Wednesday, Oct. 13 (Tampa, FL) - For more than five decades, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has found inspiration in its animals. Animal care experts have turned that inspiration into adventure with immersive natural habitats like the Serengeti Plain, Myombe Reserve, Edge of Africa and Jungala. Engineers have also turned it into adrenaline, capturing the spirit of the animals in wood and steel with coasters like Kumba, Gwazi and SheiKra.
Now, the next generation of thrills emerges from the crossroads where up-close animal encounters and awe-inspiring rides come together. This spring, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will introduce a new mega-attraction that introduces guests to join the hunt for excitement and experience a new breed of speed.
The centerpiece of the new attraction is Cheetah Hunt, a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) Launch Coaster that uses the force of repelling magnets to launch riders from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds - not once, but three times.
This one-of-a-kind, multiple launch-point coaster will board in Busch Gardens' historic monorail station, which has been completely renovated as part of the new attraction.
The first launch propels the train out of the station and into the grasslands that surround the new area. Moments later, a second burst of speed accelerates riders to 60 mph and up into the ride's signature tower element that climbs more than 10 stories above the African landscape before plunging 130 feet into a subterranean trench.
Cheetah Hunt covers a lot of ground, setting a new distance record for Busch Gardens' roller coasters at 4,429 feet of track. After leaving the Crown Colony Plaza area, it races across a portion of the Serengeti Plain, staying close to the ground to give guests the experience of a cheetah sprinting across the plains. Elements such as over-banked turns, air-time parabolas and a heart line roll inversion imitate the agile creature chasing its prey, leaping and pouncing into the Nairobi area, where the train twists through a rocky gorge that was formerly part of Rhino Rally.
At the far end of this three-quarter-mile path, a third burst of speed rockets the train back across the plain toward the station in a thrill-ride experience unlike anything Busch Gardens' guests have ever experienced.
But this one-of-a-kind coaster experience is only a portion of the new realm. Building on Busch Gardens' unrivaled ability to combine thrills with immersive animal encounters, Cheetah Run will set a new standard for bringing nature and humans together in a really unique way.
Located in the area that formerly housed the Budweiser Clydesdales, this expansive new habitat will give visitors the opportunity to get closer to cheetahs than ever before with elevated, glass-paneled viewing areas. Even more exciting will be the chance to witness the world's fastest land animal in action. Busch Gardens' trainers will conduct daily sprints with the cheetahs for an awesome opportunity to see one of nature's true wonders in full form!
Families can also explore interactive touch screens to learn even more about these big cats and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's work on their behalf. Through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, the adventure parks have been helping wild cheetahs since 2005.
While thrill-seekers race across the plain on Cheetah Hunt, and even non-riders appreciate the beauty and grace of the cheetah in Cheetah Run, the realm surrounding this new mega-attraction offers many more opportunities for adventure and exploration.
Built at the crossroads where Morocco, Egypt and the Edge of Africa all come together, the plaza will be a bustling, colorful celebration inspired by the sights and sounds of the cultures that feed into it. Busch Gardens' famous Crown Colony House Restaurant will remain a focal point of the area as well with a new, terraced entrance that will feature additional outdoor seating and natural landscaping.
Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run open in spring 2011. Together, they form a unique experience – the kind you'll only find at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.