Make us your home page

Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens to close dueling wooden roller coaster

Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed plans to close its iconic double wooden roller coaster.

The first dueling wooden coaster in Florida and the largest of its kind in the Southeast, Gwazi was built in 1999, offering a top speed of 50 mph over 6,800 feet of track. (Some might say it's also a chiropractor's dream: Gwazi, which has the twin tracks Lion and Tiger, can rattle your vertebrae pretty good.)

A spokesperson said there was no official date for the final ride. The coaster-intense Busch Gardens, owned by beleaguered parent company SeaWorld Entertainment, suffered delays over this past summer in opening its latest thrill ride, the Falcon's Fury drop tower.

There are no details about what will take the place of the high-maintenance Gwazi.

Fans reacted on social media, expressing sadness over the news but hope for what may replace Gwazi.

"Nooooo now what ride will I force people to ride when I want to see them cry?" JJ Martin of Clearwater wrote on Facebook.

Georgia Tirado-Febo of Tampa wrote, "Awww I remember working at BG and being the first to ride it. Goodbye Gwazi!"

Many people commented about how rough Gwazi's wooden twists and turns could be.

Tracie Petroski of Tampa wrote: "That was an uncomfortable ride. But still had to ride it. RIP."

Contact Sean Daly at Follow @seandalypoplife.

Gwazi, by the numbers

Named after an African legend, Gwazi was a conflicted animal that was half-lion, half-tiger that continually struggled with itself.

2 dueling coasters in one; each track is 3,400 feet long for a 2-minute, 20-second ride.

3.5 G's, as in a force acting on a body as a result of acceleration or gravity generated on the ride.

2M locking bolts were used to help the lumber hold together in Florida's heat.

1.3M Feet of Southern yellow pine board treated with arsenic to resist termites.

1.3 Miles of track intertwined in a compact 8-acre maze.

90 Height in feet of Gwazi's lift hill.

50 Top speed, measured in miles per hour.

Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens to close dueling wooden roller coaster 12/23/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Luis Flores, executive chef at Ciccio Restaurant Group, prepares an Impossible Burger at Epicurean Hotel's Food Theatre. Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that will launch on Sept. 27, 2017 in all the Ciccio Restaurant Group locations, except for Fresh Kitchen. "This burger caters to the carnivorous, not just the vegetarians" said Jeff Gigante, co-founder at Ciccio Restaurant Group. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  2. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project


    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    Construction is underway for the new Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Heart Institute in downtown Tampa. This view is from atop Amalie Arena, where local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the first piece of what will be the new Water Street District. The USF building is expected to open in late 2019. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  3. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
  4. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]
  5. With successful jewelry line, Durant High alum Carley Ochs enjoys 'incredible ride'



    As a child Carley Ochs played dress up, draped in her grandmother's furs.

    Founder Carley Ochs poses for a portrait in her Ford Bronco at the Bourbon & Boweties warehouse in Brandon, Fla. on September 19, 2017. Ochs is a Durant High and Florida State University graduate.