[quote]The most exciting thing about this is it makes the gardens whole again.” — Cypress Gardens historian Bob Gernert. [/quote]
Winter Haven, FL, USA — In a blending of old and new, LEGOLAND Florida paid tribute to the heritage of Cypress Gardens during a ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen the Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens. With elected officials and community leaders in attendance, General Manager Adrian Jones and Bob Gernert, former Winter Haven Chamber Executive Director and Cypress Gardens historian, led the unveiling Wednesday morning.
Former Cypress Gardens southern belles in their billowing dresses and the LEGO belles, now iconic in the gardens, greeted guests to the event. The Florida Pool was filled with brightly-colored floating LEGO brick and the perimeter was adorned with fresh Florida citrus, paying homage to the iconic citrus photos made famous by Dick Pope, Sr. during the mid-1900s.
Beginning March 6, guests are welcome to enjoy these restored areas. The gardens are an integral part of LEGOLAND Florida, adding to the already exciting line up of more than 50 family-friendly rides. From pink knuckle roller coasters to live action shows and attractions, LEGOLAND Water Park, opening April 12th, and the all-new LEGO World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network, there are offerings for all generations.
“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.
Florida’s first ever theme park, Cypress Gardens became famous for its botanical gardens, southern belles and was known as the Water Ski Capitol of the World from the 1930s through the 1960s. Cypress Gardens secured national recognition as the film site for a multitude of movies and TV shows. The Florida Pool was originally built as a set for the 1953 film, “Easy to Love”, starring Esther Williams.
Now nestled in the center of the park, LEGOLAND Florida has taken great care to restore the beautiful and historic botanical gardens to pristine condition. The collection of native plants, including azaleas and camellias, have been reclaimed and combined with a range of exotic species to create a horticultural masterpiece. The breathtaking Banyan Tree, planted in 1939 as a seedling, still stands prominent within the gardens.
“It makes it exactly what it was when Mr. and Mrs. Pope put the concept together so many years ago,” said Gernert.