April 16 Marks 2016 Opening Of Grant’s Farm
Anheuser-Busch and the Busch family will open the gates to Grant’s Farm on Saturday, April 16 for the landmark’s 62nd season. St. Louis Cardinals mascot Fredbird will be on hand to meet the first visitors as well as former Cardinals’ pitchers Brad Thompson and Danny Cox.
“Opening Day at Grant’s Farm is a favorite tradition for families in St. Louis,” said Andy Elmore, general manager of Grant’s Farm for Anheuser-Busch in a news release from the company. “We’re excited to open the gates for the 62nd time hosting guests for another great season. We love being a part of St. Louisan’s lives through the memories they create at Grant’s Farm.”
Many of those attractions that have drawn families to the park for decades will be back for the 2016 season. Guests will still be able to feed baby goats, watch live animals shows, feed the parakeets and ride the camels. Those 21 years of age and older will also continues to enjoy complimentary samples for Anheuser-Busch products. An estimated 900 animals, representing 100 different species, call the grounds hom.e
This year, for the first time, frequent guests at the park will be able to buy a Grant’s Farm membership for the season. The $225 membership includes a membership card, season parking pass,five one-day guest parking passes and fifty goat or carousel passes. Discounts will also be available throughout the season and the gift shops, concession stands and on tour tickets.
Admission to the park, located in Southwest St. Louis County, is free, however parking is $12 per car and $30 for buses. For more information, check out the Grant’s Farm Website.
The land Grant’s Farm occupies was originally farmed by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Adolphus Busch purchased the land and built a mansion on it for his son, August Anheuser Busch, Sr. August’s son, known as Gussie Busch, would later live in the mansion and raise his family on the grounds. The Busch family opened much of the grounds to the public in 1954. Gussie’s six surviving children from his third marriage to Gertrude “Trudy” Buholzer Busch still own Grant’s Farm and lease it to Anheuser-Busch InBev each year. AB InBev pays roughly $1 million per year to lease the public part of the grounds.
A dispute has been brewing between the heirs that own Grant’s Farm over the future of the land and attraction. Adolphus Busch IV and Billy Busch stand on one side of the aisle, while their four brothers and sisters stand on the other. The two brothers support the idea of Billy, who owns William K. Busch Brewing Co., buying out the siblings and putting a brewing operation on the land. The other siblings don’t support that idea and pushed an idea to sell to the Saint Louis Zoo and have them run the public operations. The Zoo plan has since been withdrawn. It would be an injustice to summarize the entire dispute into a couple of sentences. If you are interested in the future of Grant’s Farm, read the fascinating piece William Powell wrote for St. Louis Magazine back in January.
The future of Grant’s Farm being somewhat up-in-the-air is just another reason to early and often to the attraction during the 2016 season.
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