Coaster fans, get ready to pounce. The tiger-themed triple-launch steel roller coaster Tigris will open on April 19, Busch Gardens announced on Thursday.
It's Florida's tallest launch coaster and the ninth coaster in the park, the most of any theme park in the state. At a towering 150 feet, Tigris occupies a fairly compact space in the Stanleyville area of the Tampa theme park.
Visitors to Busch Gardens in the next two weeks should keep a close eye on Tigris and check Twitter since theme parks often open up new attractions for unannounced test runs called soft openings.
Park passholders will be given exclusive ride time the first two weekends in May in the hour before the park opens, said Busch Gardens spokeswoman Rebecca Romzek.
"However, with any new attraction, there is potential for a public soft open leading up to opening day," she said.
The final pieces of flame-colored track were snapped into place in February and the park has been testing the ride ever since in preparation for a spring opening.
The coaster resembles a rectangle with rounded edges. But in that space, it will hurtle riders 150 feet into the sky, launch them backward and also turn them upside down and swirl through curves at 60 miles per hour.
"Tigris will race riders along more than 1,800 feet of steel track designed to mimic the awe-inspiring agility of the world's largest and most powerful cat — the tiger," a park news release said Thursday.
It is the centerpiece of the park's 60th anniversary celebration this year, which also brings free beer all year and a new pin-trading push similar the collectible pins that Disney fans buy and trade.