Iron Gwazi

Busch Gardens Tampa opens new roller coaster.


Busch Gardens Tampa

The Entrance of the Iron Gwazi in Tampa, Florida.

Gabriel Diaz, Staff Writer

Busch Gardens Tampa is one of the most visited places in all of Florida, which is saying a lot. They have attractions for people of all ages. From a safari with many species of animals, to some of the most thrilling roller coasters in the United States. This widely acclaimed park will be opening a brand-new roller coaster on March 11 of this year: Iron Gwazi.

Construction for Iron Gwazi started back in June of 2019 and finished in mid-2020. It was originally scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening date was postponed indefinitely, until January 2022, when the opening date was finally announced to be March 11, 2022.

With a height of 206 ft, a maximum speed of 76 mph, and a length of 4,075 ft, Iron Gwazi promises to be a thrilling experience for all its riders. For comparison, Busch Garden’s tallest roller coaster before Iron Gwazi was SheiKra, with a height of 200 ft and a maximum speed of 70 mph. When it opens, Iron Gwazi will become the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Florida, surpassing Mako in SeaWorld Orlando by three mph and six feet.

Iron Gwazi is a redesign of a roller coaster that was in its place before: The original Gwazi. Gwazi was a wooden roller coaster that opened on June 17, 1999. It had a unique design with two tracks that would ‘duel’ each other, being given the appropriate name of a dueling coaster. The original Gwazi operated from 1999 until it closed in 2015 due to low ridership and high maintenance costs. The site of the original Gwazi stayed closed from the public for 4 years, until construction for Iron Gwazi began in 2019.

Iron Gwazi was built by Rocky Mountain Constructions (RMC), a roller coaster manufacturer famous for its hybrid roller coasters. Hybrid coasters use a steel track on top of wooden supports, giving it the ability to do maneuvers that a traditional wooden coaster, such as the original Gwazi, would not be able to do while at the same time giving it a visually appealing wooden look. Iron Gwazi will be the first hybrid coaster in Florida, as well as the first RMC roller coaster in the state. RMC was partially inspired by the original Gwazi on its design for the new one, using the same station and entrance.

The roller coaster will officially open to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens pass holders starting on Feb, 11, and it will open for the general public on March 11. Make sure to get out to Tampa this spring to enjoy this first of a kind roller coaster in the state of Florida and the many other thrills offered by Busch Gardens Tampa.