It’s that time of the year again – ‘Virginia Catholic Day at Busch Gardens’ (Williamsburg) is here and many of us and especially our youth and teens, are excited and looking forward to attend!
What is Virginia Catholic Day at Busch Gardens?
For many years, the youth of the Diocese have gathered at Busch Gardens for a day of fun and fellowship! The day includes admission to the park, Sunday Vigil Mass, and dinner as a Diocese.
Check the Diocese website for ticket pricing options, to view the schedule for the day and more information about the event.
Who should attend?
The event is open to all youth, families, and young adults from around the Diocese. This year, in an effort to bring our whole diocesan community together, the Diocese is opening the event to families as well!
What are some of the logistics for me to be aware of?
Families will need to purchase tickets and register for Virginia Catholic Day at Busch Gardens on their own (online) through the Diocese website.
Parents who would like their unaccompanied Youth/teens (6-12th Grades ONLY) to participate in this event MUST register (Busch Gardens Ticket Purchase + Bus Reservation) through the HNM Parish. An adult Catechist/ Parent Volunteer will be assigned to travel with unaccompanied teens and will pick up the Parish Youth Group tickets at the gate on the day of the event.
The Bus will depart from Busch Gardens at 7:00 PM sharp. Those that plan to stay at the park after 7:00 PM (for Howl-o-Scream are advised to kindly make your own transport arrangements to and from the event.
If you have a youth attending (unaccompanied by you/parent/guardian) and would like the assigned Adult Catechist/ Chaperone text you to coordinate a pick up time, please speak to the Parish Faith Formation Coordinator (Louella Sowards) prior to the event to arrange this.
How do I register and what are the registration deadlines?
This year, families from our Parish who are interested in participating are requested to purchase tickets and register for the event on your own through the Diocese Website. Click here to register online for the event through the Diocese Website. Registration to Busch Gardens is set to close September 18, 2022.
However, parents who cannot attend the event but would still like to register their unaccompanied Youth/teens (6-12th Grades ONLY) MUST purchase tickets through the Parish. An adult Catechist/ Parent Volunteer will be assigned to unaccompanied teens and will pick up the Parish Youth Group tickets at the gate on the day of the event.
While families are encouraged to register for Busch Gardens on their own this year and do not have to participate strictly as a youth group, travelling as a Parish is still encouraged and will give us an opportunity to get to know each other better and attend Mass as a Parish community.
We hope many of our families and youth will join in this Diocese event!
How do I get my tickets?
Tickets are not mailed to each parish or to families or individuals. Instead:
- Groups that registered as a parish group will have the parish coordinator pick up all the tickets for his/her parish from our Office for Evangelization table near ticket sales, prior to the turn-styles to enter the park. Please only send the parish coordinator to the table and have the rest of your group wait together.
- Individuals and families who registered unconnected to a larger group will pick up their tickets directly from our Office for Evangelization table near ticket sales, prior to the turn-styles to enter the park.
Ticket pick up will be available from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Any tickets not picked up by noon will be turned into the Busch Gardens Will Call office. We will not release tickets to individuals who registered as part of a parish group without prior authorization, in writing, from the parish coordinator.
What is Holy Name of Mary offering to those interested in attending Virginia Catholic Day at Bush Gardens?
- A CATECHIST/PARENT CHAPERONE – A Catechist will be available to accompany youth (6-12th Grades ONLY) who will be travelling without parents. In this case, parents will need to register their youth (6-12th Grades ONLY) through the Parish so that the Adult Chaperone can pick up the Parish Youth Group ticket at the gate.
- ORGANIZED BUS TRANSPORT – Don’t like driving? Ride the Parish Bus!! This year we have partnered with our sister parish Resurrection, Moneta to organize a bus for transportation to Busch Gardens. Keep reading below for more information on reservation guidelines and cost of seats on the bus.
- FREE!! BUS SEAT RESERVATION for all youth (6-12th Grades ONLY) We will pay the full cost of the bus for these teens. (Families will still need to be responsible for the full cost of the park admission & All-You-Can Eat Dinner Buffet ticket. Please see the Diocese website for ticket options.)
How do I reserve a seat on the Parish Bus and what is the deadline?
- Seats are limited and reservations must be made through HNM Parish by Wednesday, August 31, 2022.
- Cost: $45/per person OR FREE for all youth (Grade 6-12 ONLY).
- Pick up Location/ Time: Back of the Bedford Walmart parking lot on 460 at 5:45 AM.
- Departure Time/Drop-Off Location: The Bus will depart Busch Gardens at 7:00 pm sharp and return to Walmart parking lot approx. 11:30 pm. Those that plan to stay at the park after 7:00 PM (for Howl-o-Scream are advised to kindly make your own transport arrangements to and from the event.
What can I bring on the Bus and how should I plan my travel (mainly for Parish Youth Group travelling with Adult Catechist Chaperone)?
- You may bring with you for the bus, snacks and drinks with a lid that seals. Youth are responsible for keeping up with their personnel items.
- Blankets, pillows and any personnel items you would like to bring are ok and can be left on the bus- but the bus company will not be held responsible for items so leave electronics at your risk.
- They will be stopping for breakfast (please have money for this if you want to purchase)
- Youth please wear tennis shoes or good walking shoes! No flip flops! We don’t want them falling off roller coasters and there will be lots of walking, park has lots of hills.
- To identify our group, please wear a BLUE t-shirt of some type (Resurrection is wearing red)
- For youth assigned to an Adult chaperone, Tickets and wrist bands (for dinner buffet) will be picked up by chaperones and distributed once arrived at the park.
- Bus will depart Busch Gardens at 7:00 pm sharp and return to Walmart parking lot approx. 11:30 pm.
What is HNM’s schedule of the day (Saturday, October 1, 2022) if I ride the Parish Bus?
Meet at Bus stop (Bedford, Walmart). Bus will depart for Busch Gardens at 6:00 am sharp
Busch Gardens opens, pick-up tickets near the front entrance
Ticket pickup ends
Celebration of Sunday Vigil Mass at Abbey Stone Theatre at Busch Gardens
Diocesan all-you-can eat dinner buffet at the Black Forest Pavilion opens
Diocesan dinner buffet closes
Bus Leaves Bush Gardens and will returns to Walmart parking lot (approx. 11:30 pm.)
Note: Howl-O-Scream event starts at 6:00 pm and Park closes at 11:00pm. Those intending to stay at Busch Gardens past 7:00 PM are kindly requested to make their own travel arrangements to and from the event.
Louella D’Souza Sowards
Faith Formation Coordinator