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  1. Entertainment

Here's how you can ride Busch Gardens' Tigris coaster early

Busch Gardens is doing a "soft opening" before Friday's official opening of Tigris, Florida's tallest launch coaster.

"Pssst, the cat's out of the bag," the park posted on its official Twitter account. "Tigris will be soft opening tomorrow and Wednesday! During this time, Pass Members can enjoy exclusive Quick Queue access!"

PREVIOUSLY: Busch Gardens to officially open Tigris coaster April 19.

The caveat with a "soft opening" is there are no promises that it will be open, but chances are good.

It's the ninth coaster in the Tampa theme 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 Busch Gardens. It is the centerpiece of the park's 60th anniversary celebration this year, which also brings free beer all year.

It sends riders 150 feet into the sky, launches them backward and also turn them upside down and in a swirl called a "heartline roll" and through curves at 60 miles per hour.

The Tampa Bay Times will be riding the coaster on Thursday morning as part of a media preview. Follow our coverage at

The coaster officially opens to public when the park opens at 10 a.m. Friday.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at Follow @SharonKWn.