If you have ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), you’re going to need to face your fears – literally – if you plan to ride Busch Gardens’ new roller coaster when it opens this summer. Not only will you face real snakes in the queue, you’ll also come face-to-face with a giant snake statue with four-foot-long fangs.
Dozens of artists united to design, engineer, fabricate and thematically paint the snake icon, creating a centerpiece for Cobra’s Curse roller coaster that will bring riders just inches from its fangs. Standing at 80 feet tall, with four-foot-long fangs and three-foot-wide eyes, the icon was constructed of nine stackable pieces with an internal steel spine and an outer shell composed of carved foam and fiberglass.
The 70-foot vertical lift functions similar to an outdoor elevator taking riders up in their coaster car and putting them face-to-fang with the snake icon’s mouth. The three-and-a-half-minute ride will also feature a second inclined lift that sets up for the free-spin finale of the ride. The trek will cover more than 2,100 feet of track at 40 mph.
Guests will also come face to fang the moment they enter the Cobra’s Curse queue line, which will feature several of the world’s most notorious snake species that naturally fuel guests’ adrenaline.
Guests will be just inches away from the 400-cubic-foot snake exhibit which will include Jameson’s mambas, Angolan pythons and rhinoceros and gaboon vipers. The design of the multi-level exhibit not only reflects the theme of the ride, but also features several animal husbandry and enrichment components designed with the snakes’ welfare in mind, including naturalistic design elements, controlled heat sources and humidity control.
“The snake exhibit at Cobra’s Curse will allow us to combine the best of what Busch Gardens has to offer – animals and thrill rides,” says Jeff Andrews, vice president, zoological operations at Busch Gardens Tampa. “This exhibit will give our guests an unforgettable experience while continuing the conversation around conservation and education by highlighting the species and their important role in the wild, which is our top priority.”
The grand opening is slated for this summer. Visit CobrasCurse.com for more information.