Saturday, September 23, 2023

Busch Gardens ramps up security measures in 2019

A large crowd gathered at Busch Gardens in 2017 for the launch of the park's first wooden coaster, the InvadR. (WYDaily/File photo)
A large crowd gathered at Busch Gardens in 2017 for the launch of the park’s first wooden coaster, the InvadR. (WYDaily/File photo)

As national and local conversations circle around ways to prevent gun violence in public places, a local amusement park is stepping up its security.

Busch Gardens has installed walk-through metal detectors at its guest entry area to improve the screening process, said Cindy Sarko, Busch Gardens Williamsburg leader of communications.

“Our security procedures are under continuous review and refinement, as the safety of guests, ambassadors and animals is the highest priority in our parks,” Sarko said.

There are 10 metal detectors total, which were installed Jan. 4, one day before the final day of Christmas Town.

In the past, security measures have included employees using small batons to look through bags.

Sarko said the metal detectors were not installed as a response to any specific threat or incident.

The Busch Gardens website’s frequently asked questions page says all bags, backpacks and packages are subject to inspection before entering the park.

The park also does not allow weapons, glass bottles, cans, any other type of sharp object, large hard or soft coolers and any hazardous items or materials.

Busch Gardens maintains the right to inspect bags or other articles prior to park entry as it deems necessary,” Sarko said.

Sarko declined to answer questions about whether other Seaworld parks have installed metal detectors and what sort of items the detectors can find.

When it comes to people with disabilities, park ambassadors have received training and will be prepared to address any guests who need additional accommodations during the security process.

“These additional measures supplement our existing security procedures and are expected to make security checks more efficient,” Sarko said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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