Jobs at Busch Gardens and Adventure Island

Gary Vien, Vice President of Human Resources, talked about employment opportunities, jobs and skills needed to work at a theme park like Busch Gardens and Adventure Island.

What types of jobs are available at a theme park?

Since our parks feature rides, retail shops, restaurants, animal exhibits and live entertainment, we employ team members in front-line and management roles in all these areas.

In addition, they are supported by marketing, maintenance, human resources, finance, purchasing, information technology and warehousing staff. The most common jobs we fill are operations park hosts/hostesses, food service attendants and merchandise clerks/game attendants. The operation department is responsible staffing of rides and attractions and maintains the cleanliness of the grounds. They also handle guest entry, transportation, arrival and services.

Food Service prepares and serves food in numerous eating establishments and sells food from carts out in the park. Merchandise staffs the retail shops, carts and the arcade-style games. For most of these positions, we are looking for a positive attitude, customer orientation and reliability.

What are the current hot jobs?

Under current economic conditions, it has not been difficult to fill most job openings. Jobs that are more physically demanding, such as our Skyride operators, and ones that require heavy guest interaction and/or operating a vehicle, such as our Rhino Rally drivers, have required additional recruiting efforts.

What are 5 key traits workers who want to get a job at a theme park like Busch Gardens/Adventure Island need to have:

  • Positive attitude and energy
  • Customer orientation
  • Reliability to show up for work when scheduled
  • Ability to work outside in various weather elements and
  • Flexibility to work schedules that may include nights, weekends and holidays.

When is a good time to apply, for a job at your theme parks?

Our four high seasons are spring break (including opening Adventure Island in March), summer, Halloween and the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s holidays. We are typically hiring one to two months ahead of the start of each season. We have held job fairs in the past, but we currently use an online job posting and application process for most jobs. We currently have less than 100 seasonal openings, with several hundred applicants and interviews already scheduled to fill these positions.

What are some misconceptions about working at a theme park?

It is important to remember our parks are open when most people are off work or on vacation. Team members need to be available during these time periods, and often need to work nights, weekends and holidays. In addition, most of our jobs involve working outdoors, which requires having tolerance for cold spells during the winter and hot, humid conditions most of the rest of the year, due to our Florida location.

What type of education/background is needed for the positions at a theme park?

Most seasonal jobs do not have specific educational requirements. We typically prefer applicants for supervisory and managerial positions to have high school diplomas and college degrees, depending on the function of the position. In certain work area such as Zoo Operations and Entertainment, specific skills, experience and education are required. (See: Working at a Zoo page)

What is something unique about working at Busch Gardens that most people might not realize?

Busch Gardens provides a fun working environment. Many people start out working here as a temporary job, and then find that they enjoy it so much that they make a career of it. Many top executives of the company started out working at Busch Gardens as a summer job.

What type of salary/pay can the various positions offer? Are benefits available?

Seasonal jobs start out at minimum wage. Pay increases as team members move to supervisory or managerial roles.

Areas that require specific skills or experience such as our zoo, entertainment or maintenance staff start at higher entry level rates. Busch Gardens offers a comprehensive package of health and welfare benefits for full-time team members, including medical, dental, vision, short term disability and life insurance. Tuition reimbursement, up to 6 weeks vacation, 13 paid holidays, a generous 401(k) plan and free park tickets, passes and discounts are also available for eligible team members. An on-site workout facility is available for use by all team members for a nominal membership fee.

What is the most in-demand position out there at Busch Gardens right now?

There is such a variety of positions available that there really is something for everyone, whether you want to operate a roller coaster, sell ice cream or run arcade games for guests to win prizes. Positions working with animals are often in high demand, because of the unique and diverse opportunities we have available in our Zoological Operations department. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to interact with giraffes, tigers or elephants in a way that the average person never gets to experience?

How can I get hired at Busch Gardens?

We hire so many individuals each year that the key is usually to check our websites frequently, and when you see a job you are interested in, go for it! For jobs that require more specialized skills, it is important to meet the minimum requirements and ensure that your application reflects any of the preferred skills, education, or experience that are listed on the job posting.

Here’s where you will find our current job opportunities:

What types of advancement opportunities are there at Busch Gardens?

The advancement opportunities are limitless. Busch Gardens always considers internal candidates for higher level jobs, and promoting from within has always been part of our culture. Many of the top executives of the company today started out as seasonal employees at our parks.

What other unique, interesting, fun facts can you tell us about Busch Gardens and the job/career opportunities at the theme park?

Busch Gardens has been recognized by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) for its World Class Summer customer service program, which provided team members with free lunches and snacks for improving guest satisfaction ratings over the previous year.

Visitors to the park can check out the family-friendly African journey with their favorite Sesame Street characters. The area includes kid-friendly rides, cool water fun and plenty of memorable adventures. It’s Sesame Street Safari of Fun, where imaginations run wild and there’s fun for everyone.

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