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Busch Gardens unveils model of new roller coaster coming in 2016

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Construction on a new Busch Gardens Tampa roller coaster has been under way since January. The theme park unveiled a model of the attraction at the International Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show in Orlando this week.

The model shows a giant cobra, mouth agape, hovering over a turquoise-and-purple track. A free-spinning cart carrying passengers passes almost directly under the cobra giving riders the illusion of being swallowed by the venomous beast.

Free-spinning coasters are the latest in thrill rides worldwide and feature carts that spin along an axis independent of the cart’s movement along the track. The result is an intense experience of spinning while traveling at high rates of speed along roller coaster tracks while still being able to incorporate the adrenaline rush that comes with steep drops and upside down loops.

Despite the seemingly terrifying nature of the ride, Cobra’s Curse is designed for families. Riders have to be just 42 inches tall to ride. Most of Busch Gardens’ roller coasters require riders to be 54 inches tall.

“Busch Gardens puts a spin on family thrills in 2016 with Cobra’s Curse,” a news release from Busch Gardens reads. “This one-of-a-kind spin coaster features a 70-foot vertical lift and takes riders on a whirlwind adventure of exciting explorations. Come face-to-face with an 80-foot snake icon, trek over the park’s Serengeti Plain and discover the mysteries of an Egyptian archaeological excavation.”

Cobra’s Curse is being built in the park’s Egypt area near Montu. A former attraction, King Tut’s Tomb, was closed to make way for the new ride.

Cobra’s Curse will be Busch Gardens’ seventh major roller coaster. Most recently the park opened Falcon’s Fury – a free-fall ride that drops riders face down from 335 feet in the air.

The ride joins Cheetah Hunt and the Scorpion as a roller coaster built for all of the big kids who still aren’t quite big enough for the larger coasters.

Younger guests can also enjoy rides like the Jungle Flyers that let visitors zip across a portion of the part suspended to a cable and the Sand Serpent that whips riders around sharp corners. Other rides include the Tidal Wave, Stanley Falls and Congo River Rapid water rides.

Cobra’s Curse is expected to open next year. The park included information about the new roller coaster in a release advertising 2016 Fun Cards that allow Florida residents to “pay for one day and get all of 2016 free” are now on sale. That release came out earlier this month.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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