's right up his alley.
This sign gives visitors the history of the monster. I didn't know Nessie was first sighted in the 7th century. Wow, that's a long time ago.
The ride opened in 1978 and won an award in 2003. I'm not surprised about the award. The ride has aged very well.
I think this proves that good, thoughtful, design is timeless. I'm not sure the new 'branded' rides (Superman this, Harry Potter that) will endure. But the classic ones (I'm looking at you, Disney Haunted Mansion) will last for a long time.