Hi Thrill Seekers,
Hopefully you’ve all managed to have a read of my first 2 posts about my visits to SeaWorld and Discovery Cove on my recent FAM trip hosted by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. Our 3rd day was spent at Busch Gardens, Tampa’s safari themed park offering some of the most thrilling rides in Florida, alongside close animal encounters. Remember all of our Busch Gardens ticket include free shuttle transportation!
This was my favourite of the 4 parks that we visited.
Our first stop at Busch Gardens was Gwazi, Tampa’s only wooden roller coaster. The old-style theming of the coaster looks fantastic and the ride itself has many twist, turns and seat lifting drops. Like any wooden coaster you do get knocked around a bit but this only adds to the fun. We were in non-stop laughter the whole way round the track.
On the way to our next destination we decided to stop at Walkabout Way where we had the opportunity to feed kangaroos and wallabies. They took the food right out of the palm of my hand, allowing us to get up-close to these adorable animals.
Our second ride of the day was SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster. This was my favourite ride of the whole trip, so much so that I rode it 4 times in 1 day! After leaving the station you climb a 200ft chain lift incline before being held on the edge of a 90-degree drop. You are then ‘let go’ to plummet down to the ground at 70mph making you feel weightless before spiralling upside down. You are slowed back down, giving you just enough time to get your bearings before another 138ft 90-degree drop into an underground tunnel. For the best ride experience personally I suggest getting a seat at the front, on either edge of the train. This really makes you feel like you are hanging on the first drop, as you have no track underneath you. It also gives you the opportunity to see how far you are going to drop as you are being held 200ft above the ground.
As we were passing by Stanley Falls, a log-flume style ride we thought that riders did not look ‘too wet’ so some of us decided to go on. This was a big mistake. As soon as we hit the bottom of the 40ft drop a wave went straight over my head, absolutely soaking me. Of course, I am the only person that seemed to get quite so wet! Oh well, off to the next roller coaster, Kumba to dry off.
Kumba is a steel coaster with a total of 7 inversions. A 135ft drop leads straight into a diving loop. This ride also boasts one of the world’s largest vertical loops. My favourite part of this ride is the zero-g roll which gives you the feeling of weightlessness.
As we had some time to kill before lunch we headed to Sand Serpent, a steel wild mouse style roller coaster. I think we all underestimated this ride, assuming it would be a tame kiddy coaster. You zoom around the tracking, feeling as though you are about to go off the edge before being spun back round. There are also lots of little seat lifting drops. This is a brilliant family coaster that had us in stitches. Sand Serpent is located in Timbuktu which you may have seen from Jamie’s blog post is due to be replaced by a new land, Pantopia. This will also be the home of Falcon’s Fury, a crazy new drop ride currently under construction at Busch Gardens in which riders will be positioned horizontally, facing the ground before being dropped 300ft at 60mph! Unfortunately I was unable to see the progress from behind the fencing, but I did received confirmation that all of the parts were on-site, ready to be built.
After a fabulous lunch at the Zambia Smokehouse we went on the Serengeti Safari. We all boarded an open-air touring vehicle and set off into the African Plain. This Safari tour gave us the opportunity to view many different animals such as zebras, giraffes and ostriches in their natural habitat. We even got the chance to feed a giraffe which was a big highlight for me. It leaned over and took lettuce straight out of my hand. You have to make sure you do not get in the way of it’s long neck though! The Safari is a great opportunity to get stunning photos, so don’t forget your camera!
After the Safari it was straight to Cheetah Hunt. This was another one of my favourites and luckily we managed to ride twice in a row! This is the world’s only triple launch roller coaster. You are launched out of the station at 30mph, however it is the second launch that really gets the ride going as it propels you forward at Cheetah Hunts top speed of 60mph up an 102ft hill. You then spiral down to the ground. This is followed by quick directional changes, an inversion and another launch making it impossible to know what coming next! This coaster gives families the perfect opportunity to try out some big thrills.
Our final ride of the day was Montu, an inverted steel coaster. This is another coaster offering 7 inversions with top speeds of 60mph, however as the track is above you and your feet are left dangling this feels much faster than the likes of Kumba. This is an extremely intense ride with a 60ft vertical loop, Immelman loop and zero-G roll at beginning alone. For the best ride experience it’s definitely worth waiting for a seat right at the front!
That’s the end of a jam-packed day at Busch Gardens, however we did have just enough time to ride SheiKra twice more. Keep an eye out for my next blog post about our final day a SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica.