Tampa, Fla. (May 26, 2011) – Nature’s most graceful predator comes to life Friday, May 27, in Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s newest mega-attraction, Cheetah Hunt. As Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt creates yet another world-class family attraction by using state-of-the-art technology to deliver three adrenaline-fueled surges of speed inspired by the world’s fastest land animal.
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 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 guests. These surges propel 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 first 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,” said 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.”
Cheetah Hunt has a 48-inch height requirement, which is four inches less than the park’s other legendary thrill machines, SheiKra and Montu, allowing families to enjoy this world-class attraction together.
Also part of this new mega-attraction is Cheetah Run, 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 each day, Busch Gardens’ animal care experts will 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 will help educate visitors of the plight of cheetahs in the wild and why their numbers have dwindled to between 10,000 and 12,500 worldwide. Guests will 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.
Together, Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run further cement Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s reputation as Florida’s thrill-ride leader and as one of North America’s premier zoological institutions. Busch Gardens is home to more than 2,500 exotic and endangered animals, and offers adventure-seekers eight world-class 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 whole family.