Cheetah Hunt is a steel launched roller coaster currently open and operating at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. It opened to the public on May 27, 2011 alongside a new cheetah exhibit - Cheetah Run.
Before the ride was officially announced, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay ran a teaser campaign which slowly revealed details of the attraction across Summer 2010. Five teaser videos were released which featured cut scenes of the ride's point of view video. The attraction was officially announced on October 13, 2010 by park president, Jim Dean. Construction of the ride began almost immediately. By November 18, some supports for the ride were already in place. By mid December, the supports for the 102-foot (31 m) tall figure 8 element were complete with some pieces of track also installed. Cheetah Hunt was named the 2nd Best New Ride for 2011 by the Golden Ticket Awards.
Cheetah Hunt is an Intamin launched steel roller coaster. The ride's station is located in the former monorail station which was decommissioned in the 1990s. Guests board one of five, 16 passenger trains. The ride begins with a 30-mile-per-hour (48 km/h) launch out of the station and around a wide left turn followed by a gradual dip before approaching the second launch. This launch accelerates riders to their top speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) before climbing an 102-foot (31 m) hill. A figure 8 element is located at the top of this hill where riders weave through a series of helixes before dropping 130 feet (40 m) into a trench. Riders then proceed over a directional changing airtime hill before completing the ride's only inversion, a Heartline roll. Upon exiting the barrel-roll and its subsequent brake run (the only one on the ride), the ride remains low to the ground and goes through a series of short banked turns through a rock fixture simulating several "near misses". This leads the ride into its third and final launch which accelerates riders to a speed of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) to navigate its way back to the station. During the journey back there is airtime and directionally changing hills, before entering the final brake run.
This ride is inspired by cheetahs. To go alongside Cheetah Hunt, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also opened an animal exhibit called Cheetah Run. The exhibit features glass-paneled viewing areas which allow visitors to watch the world's fastest land animal sprinting across plains. In late January 2011, five cheetahs arrived on site in preparation for the opening of the exhibit. Educational touch screen panels complete the exhibit.