Thursday, December 14, 2017
Things To Do

Here's what's new at Busch Gardens this summer: Cobra's Curse

Busch Gardens calls Cobra's Curse a family coaster, but more than a few parents might balk at the signature spinning feature in the final third of the ride. It freely twirls the coaster car, making it a potentially wild ride based on weight distribution.

With a low height limit of 42 inches and tame speed of 40 mph, Cobra's Curse will welcome a fair amount of preschoolers. But watch your lunch because its design makes this spin coaster the only one of its kind in the world, sending riders forward, backward and finally freely spinning in the last third of the ride.

The official opening date hasn't been announced. A media preview had been scheduled for this week, a good sign it's opening soon. But on Monday, Busch Gardens announced testing was taking longer than expected, and the preview was postponed.

This will be Busch Gardens' first ride with an extensive air-conditioned queue with 45 minutes of entertainment that includes an exhibit of live snakes. The snakes, naturally averse to vibrations, have undergone an acclimation process by Busch Gardens' animal care team.

The icon of the ride is King Venymyss, an 80-foot golden snake statue towering above the roller coaster. Riders will travel in a vertical lift to the giant snake head. Then, they will hurtle down a twisting track, snaking around existing elements of the park's Egypt section, putting riders close to passers-by on the sidewalk.

The queue is repurposed from the closed Tut's Tomb attraction, and it will be stocked with live vipers and pythons in a 400-cubic-foot exhibit. Parent company SeaWorld has said this ride, as well as the shark-themed Mako roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando, will also have an environmental message.

Also coming this summer is the return of Summer Nights, June 25 through Aug. 7, when the park stays open late. Plus, the popular Kinetix live show returns with rock-fueled music and acrobatics at 9 every night on Gwazi Field. Summer Nights will end each night with a fireworks show set to music, right after the Kinetix show.

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