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Then It Was Cypress Gardens But Now It Is Legoland

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Disclaimer: I received free entry into Cypress Gardens and did get to take a guest along. All opinions are my own. 

Taking the time to visit the beautiful Cypress Gardens needs to be on your travel bucket list!

Various photos from Cypress Gardens taken in the summer of 2002.

Full of beauty and nature, you’ll be in awe from the moment that you arrive!

Cypress Gardens Is Now Legoland

Cypress Gardens used to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Florida up until the land was purchased by Legoland in 2011.

While Legoland technically owns the area of land, a portion of the botanical gardens from Cypress Gardens remains inside an area of Legoland to this day.

While my visit to the area was when it was still Cypress Gardens, it’s still on my bucket list of must see again botanical gardens even thought it is currently part of Legoland.

If you remember visiting Cypress Gardens when it was still active and able to be toured, you may remember these items and beauty from your visit.

One of the bridges at Cypress Gardens.

Why Cypress Gardens Needs To Remain In Your Memory

Cypress Gardens was created in the middle of a 16-acre marsh in 1932 while Florida was in the grip of the depression.

At the time the area was known as Lake Eloise and the original plan was to pay men a dollar a day to rake leaves to clean the area up and then add a hanging garden.

However the opposition to the project locally became so severe the plan was cancelled and the property was deeded to the Florida Cypress Gardening Association, Inc.

Dick Pope, Senior whose idea it was in the first place to clean the area up and make a garden that people could enjoy continued to work right alongside the laborers in the muck.

His idea was to build a beautiful tropical showcase where the 16-acre marsh currently stood.

During this time he acquired several nicknames including “Maharaja Of Muck” and “Swami Of The Swamp.”

On January 2, 1936 the work was done and the gates opened to the public for the first time.

By 1938 the first electric boats began navigating the tropical canals.

A southern belle at Cypress Gardens.

It Was Referred To As The “Water Ski Capital Of The World”

In 1943, a group water skiers were being pulled by a boat at Cypress Gardens and a local newspaper took photographs.

Several soldiers in the area showed up at Cypress Gardens to see the water show, however at that time, a water show did not exist.

However, Pope’s wife Julie, rounded up their children and friends to stage the parks’ first water ski show.

The following weekend, 800 soldiers showed up to view the water skit show and shortly thereafter Cypress Gardens was dubbed the “water ski capital of the world.”

Water skiers from all over the world as well as celebrities and Hollywood Movie Producers would come to explore the beauty of the pristine blue water found at Cypress Gardens.

Over the years, 50 different world records were set at Cypress Gardens alone!

The Biblical Gardens at Cypress Gardens.

The Location Is Currently On The “National Register Of Historic Places

If you’re a history lover and buff, then you’ll want to make certain to visit and see the plaque proving that Cypress Gardens was, and is, a place to remain in your memory.

Elvis Presley Was No Stranger To Skiing At Cypress Gardens

Due to its popularity, Cypress Gardens often had celebrities and others there testing out the skiing and water sports.

Elvis Presley, Esther Williams, Johnny Carson and Johnny Cash were a few of the popular faces that have graced the grounds a time or two.

A topiary flower basket at Cypress Gardens.

The Grounds At Cypress Gardens Were Maintained To Perfection

While Cypress Gardens was known for its amusement park, the gardens that were located throughout were stunning.

Cypress Gardens is a showcase for over 8,000 varieties of plants from more than 90 different countries.

These  include a shaving brush tree, a sausage tree, exotic palm trees, arrowroots crotons, hibiscus, bananas and many more must see exotic plants.

The gardens are truly picture perfect in every way and perfectly maintained, even the topiaries.

Taking an afternoon stroll through the gardens is pure relaxation.

Of course back then, other must see attractions included the butterfly conservatory, the FloraDome and making sure to visit during the spectacular flower festivals that took place throughout the year.

While Cypress Garden is no longer technically there, you can still visit the portion of their botanical gardens if you choose.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the beauty of Cypress Gardens and all the wonderful memories that it brought to me and my life.

Cypress Gardens is a place I recommend going to see and since it is now part of Legoland, you can  make it a day the whole family will enjoy!

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