Long before kids could create their own LEGO models, play in a land of LEGOS and marvel at the LEGO displays throughout the park, LEGOLAND Florida was Cypress Gardens, a serene and lush botanical garden that was known for its water ski shows and Southern Belles.
Cypress Gardens was billed as Florida’s first commercial tourist theme park when it opened on January 2, 1936. As the park grew, it became one of the most popular attractions in Florida and was eventually called the “Water Ski Capital of the World” due to the fact that it was the site of many of the sport’s landmark firsts and over 50 world records were broken there. Numerous movies and television specials were also filmed at the gardens including portions of “This is Cinema,” and a slew of Esther Williams films and TV specials in the 1950s and 1960s. Also in the 1950s, Cypress Gardens introduced its Southern Belle attraction where young women dressed in the crinolines reminiscent of the Antebellum South to greet guests throughout the park.
Despite it’s nearly 75 years of success, Cypress Gardens’ owners announced it would be closing immediately in September of 2009. A year later, Merlin Entertainment bought Cypress Gardens and turned it into what we now know as LEGOLAND Florida. But even tough Cypress Gardens is gone does not mean it’s been forgotten. Guests can still experience the gardens in LEGOLAND Florida’s Cypress Gardens experience.
LEGOLAND Florida has taken great care in preserving the historic gardens that were established on the grounds of Cypress Gardens. Today, guests can still walk through the gorgeous flowers and landscapes that lured in thousands of visitors throughout the years. And in true LEGOLAND fashion there are a few LEGO displays paying tribute to the original theme park.
While there may not be actual Southern Belles roaming the park or ski shows in the lake, LEGOLAND Florida has re-created what Cypress Gardens guests may have experienced on any given day in the park. Guests walking past the lake can witness five LEGO characters skiing just like the famous Cypress Gardens skiers used to. There is also a LEGO hippo flashing his giant teeth, which is a recreation of a hippo in the zoo section of Cypress Gardens. And away from the water and situated in the gardens is a stunning Cypress Gardens Topiary Band greeting guests. And as you enter the area of the park, there is even a Cypress Gardens sign that LEGOLAND Florida put up after they opened in 2011.
To experience the gardens that once used to be one of the most popular attractions in Florida look for discounted LEGOLAND Florida tickets right here on Orlando Fun Tickets. And don’t forget to enjoy the family-friendly Halloween event Brick-Or-Treat every Saturday and Sunday in October!