Launch forwards, backwards, and upside down on this new thrill rollercoaster at Busch Gardens (Photo: Busch Gardens Tampa)

We are just ten days away from the opening of Busch Gardens Tampa’s latest thrill ride - Tigris. On April 19, the theme park will bring a new level of excitement with this brand-new launch rollercoaster.  

At a towering 150-feet, Tigris is Florida’s tallest launch coaster. The ride jams a lot of excitement into a relatively short ride that lasts about a minute and takes riders over approximately 800 feet of track, which some parts of are used multiple times.

“As soon as you board the ride, you get launched out of the station. You launch forward at 25 mph,” said Andrew Schaffer, project manager in a statement.

You roll back through the station then you launch in the reverse direction – it gets up to about 50 mph -- and then it comes back again one last time, launching you 62 mph out of the station. That’s what takes you up through the rest of the ride,” he said during a hard-hat tour of the construction site in February.

Tigris takes its inspiration from the world’s largest and most powerful cat - the tiger. The name pays tribute to the world’s largest cat species, Panthera Tigris.

The ride is located in Stanleyville section of the park next to the Jungle exhibit, which houses the park’s endangered Bengal tigers. The coaster queue outlines the plight of tigers in the wild and Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts to save them. Tigris takes up the spot formally occupied by Tidal Wave, an African-themed boat ride that got riders soaked during its chute drop.

Tigris is the centerpiece of the park’s 60th anniversary celebration this year, which also brings free beer all year and new pin-trading.

As if the opening of Tigris wasn’t exciting enough, Busch Gardens recently announced a second new thrill ride will be coming to the Gwazi area of the park in 2020. Stay tuned for more details.