You might have heard of ChatGPT. It’s the artificial Intelligence (AI) program that can write essays, emails, poetry, articles and even lines of computer code. There have been a lot of buzz about it in the media about kids and college students using it to do their homework for them to journalists wondering if they’ll someday be replaced. I asked it to write a review of Busch Gardens in Tampa and this is what I got:
Busch Gardens Tampa is a theme park that offers a wide range of attractions, including roller coasters, animal exhibits, and live shows. The park has a African theme, which is reflected in the variety of animals on display, including elephants, lions, and gorillas. The roller coasters are also a highlight, with popular options such as Cheetah Hunt and Cobra’s Curse. The live shows are also enjoyable, featuring acrobatic performances, animal acts and musical performances. In addition, the park offers a variety of food options, from traditional theme park fare to more upscale dining options. Overall, Busch Gardens Tampa is a great option for a fun-filled day, with something for everyone to enjoy.
I’m a huge roller coaster fan and even have a sister blog dedicated to 3D printing (this entry appears on both sites). One of the more recent advances in roller coaster technology has been the use of magnetic launches as opposed to the old school lift hill (think click, click, click up the hill). To be fair launch does go back 50+ years with examples like the Tidal Wave coaster I used to ride at Six Flags Great America as a kid. This defunct ride actually used a falling weight and pulley system to launch the train with a deafening “clank” as the weight hit bottom! One of my personal current favorite launch coasters in Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa where the launches are used to mimic the acceleration and movements of a cheetah.
Scorpion at Busch Gardens has a rare element, a circular loop. It’s one of the few remaining. There was a great article in Vox about loops and the move away from circular to lessen g-forces. As a rider I can’t say I’ve found the loop overly intense, but there is only one and it isn’t that fast. Here’s how the park describes it:
The Scorpion® is one of only three roller coasters of its kind remaining in the world today, yet its sting is every bit as effective at instilling thrills through every twist and turn. Scorpion pulls you through a 360 degree loop and speeds of 50 miles per hour!
This tweet I think captured a lot of people’s feelings when they heard the Phoenix was testing. Could the Phoenix, closed since April 2018, be reopening? There has yet to be any official announcement from the park, but walls have come down and the ride has been seen in action several times including with human analog sandbags. However, there were also rumors that the ride had been offered for sale, so although this could be a prelude to a reopening, it also be a test for a potential buyer. The great folks at Theme Park Express posted these great pics of the ride testing (used with permission).
There’s been the recent reopening of the Congo Train Station and the expected reopening of the SkyRide later this summer, so maybe this is up next? The Intamin “Looping Starship” is a classic ride and below is an excellent video that talks about the Busch Gardens install extensively. The Phoenix was one of the first of its kind and fans had a bit of a love hate relationship with them as the restraint system wasn’t always the most comfortable for some. The rides also had a bit of reputation of being a maintenance headache. However a reopened ride certainly would be a way of generating some pseudo new ride buzz without a lot of extra cost.
Time to get Busch Gardens the annual national recognition is so greatly deserves. Here’s your chance to vote for the park as a whole as well as your favorite rides and attractions. Just follow the simple link below:
“Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been nominated for not one, not two, but six USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards! We need your help to win — fans can vote daily through Monday, April 25 to help us secure a top spot!”
The park was nominated in the following categories:
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK – BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY
BEST WATER PARK – ADVENTURE ISLAND
BEST NEW THEME PARK ATTRACTION – IRON GWAZI
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK ROLLERCOASTER – IRON GWAZI, KUMBA and MONTU
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK ENTERTAINMENT – TURN IT UP!
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK RESTAURANT – ZAMBIA SMOKEHOUSE
In a day many thought would never come, Iron Gwazi is officially opening to the public today! The key word here is “officially” as the soft opening for members has been ongoing for about a month. The park seems pumped and even the city of Tampa is getting into the act.
If you want to know more about the history of this ride I highly recommend this video by Expedition Theme Park. If you want the “Cliffs Notes” version, “There once was a dueling wooden coaster called Gwazi. It got rough, ridership dropped and it was expensive to maintain. After only 16 years it closed and stood SBNO (Standing But Not Operating) for several years until RMC worked their magic”. In a great interview Andrew Schaffer, Director of Design and Engineering at Busch Gardens Tampa and Project Manager for Iron Gwazi, talked about the fact that this was a true conversion:
“It’s definitely not an exact number, but we’ve been telling people about 25% of the original wooden structure has been re-utilized, and 75% of the foundations.”
Years in the hot Florida sun are not kind to paint and especially when it carries high speed objects with all the vibrations and movement involved. From time to time a coaster needs a fresh coat of paint to keep corrosion at bay and the ride looking sharp.
Now is the season to get what is essentially a free Fun Card for your 5 and under, just go here. Even if they turn 6 this year you can still get it and it’s as simple as an online registration. As an added bonus it’s good for Islands of Adventure waterpark too!
You must register your child and visit by February 27, 2022. Registration can ONLY be done on the BuschGardensTampa.com website. This offer is not available for registration at the park front gates. Once activated, the Preschool Card is valid for admission through December 31, 2022.