Getting my coaster fix at Busch Gardens

Gwazi & Sheikra coasters
Gwazi & Sheikra coasters

One of my favorite things about Busch Gardens, aside from feeding the kangaroos and seeing all the other animals, is the great roller coasters they have to offer! The park has some fantastic rides for kids and adults alike. If you haven’t been before, or even recently, let me introduce you to the coasters of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Kiddie Coasters

Air Grover – This ride in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun section of the park opened in March of 2010 and features a biplane theme and climbs a 24 foot lift hill. It is a quick, but fun ride with the lovable Grover. If I’m not mistaken, this is the favorite coaster at Busch Gardens of our own Cheryl Perlmutter.

Sand Serpent – In Timbuktu, this wild mouse style coaster, which is five

Sand Serpent
Sand Serpent

stories high at 45 feet, offers quick turns, dips and lifts that will leave you cozy with your friends you’re riding with. It originally opened in Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 1996 and was relocated to Tampa Bay in 2004 as Cheetah Chase, but was renamed in 2011 to avoid confusion with the brand new Cheetah Hunt coaster.

Scorpion – This was the first coaster I did when I revisited Busch Gardens for the first time in over 25 years. Also in Timbuktu, it appears to be pretty simple, but then you realize the loop is accomplished with you only wearing a lap bar and you come awfully close to the ground at a high speed and quite an angle.  It is a ton of fun, but quite the thrill for a smaller roller coaster that opened in 1980. Its max height is 60 feet, but the 45 foot drop makes it feel taller.

 

Wilder Thrills

 

Kumba
Kumba

Kumba – I just did Kumba for the first time, and this is one of the more intense coasters, at least for me, at Busch Gardens. Located in the Congo section of the park, Kumba has a name that comes from a translation from the word “roar” and it lives up to that name. With the seven inversions, Kumba, which opened in 1993 and hits top speeds of 60mph and has a height of 143 feet, is not for the faint of heart. One of the things that I think made it more intense than some of the other coasters is the loops into corkscrews one right after the other. If you are looking for a rush, this just may be the coaster for you.

Gwazi – Speaking of intense, this wooden coaster located in the Morocco section of the park is probably the most jarring of all at Busch Gardens. There are two sides with competing tracks called Lion and Tiger that offer different ride experiences. Recently the Tiger side has been closed, but the Lion side still roars, thrilling park goers with a 105 ft height and speeds above 50mph. The ride opened in 1999, but being a wooden roller coaster, it has a much more classic feel which keeps you on your toes.

Sheikra
Sheikra

SheiKra – This was one of the other coasters that I rode for the first time last week. For the longest time I thought I’d never ride it, but I’m trying to be good about trying new things, so I did. This is definitely the fastest (70mph), tallest (200ft) and steepest angle (90 degrees straight down) of any coaster I’ve ridden. It is located in the Stanleyville section of the park and when it opened in 2005, SheiKra was the first dive coaster in North America. To add to the excitement, the ride dangles you above the dive for a few seconds to where you can’t even see the track below, which seems to be behind you. It is such a smooth ride and so fun with the dive and an inversion. Can’t wait to try this one in the front row!

 

Cheetah Hunt
Cheetah Hunt

Cheetah HuntCheetah Hunt is my favorite ride anywhere right now! This is the newest coaster at Busch Gardens and one of the longest at 3/4 of a mile long and almost four minutes in duration. This ride in the Crown Colony Plaza section of the park is almost twice as long as most coasters that tend to be around 2 minutes long. This triple launch coaster that opened in 2011 is probably the smoothest roller coaster I’ve ever ridden. The highest point is over 100 feet tall and maximum speeds reach 60mph. With figure eights, a helix or two and a barrel roll as the single inversion, this ride is so much fun! My favorite part is when it feels like a slalom, reminiscent of a cheetah hunting its prey. I especially love to ride this at night!

Montu
Montu

Montu – So full disclosure, this is the one coaster at Busch Gardens that I have not yet ridden. It will happen someday, but from the reactions of my friends, I think I was right to save this for last. Montu opened in 1996 and is the second tallest coaster at 150 feet and the second fastest at 65mph behind SheiKra. With seven inversions, this is one of the more intense roller coasters in the park including a zero gravity roll. I will get back to you all after I tackle this monster coaster in the Egypt section of the park.

I absolutely love the variety of roller coasters that Busch Gardens has to offer! There is something for everyone from mild to wild and from rougher more intense rides to some of the smoothest coasters ever built. This summer I hope to catch as many rides on the fantastic coasters at Busch Gardens to get my adrenaline fix. Have you been to Busch Gardens recently? Have you ridden any or all of these coasters? Which one is your favorite?

 

 

 

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