Busch Gardens: Good Friends, Good Physics

by Patrick McGucken, Class of 2015

Next to the Grand Tour, the junior’s field trip to Busch Gardens is the most anticipate event of the Westminster experience. The trip allows students to ride some world class roller coasters in Florida, bond together as a class, and see some of our physics lesson put to use in real world applications.

The trip began on Thursday, December, 5, 2013 when our class began the ten hour drive down to Tampa, Florida. By the time we arrived, most of us were ready to ride. After spending a night learning about the physics behind some of these coasters, we woke up the next morning to go into the park. The class spent the entire next day riding roller coasters in the park and making some great memories.

One of my favorite roller coasters was named Kumba, a fourteen story tall steel coaster known for its ferocious roar as the cart speeds through the track. Located in the back of the park, Kumba can be heard and seen from most anywhere in the park. Kumba provides the riders with seven inversions and a max g-force of 3.8. To put this in perspective, the G’s felt on this ride are roughly double that felt by the crew during the space shuttle’s launch.


Another great coaster that all of us enjoyed was Cheetah Hunt. Cheetah Hunt is the newest of the coasters and is known for its 60mph launch and its zero G’s barrel roll. The purpose of Cheetah Hunt is to resemble what it feels like to be a cheetah hunting its prey. The coaster is fast and smooth with banked curves resembling the tail of the cheetah. The coaster is a great ride for both thrill seekers, and not so enthusiastic coaster riders. Cheetah Hunt provides a fun, high paced ride that gives the riders a feel for being a cheetah.

I personally, have both a love and fear of roller coasters. I like to ride coasters, but I still get nervous before I ride any one, and have even talked myself out on some of them. Without the encouragement of my classmates I probably would have not ridden any of the coasters at Busch Gardens.

The bonding during the trip is what made it so memorable to me, going alone just would not have been the same. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the coasters along side my friends, and having the opportunity to make some great memories along the way. The trip to Busch Gardens provided the class with an opportunity not just to learn, but to get closer as a class and have a good time. I would recommend to any upcoming Junior to strongly consider going on this trip, even if you do not like roller coasters. There is a lot more to get out of it than you might realize. Overall, this trip to Busch Gardens was a wonderful opportunity, and the memories that my friends and I made will last for the rest of our lives.

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