Scorpion at Busch Gardens Tampa: A Classic Roller Coaster for Enthusiasts

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.

AND, 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.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Entrance

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Is Scorpion at Busch Gardens Scary?

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!

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay classic scorpion roller coaster
Scorpion Roller Coaster

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 surprised at how much this short ride delivers.

Busch Gardens Tampa Travel Planner and Itinerary Guide

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay dragon fire grill in pantopia with Scorpion Roller Coaster in the background.

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 at Busch Gardens Tampa

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!

Timbuktu Area Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Pantopia
Former Timbuktu Area Busch Gardens Photo: Florida Memory

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)

What Year Did the Scorpion Coaster at Busch Gardens Open?

Scorpion is one of the older residents of Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. This, however, is not a measure of its popularity.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Near Eatery

Although it was unveiled to the public on May 16, 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 at Busch Gardens Tampa

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scorpion roller coaster in florida sun
Scorpion Roller Coaster

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.

How Tall is Scorpion at Busch Gardens?

The Scorpion ride at Busch Gardens stands an impressive 61 feet tall which is not too bad for a roller coaster it’s age.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay classic scorpion roller coaster

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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…

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scorpion

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 Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Going up the Hill

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scorpion in florida sun next to charging station

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.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Track Curve Helix

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.

Read: 17 Busch Gardens Must Do’s You Have to Experience

5 Top Tips for Your Visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Now that you have the basics, let’s go through a few tips to make the most of your visit to Busch Gardens.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Near Dragon Fire Restaurant

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scorpion in florida sun next to charging station

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.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Track Curve

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).

Busch Gardens Tampa Map 2024 PDF

When you have an entire day and a map in your hand, it is really hard to decide which ride to go on first.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay wide shot of scorpion roller coaster
Scorpion Roller Coaster

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.

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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.

Sandserpant Busch Gardens Tampa Bay pantopia twisty roller coaster

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.

Read: Groupon Busch Gardens: Money-Saving Travel Deals You Must Get TODAY!

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay classic scorpion roller coaster
Scorpion Roller Coaster

You don’t to forever be remembered as the girl/guy who let it ALL go 61 feet up in the air.

Besides, the employees will never forgive you and neither will the other passengers.

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What to Know Before You Ride Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens

Now that you have all the basic information you’ll need about the Scorpion roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens Tampa, let’s go through a few of the most commonly asked questions.

Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Near Dragon Fire Restaurant

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 old is Scorpion at Busch Gardens?

The Scorpion roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa will be 44 years old this year. It opened on May 16, 1980 as previously mentioned in this article.

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Pantopia entrance from auditorium

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.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scorpion in florida sun next to charging station

Weekdays are considerably better, especially if you don’t want to be around too many kids since they will most likely be in school.

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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 or the Zambia Smokehouse.

Colorful Pantopia Busch Gardens Tampa with red roller coaster Scorpion in background.
Dragon Fire Grill (formerly Pantopia Grill) in the Pantopia Area of Busch Gardens Tampa

The name itself makes my mouth water. It is, however, a little pricey (like all theme parks) so be warned.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay dragon fire grill in pantopia with scorpion roller coaster in the background.

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.

Sheikra Busch Gardens Red and Blue Roller Coaster with white wine.
Sheikra Busch Gardens and Wine

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?

According to Busch Gardens:

No outside food, beverages, or coolers are allowed to be brought into Busch Garden Tampa Bay, except you may bring a bottle of water or a refillable water bottle. Exceptions may be made for Guests with special dietary needs, including food allergies and baby food/formula.

Read Next: 5 Fun Things to Do in Tampa (for ONE price) with CityPASS

My Final Thoughts on the Scorpion Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa

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.

Is Scorpion Roller Coaster a scary ride at Busch Gardens Tampa
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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!

Hoop Dee Doo Revue NikkyJ Dinner Show Disney World. Author bio of theme park expert Nikida Metellus.

About the Author

My name is Nikky. I’m a wife, a mother, a pharmacist turned theme park blogger, USA Today 10Best Contributor, and a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related!

Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.

Connect with me on Instagram!

UP NEXT: Your Perfect Itinerary for Doing Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in ONE DAY!

(Original Article Date: October 29, 2020/Updated on February 15, 2024)

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