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It's the first weekend for Busch Gardens Winter Weekend event

This is the first time the amusement park and zoo will open during the winter months.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — This weekend, Busch Gardens opened up for its first ever winter season.

The decision comes after a months-long shut down during the spring and summer months.

Curator of Zoological Operations Tim Smith said this is the first time the amusement park and zoo will open to guests during January, February and the first part of March.

“It’s actually the first time in over 40 years that we’ve been open here in January," Smith said.

In 2020, Busch Gardens was shuttered for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amusement parks across the country reported loss of revenue and a drop in guests for that year.  

Governor Ralph Northam allowed entertainment locations to open in July, but with a 1,000 person limit.  

RELATED: Busch Gardens reopens during pandemic with new rides, limited-capacity special events

The president of Busch Gardens had expressed frustration at the time. Typically the park’s capacity is around 24,000.

The park had a phased-reopening in August. 

“The booths that we have are strewed throughout the park," Smith said, outlining the COVID safety precautions. "It’s important that you wear your mask, it’s important that you go through the temp check when you come to the park, it’s important that you hand sanitize as many times as you can.” 

This weekend kicked off Busch Gardens' Winter Weekends event that’s happening throughout January.  

Guests can expect lighted-decorations, new experiences and up-close encounters with the zoo's animals, musical entertainment, and new food and drink options.

“We want you to enjoy being here," Smith said. "We want you to enjoy being here at the park. It’s a great time to be here at the park, it’s new and different; It’s winter but it’s beautiful.”  

To buy tickets or for more information visit the theme park's website at buschgardens.com.