ORLANDO, Fla. – Many people associate Orlando with theme parks and roller coasters, but there’s a new thrilling attraction in Central Florida. Tank America will get you in the driver’s seat of a 17-ton military tank.
News 6 meteorologist Samara Cokinos spent some time in the hatch of a tank, navigating the half-mile course with obstacles including ditches, trenches and hills.
“It was wild, honestly. It was a little intimidating at first. Once I got the feeling of the gears, I got the hang of it,” Samara said.
The experience starts with a safety and informational class before rolling out to the 14-acre attraction.
Tank America has nine British tanks in its fleet, the driver’s side on the right. Customers are assisted by military veterans.
“We have a number of marine corps and Army veterans, some of which did maintenance, repair work and recovery on tanks while they served and those are the folks in the vehicles with you,” owner John Kinney said.
The experience brought up memories of Samara’s grandfather, James Ownby, and his time in the Army.
“My grandfather drove tanks in WWII,” Samara said. “It’s just a cool experience to put yourself in the driver’s seat. I can’t imagine what it’s like being in combat and trying to think about driving this thing.”
Kinney said the attraction originally opened in Melbourne in 2017, but moved to Orlando in 2022 to be closer to the theme park tourist hub. They built the course and maintain all of the tanks.
“We’re getting about 9 miles per gallon on certain tanks. There is quite a bit of repair and maintenance work to keep these things in good working condition for our customers,” Kinney said.
Kinney said it’s the car crush that attracts many of his customers.
“It’s always a crowd favorite when you see a tank crushing a car and the glass goes popping,” Kinney said.
“It gives you this rush of adrenaline,” Samara said.
You will get a bit muddy on this course, so dress comfortably.
“You’ve got to wear closed toed shoes, that’s our only requirement. We’ll teach you how to drive and everything else you need to know,” Kinney said.
“How many people, besides the military, can say, ‘I drove a tank today.’ This is going to be great dinner conversation,” Samara said.
The basic package to drive a tank through the course at Tank America will run you about $350. You must be 16 or older to operate the tank at the attraction.
You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below: