Florida Guide > Other Parks
Sheikra – Busch Gardens
One of our favourite rides in Busch Gardens over in Tampa is Sheikra. Sheikra is a vertical drop roller coaster located in the Stanleyville section of the park, The name is taken from a Shikra, an African hawk that dives straight down for its prey. The ride opened in May 2005 and was converted in June 2007 to a floorless design, the design that we got to ride.
We had been longing to ride this roller coaster for some time so when the time finally came we were very excited. As we approached Busch Gardens the huge structure was clearly visible high above all of the other rides. After the usual efficient entry into the park we made a beeline for Sheikra, arriving at its well themed entrance soon afterwards. Standing and looking straight up you couldn’t help but admire the engineering marvel of all of the red track and blue supports towering above you.
On this particular day we managed to get to the front of the queue in just 30 minutes, so the time had finally arrived after months of planning. Into the seats and down with the restraints. As we moved out of the station and banked to the right, we could see the steep climb, some 200 feet at a 47 degree angle. The view of Tampa was astounding.
At the top of the hill, we made a U turn towards the drop where we were slowly eased over and held for about 3 seconds. This isn’t like most roller coasters where the first drop is a teaser; this is a full 90 degree downward drop. The car plunges straight down making a unique sound as it hurls towards the ground. As it levels out the speed is maintained and continues as the car is thrown into a loop. The sensation of the inversion is very smooth and fast, a great sensation. We then made a carousel turn into a brake run. We noticed another vertical drop approaching as the car slows down, but didn’t quite stop. We plunged into another dive, this one 81 degrees into a misty tunnel. The car then flies into a banked turn as you turn towards water.
The car plunges into the water and funnels in the back create two massive water tails. The ride is then over. Sections of the ride are captured by video camera which can be viewed as you leave.
We thought that Sheikra was awesome.
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