Scorpion at Busch Gardens Tampa is one of the few remaining attractions in the park.
I remember as a kid, I would be fascinated by how much people screamed on roller coasters. I would stand beside the ride, looking at the riders and then deem the ride worthy or unworthy based on how much people were screaming.
Yup, I was a budding adrenaline junkie alright.
My point is: if I were to visit the Scorpion at Busch Gardens Tampa as that twelve-year-old, I would still rank it pretty high.
Scorpion will take you to the highest heights of exhilaration, drop you into the depths of stomach-lurching fear and finish with a high-speed 360-degree pirouette.
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First Impressions of Scorpion Roller Coaster
Although the thrill level is labelled “moderate” by Busch Gardens (* 360-degree eye roll*), I would beg to differ. You do not under-sell this awesome ride. Not on my watch!
It’s a true Busch Gardens classic that reminds me so much of my early childhood visits to the Florida theme parks.
It towers over the tiny humans who dare to think that they can take the Scorpion on. And for every batch that gets onto it, one leaves feeling surpirsed at how much this short ride delivers.
If you still want to take your chances with the king of the arachnids, you have been forewarned.
So here I present to you the ultimate guide of taking on a roller coaster as formidable as the Scorpion. This guide has everything you need to know before strapping yourself into this ride– what to expect, tips, tricks and also an FAQ section!
Alright, let’s get started!
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History of the Scorpion
Scorpion is one of the only three roller coasters in the entire world that is made by the famous German manufacturer Schwarzkopf (not the shampoo brand). Considering that they started out making circus equipment, I would say they really know how to put on a show!
It is a Silver Arrow model and since they don’t make those anymore, it’s a limited edition roller coaster. (Never thought I will be saying that sentence)
Scorpion is one of the older residents of Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. This, however, is not a measure of its popularity. Although it was unveiled to the public in 1980, it remains one of the most in-demand rides with a queue time of around 90 minutes during peak travel season.
Hipster Fun Fact: Scorpion was the ride that closed the circuit between the Nairobi and Congo section of the park. Talk about bringing the park full circle… literally.
What to expect on the Scorpion
For a ride that only lasts a minute and a half, the Scorpion definitely gives you your money’s worth.
While it is not as fast as the other ‘high thrill’ Busch Gardens rides, it still roars along the rails at a maximum of 50 miles per hour. The track itself is quite short– a mere 1817 feet compared to its brethren.
But don’t let these stats fool you. The Scorpion is anything but harmless. The star of the show is the 360-degree loop the train makes in the beginning. It is where all the screams come from.
Let me walk you through the true Scorpion experience.
After your long and arduous wait (I’m exaggerating, it’s about a half an hour wait at the most on many day), when you slide into your seats, there is one thing you will notice– the Scorpion has no seatbelts…
Instead, it has lap bars. (Got you there!)
Don’t worry the lap bars are completely secure. Just make sure to test it once before the Scorpion scuttles away.
Scorpion wastes no time– after climbing up the hill, you are subjected to a 45-foot drop and the 360-degree vertical loop right after. Those who have weak stomachs, hold on for dear life because you will go from horizontal to vertical to upside-down real quick.
If you think the fun has ended here, you are so wrong. Quite similar to the gait of a scorpion, this ride is lightning fast with a lot of twists and turns. And by that I mean you will be doing the dreaded pretzel turnarounds.
While you take a second breath after this, just remember– there’s more to come. Scorpion quickly scuttles through a heart-pounding, tummy-lurching 900-degree helix. The train then roughly helps you make your way back to where you came from.
By the time you get off, I promise that your head will be swimming.
5 Top Tips for Your Visit
Now that you have the basics, let’s go through a few tips to make the most of your visit to Busch Gardens.
1. Lap bars hurt
What is worse than rough bulky straps chafing at your skin? Lap bars. They are big, heavy and made of steel.
And if during the course of the ride, your body gets slammed against it, that part of your body may hurt for the rest of the day.
My advice is to try not to get your fingers stuck in between your body and the lap bars when the Scorpion is doing the 360-degree roll. Trust me, that really hurts.
2. Choose a cloudy day
Since the Scorpion is an outdoor ride in the sunny state of Florida, it is advisable that you pick a relatively cloudy day to visit Busch Gardens to help conquer the Tampa heat.
3. Be tech-savvy and use the Busch Gardens app
Technology is your best friend (unless the robots take over, but I think we have a good few years till that day comes). When you have an entire day and a map in your hand, it is really hard to decide which ride to go on first.
A tip is to check live queue times online if you want to plan your day better. It even lists the peak times for each ride so you know exactly when not to queue up.
4. Be careful with loose itemes
I have talked about this before but I cannot stress this enough– loose items of clothing are downright dangerous on roller coasters.
Wearing clothes that are too loose could cause a piece of fabric to get caught in the ride’s machinery. Do leave troublesome items at home.
5. Beware of the barf
Don’t eat or drink much before you get on this ride. Remember that at one point in the ride, you will be going upside down and getting twisted in the snares of the Scorpion.
You don’t to forever be remembered as the girl/guy who puked 40 feet up in the air. Besides, the employees will never forgive you and neither will the other passengers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Scorpion ride at Busch Gardens Tampa for?
The entire ride lasts for about 1 minute and thirty seconds on average. But let that not fool you, Scorpion will have sure you are screaming for the entire duration. Numbers are quite deceptive, my friend.
How long is the queue for the Scorpion?
On average, the wait time for the Scorpion is 15 minutes but it can go up to half an hour or more during peak times. A trick is to use the app for a live queue time update, so you know exactly how much time it would take to get through to the Scorpion.
In addition, this tool also lets you avoid the peak times and plan your day at Busch Gardens better.
What days are the best to visit Busch Gardens Tampa?
Mondays and Tuesdays are widely acknowledged as the best days to visit Busch Gardens. Weekends are the worst time to visit any theme park unless you like being packed like a sardine between sweaty bodies.
Weekdays are considerably better, especially if you don’t want to be around too many kids since they will most likely be in school.
What is there to eat at Busch Gardens Tampa?
More than you can eat, that’s for sure. Busch Gardens offers a variety of restaurants, stalls and the pubs. I would recommend the Dragon Fire Grill. The name itself makes my mouth water. It is, however, a little pricey (like all theme parks) so be warned.
Do they sell alcohol at Busch Gardens Tampa?
Good news for all the adults– yes, they do serve alcohol at Busch Gardens Tampa! If you are a parent who needs some time away from your child, try visiting one of the pubs.
The restaurants sometimes also have the whole package with full bars, greasy (but tasty) theme park food and a commendable beer collection.
What can you bring to Busch Gardens Tampa?
Pretty much everything except certain food and weapons is allowed. That includes both home-cooked food and food bought outside. Water bottles are allowed.
To conclude, all I can say is: the mighty steel Scorpion takes no prisoners. Although you are now armed with information that could help you take on this monster, your courage is something that will surface only when you are face to face with it.
Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get those tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa and ride the fearsome Scorpion.
I wish you the best of luck on your mission!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!