WILLIAMBSURG, Va. - The empty streets in New Orleans are a stark contrast to last year's hustle and bustle.
The pandemic has ceased Mardi Gras celebrations and left folks searching for other options. Locally, you can look no further than Busch Gardens.
Happening now until Feb. 28, visitors will be transported to the "Big Easy" during the park's first ever month-long Mardi Gras party.
"This is a whole new opportunity for us to explore new types of entertainment, new types of park decorations, new types of culinary experiences for the guests, so we're having a lot of fun putting together all these pieces and parts and trying out the new food and drink options," said Matthew Edwards, manager of events and festivals for Busch Gardens.
Families can visit eight decorated villages, watch jugglers and ribbon dancers and taste some bayou bites. They can also ride roller coasters to their heart's desire.
"It's a chance for us just to continue to give the community something to do and something to take their mind off of the past year, of just all the wildness that's happened," said Edwards.
You will need to register before showing up, but the online registration form is open for available weekends.
"You have to make that reservation online and make sure you have it for your coming through the gates," he said. "As long as we are keeping our guests and employees safe, it's a win-win for everybody."
Busch Gardens has scaled back the number of visitors allowed in the park at once. They said this allows for social distancing on the sidewalks, in food lines and while waiting for rides.
They also have hand sanitizing stations throughout the park and disinfect daily.