A-Z Coaster of the Week: Python
For this week’s A-Z Coaster of the Week, our “P” coaster will take us back into the “p”ast (terrible “p”un, I know…) to Python at Busch Gardens Tampa in Tampa, FL.
Python was a steel corkscrew roller coaster developed and built by then Arrow Development (which later became Arrow Dynamics) in 1976, and opened on July 1, 1976. It was actually the first roller coaster to open at Busch Gardens, so it holds quite the legacy for a company that would become known for its world class coasters. Python was one of the many corkscrew roller coasters built by Arrow in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, there were a few attributes that helped the coaster stand out amongst the rest.
Python was located in the Congo section of Busch Gardens Tampa, nestled in a corner towards the rear of the park. Standing at 70 ft tall, it featured a 1,250 ft layout that included 2 corkscrew inversions, and reached a speed of 50 mph.
One of the things that made Python stand out from other coasters of its ilk was its presence as a terrain coaster. Instead of being plopped down on a concrete midway like at other parks, Python was able to take advantage of Busch Gardens Tampa’s incredible landscaping. As you can see in the picture above, the coaster was absolutely picturesque as it “snaked” through the foliage. I can actually recall pictures of Python being plastered all over Busch Gardens brochures in hotels and rest stops all over Florida. While Kumba’s interlocking corkscrews would later feature one of the more iconic roller coaster shots, it definitely owes its older sibling for starting the trend.
On October 31, 2006, Python was permanently closed and demolished later that year to make way for the new Jungala area of the park, which would open in 2008.
Python Video (including POV)
Location: Busch Gardens Tampa, Florida
- Type/Category: Steel,
- Opened: 1976 / Closed: 2006 / Dismantled: 2006
- Age when closed: 30
- Replaced by: Jungala
- Designer/Manufacturer: Arrow Development
- Height: 70 ft (21 m)
- Speed: 50 mph (80 kmph)
- Length: 1,250 ft (380 m)
- Inversions: 2
Have you ridden Python at Busch Gardens Tampa? Share your thoughts and reminisce on this iconic coaster in the comments section below!