Video of wild new coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa

I don’t usually write about theme parks (I usually leave that to thisfloridalife.com), but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about a cool new ride at Busch Gardens in Tampa.Busch Gardens Tampa

Cheetah Hunt, the newest in a park full of coasters, opened in the middle of last year (OK, not really new new, but new enough) and is a an interesting change of pace from the other coasters in the park.  Unlike the nauseating Montu or the rumbling Gwazi, Cheetah Hunt feels more like riding in a sports car than flying with the Blue Angels.

It has a top speed of 60 mph and you get to it straight out of the gate.  There are a few loops and twists and a really quick up and down section (like driving down the edge of a lasagna noodle).  And, unusual as it is, some long straight-ish sections that take you far into the park.  The coaster is designed to fit into the cheetah theme of that section of the park, but it feels like a cheetah too – particularly when it sprints out into the mock Serengeti.

As it’s the newest ride, it easily has the longest wait in the park, so it’s a good idea to go first thing in the morning.  As theme park rides go, it’s pretty thrilling.  I’ve done all the coasters in the park, and lots more at other parks, and this one’s up there.  It’s extremely quiet (because of the animals nearby) and very fluid.

Last week, I strapped the GoPro to my wrist and took some video.

Cheetah Hunt is the central attraction of the a new section of the park – Cheetah Run.  The emotional center of the section, though, are the big cats.  Busch Gardens has 14 cheetahs, although only a few are visible at a time.  The rest roam a more expansive section of the park, off limits to visitors.

One of the cheetahs was raised alongside a Labrador puppy (yes, a dog), and the two have bonded into adulthood.  It’s a strange sight seeing a yellow Lab and a cheetah running and wresting and chasing (cheetah wins every time), and crowds flock to the exhibit.  On the day I was there, much of it was blocked off by a film crew.  I don’t know what they were filming, but with dozens of cameras and mounds upon mounds of equipment and an enormous crew, I’d bet it has to do with the cat-dog tandem.  Here’s a little video from Busch Gardens of the pair.

Cheetah Hunt

The view of Cheetah Hunt as it parallels the Sky Ride.

If you live anywhere near Tampa and feel like riding some steel monsters, Busch Gardens isn’t a bad day trip.  With their Fun Pass deal, Florida residents can pay for a day’s admission and return for free for the rest of the calendar year, which makes the $85 ticket easier to swallow.

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Comments

  1. FANTASTIC POST! I haven’t been to Busch Gardens in three years and as you know I do not ride coasters so thank you for letting me live vicariously through you. I had no idea about the cheetah and the dog, that is so wonderful!

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  1. […] theme parks have made big bucks selling late-night tickets to Halloween-themed special events.  Busch Gardens has Howl-O-Scream, Universal Studios has Halloween Horror Night, Sea World […]

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