LAistory: Busch Gardens in Van Nuys
Once upon a time, Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley boasted its own theme park. The theme, ostensibly: Beer. Well, what else would you make the central focus of an amusement park located on the property of a major brewery?
So how did beautiful Van Nuys, California wind up home to the lush, tropical, family-fun oriented Busch Gardens from 1966-1979? It began the previous century with a large-living man named Adolphus Busch, who worked in the brewery supply business in the 1860s in St. Louis, and who married the daughter of struggling brewery operator Eberhard Anheuser in 1861. By the time Anheuser died in the 1880s, the company had re-emerged as Anheuser-Busch, and was making Budweiser in St. Louis, and looking to go national. According to biographies, Busch lived an extravagant lifestyle that found him living all over the country and building palatial homes that drew spectators. One such home was here in Pasadena, with gardens on the property that attracted crowds to take a look, including after Busch's death in 1913, and the gardens were open to the public.
Busch + Gardens = Busch Gardens. But Pasadena...what about Van Nuys?