http://www.sptimes.com/2006/10/28/Busin ... arde.shtml
TAMPA - The Python - touted as Florida's first looping steel roller coaster - will be quietly retired in a few days and dismantled, ending a 30-year run at Busch Gardens. The black-and-yellow double corkscrew will disappear behind a construction wall when the theme park closes Tuesday.
"It will not run again," said Gerard Hoeppner, park spokesman, confirming a Times report a month ago when the park took out a demolition permit for the area around the Python. "It will be replaced by an experience you won't find anywhere else, but it's going to be 2008 before the construction fences come down. This will be the biggest expansion of an area of the park we have ever done."
The Python opened as a thrill ride, but in today's can-you-top-this environment, it's considered by most coaster fanatics a tame ride down memory lane. Many coaster enthusiasts were introduced to the genre from the Python.
The ride provided enough lift to Busch attendance that the park built six more coasters, if you count Gwazi's twin mirror-image wooden tracks as two coasters.
The Python's unceremonious end comes as Busch begins an overhaul of the Congo area that includes its Claw Island white Tiger exhibit.
After renovating five other African-themed activity centers in the park as well as the parking lots and front gate, Busch officials made it clear the Congo was next for an upgrade . But they've been secretive about what's coming beyond new state-of-art habitats for the tigers and an orangutan displaced by SheiKra, Busch Gardens latest thrill ride.