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Busch Gardens, Van Nuys, California
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Busch Gardens, Van Nuys, California

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2003 - 2017.

Many years ago, the San Fernando Valley had its own theme park. While the Busch Company still operates several other Busch Gardens, the Van Nuys Bush Gardens closed some years ago. All that remains today is the bridge over the railroad tracks that once connected the original gardens to the five acre expansion that included a log ride and other rides. At it's peak, it was a major tourist attraction, complete with an aviary, boat rides, free beer, and a monorail tour of the brewery facility. When it first opened, if was free but following the expansion, there was a mominal fee.

Busch Gardens and Bird Sanctuary operated for several years as a free promotional attraction. There was an attempt to make it more into a small theme park when five acres were added on the other side of the SP RR tracks. For various reasons, the theme park aspect did not operate long. The Gardens continued in their original mode for a few more years before closing.

Busch Gardens was closed about 1979 to make way for an expansion to the brewery. There was also a problem with Newcastle disease sweeping through Southern California (just as it is doing now in Spring of 2003) which killed many of the birds.There may have been other factors.

John McCullough tells me, "Busch Gardens in Van Nuys California was closed at the end of the Calendar Year of 1976 due to increasing insurance & operating costs." Christian Voegele tells me that he was playing piano there when it closed in December of 1976, but that it continued operating a short time as a smaller attraction. All these photos were taken by me in 1977 and 1978. I bought my first camera in 1976 so I have no earlier photos.

The biggest lake.
Bird Show.
Bird show.
Monorail Station
Monorail station. Not the Brewery Tour, but a second monorail inside the park and connecting to the 5 acre addition. This photo was taken after the Theme Park aspect closed.
Bumper Cars
Bumper Cars after closing of the theme park aspect of the Gardens.
Bar-B-Q food stand.
RC Boat
Special event - RC boat club.
RC Boat
Special event - RC boat club.
Bridge connecting the original site to the five acre expansion. The green horizontal is the monorail track, the pedestrian bridge is the grey beyond.
Bridge today. Only the concrete and steel pedestrian bridge remains. There is no longer an approach ramp on either side, so it can't be used and I can find no trace of the monorail track.
As it looks today. Just a place to load trucks.
While this Busch Gardens is now gone, there are still several others, including Williamsburg Virginia.
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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 18:16:31 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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