Wilderness Foundation Africa and Busch Gardens Tampa have announced a conservation partnership with a connection to the Africa-themed Iron Gwazi roller coaster, which opens March 11, 2022.
Iron Gwazi will come roaring back after a seven-year refurbishment that transformed the former all-wood Gwazi coaster into a steel-and-wood behemoth. In honor of it’s upcoming March 11 opening, Busch Gardens has put the focus on conservation in a collaboration with South Africa’s Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA).
Leaders from WFA will attend Iron Gwazi’s ribbon cutting ceremony, and a portion of the proceeds from the mega-coaster’s merchandise will be donated to the organization to help support their efforts in conservation, education, and research.
When the coaster opens, guests will find educational programming at the ride, along with suggestions on how to support the WFA, whose goal is to sustain wildlife and wilderness through integrated conservation and education programs.
“Our park experiences are unique, because guests can ride some of the most thrilling rides in the world while also seeing and learning more about animals that they may never otherwise have a chance to see up close,” said President of Busch Gardens Tampa, Neal Thurman. “We are proud that a portion of each ticket, each visit, and each experience at our parks helps fund the conservation of animals and their habitats. In keeping with that commitment, our partnership with WFA is another important way we are helping raise awareness and support of the important work that this organization does every day to protect animals and their habitats.”
From its base in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, WFA is active in anti-poaching in the field, large landscape wilderness management, and developing young leaders from disadvantaged communities, inspiring them to enter careers in conservation.
“Most people will never have the opportunity to travel to Africa and see for themselves the animals that need our help,” said Andrew Muir, CEO of the Wilderness Foundation Africa, “and so our partnership with Busch Gardens helps bring Africa to them. Protecting African species and their spaces takes a global community, and accredited zoos like Busch Gardens play an important role because without the ability for the public to see these animals up close, they likely will never be inspired to help. The exceptional standards of care and conservation of species happening at Busch Gardens, coupled with the ability for the public to see and learn more about the animals and the threats they face in the wild, is essential to building the next generation of conservationists.”
Visitors to Busch Gardens can experience a recreation of an African savannah at the park’s Serengeti Plain, on board the Serengeti Express train, or through the immersive Serengeti Safari, crossing the 65-acre Serengeti Plain in an open-air touring vehicle.
Iron Gwazi – the world fastest and steepest hybrid coaster, and North America’s tallest hybrid coaster – is now open for Pass Member previews.
For more information on Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts, visit SWBG-ConservationFund.org.