Navigating Theme Park Food As a Vegetarian
September 20, 2017 11 Comments
Where do you think it would be hardest to be a vegetarian (and eat)? Carnivals, county fairs, and theme parks top my list.
I don’t know why anyone would want to eat at these places because you inevitably end up upside down (like the photo) and sick to your stomach.
Theme parks are not known for great cuisine. Instead they are known for “fun” food such as fried dough, massive turkey legs, cotton candy, and hot dogs, hot dogs, hot dogs.
My daughter recently decided to become a vegetarian and I wrote about my challenges in my weekly newsletter. If you don’t get it – SUBSCRIBE and it will be sent to your e-mail along with my posts.
Many readers shared their experiences with me about being a vegetarian or having children that decided to become vegetarian – and gave me advice for my upcoming trip to a theme park (Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA).
For example Sharon wrote:
You are right, amusement parks, attractions, and even restaurants are challenging. There are certain restaurants (Chilis and Applebees come to mind) that we don't bother with because literally a dinner salad or plain baked potato is the only option that does not have some sort of meat product. We tend to eat before going to an attraction instead of at the attraction, beyond buying snacks.
Thanks, Sharon!! Quite a few people replied and asked me to share what I found after I returned so I decided to write this post.
What did I find? I found the usual fast food and a whole lotta BBQ meat. This place served platters (literally) of smoked sliced pork, chicken, and ribs drowned in sauce.
The good news was that there was more than fries and salads for my daughter. See this menu:
That is right! A “garden” burger was lurking at the bottom of the menu.
Does anyone else think the “Surf-n-Turf” sandwich (at the top of the menu) sounds gross? What are they thinking?
We were happy to find the garden burger and even happier to find this:
Vegetarian lo mein! Yes, they managed to make something with vegetables instead of meat as a main course. Is it the healthiest food? No, but my daughter actually loves noodles so this was a big deal.
I was happy that Busch gardens had this option. Obviously, she could have had cheese pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich but it was nice for her to have something she was excited about.
I will say that she influenced my eating quite a bit as I searched the menus for vegetable options. It didn’t feel right to eat a “platter of meat” in front of her.
I stuck to primarily small snacks (bag of trail mix in purse) because I didn’t want to toss my cookies into a trash can after a humongous roller coaster.
Vegetarians can survive at Busch Gardens (except for the rides).
How do you eat at theme parks or attractions? Is it a struggle?