In October 2010, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced that a launch-style roller coaster (the first for Busch Gardens) called “Cheetah Hunt” would open in late Spring 2011. It had originally been speculated that it would be called “CheeTaka”. It opened on the Memorial Day weekend in late May 2011.
Cheetah Hunt “A New Breed of Speed” is a steel launch coaster built by the Swiss company, Intamin using Linear Synchronous Motors (LSM) with repelling magnets capable of accelerating the cars from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in a couple of seconds.
The over 3/4 mile, 4,429 foot (1,350 m) long Cheetah Hunt roller coaster features three separate launch points and riders experience up to 4g during the 1 minute 20 second ride. The start of the ride is located in the former monorail station which closed in 1999.
The first launch is right from the starting point and it launches you at 30 mph (48 kph) across the themed Serengeti Plains. A second launch then sends you up 102 feet (31 m) in the air at speeds of 60 mph (97 kph) before dropping you down 130 feet (40 m) into a subterranean trench. The final launch accelerates you back towards the station at 40 mph (64 kph).
Other features include a heartline roll inversion, over-banked turns and a mid-ride parabola which gives the riders a sense of weightlessness for three seconds.
Each train consists of four cars in a 2 x 2 configuration, seating up to 16 passengers and there are five trains in total. Minimum height requirement is 48 inches (1.22 m).
Quick Queue front-of-line access is available for Cheetah Hunt.
Cheetah Hunt was voted second in the Best New Ride category in 2011, the year it opened, in Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards.
There are great views of Cheetah Hunt from the Sky Ride gondolas.
In conjunction with the Cheetah Hunt ride, there is a Cheetah Run exhibit where you are able to observe cheetahs close-up through large observation windows.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on earth, capable of speeds of up to 70 mph and you can watch them perform daily sprints with their trainers.