The gardens were once part of the grounds surrounding the mansion of Adolphus Busch (1830-1913), the St. Louis brewer. Over the course of its history, Busch Gardens was visited by more than 1,000,000 people. The Pacific Electric Railway added a Busch Gardens stop on its nearest line. The site hosted entertainments, benefits, dog shows and Easter egg parties. Hollywood used the Gardens as a film location throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. Among the many movies filmed there were Adventures of Robin Hood, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Gone With the Wind.
Busch Gardens was open to the public for the majority of years 1905 to 1937. Adolphus’ wife Lily, who lived in their home in Pasadena until her death in 1928, maintained the Gardens after Adolphus died. On two separate occasions, they were offered to Pasadena as a city public park.