|Park||Busch Gardens Tampa Bay|
|Opening date||May 21, 2005|
SheiKra was proposed by vice president of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. At first, the attraction was rejected for being not that big of a thrill. Finally, after several small adjustments to the ride design, Busch Gardens approved the ride. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the company that owns the park, filed a trademark for the name "SheiKra".
Rumors had spread around Busch Gardens Tampa that a new roller coaster was coming to the park in 2005. A roller coaster fan had emailed the park for their lack of coasters in 2004.. The park responded, saying he'd be a happy guest the following year. The rumors had eventually spread to media, which then the park denied the claims.
Later that year, part of the Serengeti Express track was being removed. On April 26, 2004, construction permits were discovered, revealing Busch Gardens Tampa's plan to open a new roller coaster, a restaurant, and a shop. In July 2004, construction walls were placed around SheiKra's construction site, and Tiki masks were placed on the walls. Each of the Tiki masks had its own quote. Some included "What is taller than ten giraffes and faster than a charging rhino?" Eventually, track supports and pieces of the track were spotted near the construction site, revealing that the park's new ride would be a roller coaster.
Announcement and openingEdit
SheiKra was announced on October 27, 2004. Construction on the ride began in May 2004, and after a small testing period was complete, the attraction opened to the public on May 21, 2005.
Conversion to floorless coasterEdit
A year after operations had begun, Busch Gardens announced they would be removing the floors off the SheiKra trains. Rumors were confirmed on January 31, 2007, via live broadcast at 10:30am. The first floorless trains were revelaed on April 24, 2007.
After the vehicle's floors drop and the station gate opens, riders then take a right turn. First, the ride enters a brake system, then ascends up the 200ft hill. Upon reaching the top, guests can take several views of the park and surrounding Tampa Bay. Next, riders then enter yet another brake system and reach the 200ft overhang, in which, for a short period of time, guests can see the park once again. Then, guests get a weightless feeling as the vehicle descends down the drop and into an Immelmann dive loop. Riders are then taken to an overbanked turn that enters yet another brake system. Next, the vehicle then plunges into an underground tunnel and then overbanks to the right. The riders are taken to the attraction's infamous and notable splashdown element, in which nearby onlookers can get soaked. Then, the train then enters several turns and then enters the final brake system.
- SheiKra is North America's first dive coaster.
- SheiKra introduced the splashdown and the Immelmann loop element to dive coasters.
- SheiKra's loop is the first inversion on any dive coaster.
- The attraction is the first dive coaster to have a 90-degree drop.
- Until Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg opened, SheiKra was the tallest, fastest, and longest Dive Coaster built.
- The attraction gets its name from an African bird named the shikra.
Golden Ticket Awards: Best New Ride for 2005Edit
- SheiKra was nominated at the Golden Ticket Awards for 2005's Best New Ride. The attraction received sixth place, losing to Cedar Point's maXair, Six Flags Great Adventure's record-breaking Kingda Ka, and the year's winner Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park's Hades.
Golden Ticket AwardsEdit
Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster PollEdit
Coaster of the WeekEdit
- The attraction was the Wikia's third Coaster of the Week. It was awarded this position from the week of March 24, 2013 - March 30, 2013. This was the coaster's first win. However, it appeared on the Top 10 list the following week, at #3.