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MaxConcrete

Busch Gardens: newly discovered video posted on YouTube

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While digitizing the family collection of Super 8 films from the late 1960s and early 1970s, I found this excellent video of Busch Gardens Houston from a summer 1972 visit.

 

http://youtu.be/FWYk7t0f0Q4

 

When I searched online for other videos, I found only one which mostly showed the Clydesdale horses and parrots, with little footage of the park itself.

 

My brother and I are the kids in the video. I asked my parents why we're identically dressed, and they had no idea. (We're not twins.) I'm the taller, slimmer kid, on the left side in the train shot.

 

The boat ride is the only part of the park I remembered before seeing the video. I was very surprised to see that I rode on an elephant.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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Great memories, but I have to say I don't think you guys looked like you were having a good time. lolll

 

1972 was the year my wife and I took our three year old twin sons to Busch Gardens. You and your brother looked a lot like our boys.

Edited by FilioScotia

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At one time, there were five Budweiser breweries with a Busch Gardens theme park on the property. Tampa, Houston, Williamsburg VA, and two parks in the Los Angeles area - Van Nuys and Pasadena. 

 

All the parks were marketing successes, but the Houston Busch Gardens was open for only for two years - 1971-1973. I've never found out why they closed it, but I'm guessing it could have been because of the location on I-10 at Gellhorn. I remember it was a little hard to get into and out of. 

 

The Busch Gardens story makes interesting reading. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busch_Gardens

 

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Anyone know when the giant neon sign on top of the brewery was taken down? That was a significant landmark in east Houston, especially at night when it was lit up. When I was a kid I always used to look forward to seeing it when we'd head out I-10 to visit my aunt and uncle in Jacinto City. 

 

254TxHouston2.jpg

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I know there is another thread about attracting tourist to Houston so I won't get into it here, but it's a shame Houston has nothing like this any more. It was a great place to take out of town guests to. I didn't realize it was only around for 2 years. I remember being surprised when it closed. Always seemed so busy. 

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All the parks were marketing successes, but the Houston Busch Gardens was open for only for two years - 1971-1973. I've never found out why they closed it, but I'm guessing it could have been because of the location on I-10 at Gellhorn.

My father told me they couldn't compete with Astroworld. 

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****My father told me they couldn't compete with Astroworld.****

 

That might be true to some extent. It's worth noting however that Busch Gardens was built for adults, with a few attractions to entertain their kids. Astroworld was built for people of all ages, especially kids, with a few attractions for their parents.

 

I still think it was the location. This may sound elitist, but it is a fact that Houston's east side is not a good part of town. The Port of Houston and Denver Harbor - "Podunk" - areas have had a bad reputation for crime and gang activity for many years. A lot of people from other areas may not have wanted to drive into an area where they didn't feel completely safe. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

 

I don't remember the area around Astroworld ever having that problem.

Edited by FilioScotia

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I remember my father got invited to the pre grand opening at Busch Gardens because he worked for one of the major subcontractors that built the brewery. My mother wouldn't let us kids go, claiming that the invitation was just for adults. We found out later that our cousin's got to attend and of course along with a bunch of other kids. Boy were we mad. We stayed mad long enough to not ever go even when our mom apologized and offered to take us anytime. Sorry I missed out on it now.

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On 1/4/2015 at 3:10 PM, mkultra25 said:

Anyone know when the giant neon sign on top of the brewery was taken down? That was a significant landmark in east Houston, especially at night when it was lit up. When I was a kid I always used to look forward to seeing it when we'd head out I-10 to visit my aunt and uncle in Jacinto City. 

 

254TxHouston2.jpg

 

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Thank you for posting this. I would also love to know when the sign was taken down AND when it was put up. I loved seeing the sign each time we came back to Houston.  My dad worked construction in the late 60's...coming in at night from Louisiana the sign was like a beacon circling in the smog....I thought it was absolutely beautiful

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Great to see the video (good quality!) and read the posted memories. I think I went two times, probably 8 or 9 years old. I remember the Oriental-looking tower, the water ride, and seeing some animals. I also remember a strange smell coming from the brewery (sort of like burn spaghetti).

 

I'm sure it was hard competing with Astroworld, which had so much more to offer. Due to the animals, there would have also been unique expenses and personnel along the lines of zoo upkeep and handling. The location was sort of strange too, in the midst of freeways and buildings. You never really could escape the city/urban atmosphere surrounding the site like you could at Astroworld. I remember enjoying it though.

Edited by Gurgis
clarity

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