At Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., visitors are given a whole new perspective on what it takes to run a theme park. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Everyone wonders how roller coasters stay on track — and those who get up early enough for a visit to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. can witness those scream machines at their quietest. Insider tours give guests a behind-the-scenes look at mechanics and maintenance.
"Block-break testing is one of the tests that goes on every morning on all of the roller coasters. It's a safety system that is very essential to our ride and is tested every day," says Ben White, a VIP tour guide.
By way of a special trolley, the roller coaster insider tour takes guests to the top of the 205-feet high Griffon before the park opens. It's a view guests otherwise might miss if they have their eyes closed when the ride is operating.
The roller coaster insider tour is just one of several VIP experiences available for an extra fee— on top of park admission — anywhere between $15 and $350. Animal tours are especially popular.
"The wolf tour, you don't get to pet any of the wolves but you do get to teach them a behavior and kind of become a trainer for a day," says Caity Hastings, an animal care specialist.
"We have four dogs," a visitor says. "And we love animals so much. Oh my gosh, he's howling!"
Another animal tour is especially fun for little kids, who get to pet border collies and Clydesdales.
Busch Gardens is home to many birds of prey and seeing how they are trained is the subject of another private tour.
"The European barn owl, you get to put on the glove and it actually flies to you as you get to be a falconer for the day," says Hastings.
For more information, visit www.buschgardens.com.