Quick, what was the first theme park in America? While Disneyland in Anaheim was the first theme park, in the way that we think about theme parks today, it actually wasn’t. In 1936 Dick and Julie Pope opened a botanical gardens in Central Florida that would become the home of many Hollywood productions, and put Central Florida on the map for tourism. The gardens quickly grew and became a full fledged theme park with a ski show. Over the years, Cypress Gardens would change hands and fall into ruin, but now, Legoland Florida has brought back the iconic gardens to their original state and is hoping to bring the enjoyment of the gardens to younger generations, as well as walk down memory lane for the older generations.
This past Thursday, Legoland Florida opened the last two remaining pieces of the legendary Cypress Gardens. The gardens are but one part of what is now Legoland Florida, and is an iconic piece of Florida history. The Gardens had to go through several repairs after years of decay from not being properly maintained. It was something that Legoland Florida took seriously when it opened the park, and remained committed to the rich history of the park.
The iconic Florida pool has reopened, and will remain as an iconic piece of history. The pool was constructed for the 1953 film “Easy to Love” starring Esther Williams.
“We have taken great care to restore and maintain the historic Cypress Gardens since our opening in 2011 and we are thrilled to reopen such beloved areas as the Florida Pool and the Oriental Gardens for guests of all ages to enjoy,” said Adrian Jones, LEGOLAND Florida General Manager.
The Oriental Gardens also have reopened, in all their splendor. These last two pieces have been closed to the public since the opening of Legoland Florida in 2011, and will continue to be improved upon as time goes on.
Video-Legoland General Manager Adrian Jones talks about bringing Cypress Gardens back to life
There will be more additions to Cypress Gardens, including more Lego elements. While this may seem a bit sacrilegious to some, it’s actually a brilliant move on Legoland’s part. The Lego elements will give children the incentive to pull away from the rides and attractions in the park, and introduce them to the gorgeous Cypress Gardens section of the park.
Slideshow-See more pictures from Legoland Florida’s Cypress Gardens
The Florida Pool will remain as an attraction, but don’t expect it to be used as anything but a photo op anytime soon. We are still holding out for a life sized Lego Version of Esther Williams and an army of synchronized swimmers. Still, other improvements include the possible re-opening of the Cypress Gardens canals. The canals would take guests on voyages deep into the gardens by boat. Since the park changed hands, many of the canals have become unstable and not usable. It is something that could return in the next few years.
Stay tuned for more from Legoland Florida, and be sure to follow along with us on Facebook.com/BehindThrills for the latest updates.