Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jon Farleigh & Dewi Do Busch Gardens Williamsburg, VA

UPDATE 4/19/13: The Pet Care Center at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (during the off-season) was improved with HVAC, providing heat and air conditioning to the entire facility, as needed. Because of these updates, the daily board fee per pet has increased to $20 ($18 for season pass members). 

Note: For my more recent (4/20/12) review of the Busch Gardens Pet Care Center (dog kennel), click here.


Well, at least the Pet Care Center at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, VA, a spectacular theme park only an hour from my home.

Voted "The World's Most Beautiful Theme Park"

My three kids are out of school this week for Spring Break (explaining my limited blog activity, and if you were here, the piles of rubble amongst the pet hair in all corners of my home). [sigh] So yesterday, wanting to enjoy the balmy mid-eighties outside and to have someone else clean up after them for a day, I loaded the dogs, my three kids (plus one friend) into my car and headed due east on I-64. It was well worth the trip.

Now in case you're wondering, Jon Farleigh and Dewi were not treated to pooch-sized thrill rides and funnel cakes; nope, they, instead, hung out in the Pet Care Center nestled amongst clusters of mature hardwood trees and conveniently located near the park's main entrance.

A view from the front

Since the Pet Care Center is located close to the main entrance, parking is choice (no tram commuting from parking lots afar). (A real bonus on days like yesterday with record park attendance.)

Kennel admission fees are paid at the main gate
 - with parking fees, if any.

Pet owners are not required to provide proof of vaccination; however, Jon Farleigh and Dewi are up-to-date (and just to be safe, I brought their most recent shot records with me). (I'd use strong caution boarding an animal with compromised or immature immunity.)

A side view (Jon Farleigh's and Dewi's kennel was midway
 down this side of the building, behind the hedge.)

The kennel building is not air-conditioned; however, because it's nestled in the trees on a breezy hilltop, the indoor temperature is always comfortable (even for a fluffy corgi on a hot summer's day).

"Hi, mom!"
Note: The floor is not dirty; it had recently been sprayed and cleaned.
Busch Gardens is an immaculate theme park, Pet Care Center included.

So here we are strolling back to the boys' accommodations after one of several potty/exercise breaks. (Kennel staff are not permitted to remove pets from their kennels for any reason other than emergency; therefore, owners must return periodically to walk their pets and/or provide a snack. Staff members do, however, frequently provide all dogs with clean, cool water to drink.)

Each time we have used the facility, the staff has been most pleasant and professional. Truthfully, Busch Gardens employs many local retirees during the park season, and the Pet Care Center must be a popular gig...but, think about it -- having someone's "grandpa" take care of your dog for the day just has to be a win-win situation.

I didn't get a good photo of the size of this kennel, but,
as you can see, it's large enough to comfortably hold
both dogs, with plenty of room to spare.
(My camera flash makes the space look darker than it really is.)

snacks, extra water, poop bags and leashes 

It's okay if you forget the poop bags; they're provided.

checking pee mail
bird watching
park entrance

So off we go to enjoy the park...

The Griffon

200 feet straight down at over 70 miles per hour

I threw up after this ride and we had to leave. (No, not really. I would never ride this -- darned inner ears -- but my kids do.)

Pint anyone?

I threw up after this attraction and we had to leave. (No, not really. I would never throw up in public after drinking irresponsibly in a fake Irish pub at a theme park.)

More...Pet Shenanigans

I did not throw up after attending this show and we did not leave...until much later. This is, in fact, an adorable show where former shelter animals of all sorts (dogs, cats, rats, parrots, ducks, pigs...and growing) perform amazing tricks for their loving trainers. (Seriously people, these animals and their trainers are amazing. Busch Gardens goes to great lengths to promote shelter adoption and wildlife preservation.)


At the end of the day, Jon Farleigh and Dewi were happy to be sprung from the kennel and slept like puppies all the way home. :)

Should you be traveling near Williamsburg, Virginia with your dog(s) and want to explore Busch Gardens, I would absolutely recommend the Pet Care Center. Please contact me (comment or e-mail) if you have any questions.


  1. That is a nice perk...dogs can't go everywhere!
    It looked like a great day :)

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  2. What a fun day.. I love that a theme park set aside space for dog sitting. How extremely clever of them. As for The Griffon xoxoxoxox I adore roller coaster rides! Haven't done one in years though, very unfortunately. No thriller ones here in Oz. Some of the new ones I see in the States look ridiculously barf worthy!

    Happy Easter break :)

  3. Wow, great pictures! Mom went there ages ago. So cool they have a pet center
    Benny & Lily

  4. We usually park by the Pet Center - mostly because we're lazy and willing to spend gobs of money to park close to the entrance!

    Glad y'all had a fun day...we will probably be there in a few weeks. Maybe Mother's Day, it's usually not crowded that day from past experience. Then I will drink irresponsibly, throw up, and not ride any rides.

  5. That's pretty neat. I didn't know they provided that pet service.

    The Griffon looks scary! I don't like roller-coasters as much as I used to....I must be turning into an old fart! Crap!

  6. I had no idea that Busch Gardens did that - what a great idea!

  7. My hoomie Melissa squealed like an excited piggy when she saw that rollercoatser ride pictures! She is a real themepark junkie & gets excited when she sees pictures or videos of rides. That ride looks terribly scary but I think hoomie Melissa would ride that. She's looney!

    Bet you all had such a pawtatsic time there!

  8. That's really cool that they have a per care center where you can leave your dogs.

  9. Thanks, everyone; it was a fun day. :) I fugure leaving the dogs at the park babysitting service is better than at home alone, with no potty breaks. Busch Gardens opened the pet care center YEARS ago to curb guests leaving their dogs in parked cars (the horror).

    @Georgia's T and Amber's H - I love roller coasters, too, but wish they'd just leave the loops out. Drop me out of the sky at 100 mph, no problem, but twirl me around? Barf time.

    @Taryn - NOT an old fart!

    @Builder Mama - We'll pay for priority parking, too, but on this day, priority was even sold out. I felt like VIP pulling into the empty front-row space by the park entrance. :) Yay dogs!

  10. Thank you for sharing this info - this might be a great option for us if we decide to hit up Busch Gardens!

    It looks like you guys had a wonderful (and beautiful)day!

  11. I am a Virginia Beach native and have been visiting BG since I was a tot. I had no CLUE that there was a pet care center, but now that I'm a grown up (read: single mom with no help lol) this information is a life saver. I recently rescued a Jack Russell Terrier from a rainy parking lot in my new hometown and am loathe to leave him anywhere, he has become very much like an adopted 3 year old human child to me :) Now that I know I can bring him with us and visit him at my convenience rather than leave him kenneled in our hotel room....a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thanks so much for the great pics and the great info. It was much appreciated and much needed. Fingers crossed we have as good an experience as you and your furkids. Phineus is almost as excited about the Pet Care Center as my son and I are about the roller coasters! :)


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