Tigris Construction Tour at Busch Gardens Tampa
The construction of Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is well under way! Recently, the Tigris track was completed, and Coaster101 was invited for an exclusive behind-the-scenes construction tour of the Premier Rides Skyrocket II coaster. For background, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment purchased three Skyrocket II models. The first became Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, while the second became Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego. Tigris will be the company’s third and final Skyrocket II installation.
The construction tour included an up-close look of the completed track of Tigris, along with interview opportunities with Stewart Clark, President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Andrew Schaffer, Tigris Project Manager.
Tigris is located at the former site of Tanganyika Tidal Wave, which closed in 2016. Despite Tidal Wave’s location in the Stanleyville section of the park, Tigris will be adjacent to the Jungala section of the park. The ride’s tiger theming will fit right into Jungala’s Asian animal exhibits!
The tour began in a welcoming area next to Stanleyville Theater. Guests were treated with tiger-themed pastries and coffee while we donned our hard hats and safety vests.
We were separated into smaller groups and taken over to the Tigris construction area. Here, Busch Gardens Tampa president Stewart Clark greeted us before giving us the lowdown on Tigris. According to Stewart, one of the main missions of the inclusion of rides like Tigris is “bringing life back in” to Busch Gardens. The tiger-theming of the ride also highlights a message about the plight of tigers in the wild and what can be done to help these animals.
Tigris has a relatively small footprint compared to most other major coasters. As a result, it was easy to get a view of the ride in its full glory. Standing at 150 feet tall, it is a wonderful addition to Busch Garden’s skyline next to SheiKra.
Here’s a closer look at Tigris’ non-inverting loop. It is definitely one of the more unique roller coaster elements.
Here’s a look at Tigris’ twisting climb. The ride’s initial launch out of the station sends you about halfway up before sending you spiraling back down into a reverse launch back into the non-inverting loop. A final forward launch will send you twisting up to the top of the ride.
Next, we went down closer to the ride to chat with Andrew Schaffer, Tigris Project Manager. Andrew highlighted that, even though Tigris’ steel track is physically only little more than 800 feet long, riders would be treated to over 1800 feet of track with the ride’s forward and backwards launches.
A closer look at Tigris’ linear synchronous motors used during the ride’s three launches.
One last look at Tigris’ 150-foot high heartline roll.