Do you have an obsessive need for speed? Ever wish you could run as fast as a cheetah? Well, in
Tampa Bay, near Florida's Gulf Coast, you can actually claim this experience of far-away Africa.
At Busch Gardens, you may now engage in close encounters of the furry kind with an array of wonderful animals, including the cheetah. You can take a leisurely and impressive safari across the Serengeti Plains, admiring the stately giraffes and their peers, but if you really want to get your heart pumping, try the brand new Cheetah Hunt roller coaster with its three adrenaline-fueled surges of speed, inspired to imitate the world's fastest land animal.
Florida's first triple-launch coaster will satisfy anyone's need for swiftness, mimicking nature's fastest and most agile predator as it races across the Serengeti. The unique coaster climbs high above the African landscape, then races down along the ground and through a rocky gorge. With another burst of acceleration, it leaps over awestruck bystanders and heads for home, a sprint that takes your breath away.
Cheetah Hunt was designed with
Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) technology, using the force of repelling magnets to accelerate riders to speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Inspired by the quick sprint of the cheetah across the grasslands after its prey, Cheetah Hunt surges with heart-pounding bursts of speed at multiple launch points to surprise and excite riders. These surges propel the riders up the iconic 102-foot Windcatcher Tower, down into four
subterranean trenches, over Busch Gardens' historic Skyride, around a rocky canyon rushing with whitewater currents, and through a heartline roll inversion.
With a ride time of more than 90 seconds from launch to final brake, Cheetah Hunt's 4,429 feet of steel track holds the record as Busch Gardens' longest coaster, and its 13-acre footprint makes it the most expansive thrill-ride in the park's history.
"Cheetah Hunt will be an iconic coaster for Busch Gardens. It's the longest coaster yet, and families are sure to enjoy its repeatability," says Jim Dean, Busch Gardens President. "With amazing views to both watch it and ride it, three launch points and a one-of-a-kind animal habitat, Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run solidify Busch Gardens' portfolio of family experiences."
The 48-inch height requirement is four inches less than the park's other thrill machines, SheiKra and Montu, allowing families to enjoy this world-class attraction together.
Cheetah Run is home to 14 of the agile cats who inspired the project. The new habitat is reminiscent of the ruins of an ancient temple, and features more than 11,000 square feet of grassland, natural rock formations, shaded alcoves, a waterfall and a 220-foot path for the cheetahs to do what they do best - run.
Several times daily, Busch Gardens' animal care experts conduct sprints with the cheetahs, using a motorized lure system to stimulate the cats' natural instinct to chase. Glass-panel viewing windows allow guests to get closer than ever before to these highly endangered animals.
Video panels and interactive touch-screen stations help educate visitors regarding the plight of cheetahs in the wild and why their numbers have dwindled to between 10,000 and 12,500 worldwide. Guests also learn about Busch Gardens' partnership with the
Cheetah Conservation Fund in South Africa and how the CCF's efforts have helped build defense for cheetah populations, both in their native lands and around the globe. Busch Gardens has been a long-time supporter of cheetah conservation and research through the
SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a non-profit, private charitable foundation committed to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation, research, education and animal rescue programs worldwide
Busch Gardens is home to more than 2,500 exotic and endangered animals, and offers adventure-seekers eight roller coasters, as well as many other thrill rides, original live shows, and a full calendar of special events, concert series, holiday celebrations and age-appropriate experiences for the family.
Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.
Courtesy of Busch Gardens
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