Busch Gardens Tampa had a special Valentine’s Day gift for members of the media – a hard hat tour of Tigris, the newest addition being built at the park! The Premier Rides Sky Rocket II model will be the tallest launch coaster in Florida when it opens this Spring.
Tigris is taking shape in Stanleyville on the former site of Tanganyika Tidal Wave, which closed in April of 2016, and was demolished last summer. We’ve been covering the construction of Tigris since the beginning – you can see previous updates on our site.
Our hard hat tour on Thursday began with special access on the north side of the construction site, where park president Stewart Clark welcomed us and shared some details not only on Tigris, but all of the great things happening in 2019, including the celebration of park’s 60th anniversary. Clark also mentioned we should expect an announcement about the 2020 project, Gwazi, on March 1st when the park kicks off their 60th celebration.
The area Clark was standing in will be behind the scenes when the project is complete, with an access road added to allow maintenance crews direct access to Tigris. From this vantage point, Tigris looks rather impressive standing at 150 feet tall. The majority of the ride itself is now finished, with the full track circuit being completed recently.
Our tour continued with an even closer look near the forward launch area at the base of the eastern tower. Project Manager Andrew Schaffer gave some more specifics on the ride experience. If you’re curious about what to expect when Tigris opens, be sure to check out our correspondent’s look at his experience at sister park SeaWorld San Diego, where Electric Eel, another of the Sky Rocket II roller coasters, opened last year.
From this spot we got a close-up view of the forward launch and the eastern tower.
Work on the station is well under way, and you can see just how the supports will go right through it. We could also see a bit of the queue, where a portion will be covered as it enters the station.
On the eastern end of the station, the control room is starting to take shape as it is framed out.
While on the tour, there was work going on all around us, including work on the roller coaster itself. Crews were busy torquing the bolts on all of the track pieces and supports and working on the electrical systems.
The former Tropical Wave gift shop will become the new spot for picking up Tigris souvenirs, and is currently being refurbished. We also caught a glimpse of the progress on the new building being erected for lockers, which will be located just across from the gift shop up against Stanleyville Theater.
It was interesting to see a few remnants of Tanganyika Tidal Wave while on the tour, including several elements which will be used in the new area, like retaining walls on either side of Tigris that meet up with new construction. The queue for the new roller coaster will actually follow Tidal Wave’s path past its old station (which is remaining for use during Howl-O-Scream) before winding back up into Tigris’ station. We also spotted one of the last remaining footers from Tidal Wave’s elevated section, and looked down the former path it took coming out of the densely covered area into the construction site.
Be sure to check back here on the site and our social media feeds (linked below) for the latest on Tigris and other projects and events from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay!
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