Cypress Gardens Adventure Park

Winter Haven, Florida, USA

Existed as ride park 2004 to 2008

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Opened in 1936 by Dick and Julie Pope, Cypress Gardens was central Florida's original theme park.

After leaving the Pope family in 1985, the park went through a series of ownership changes until declining attendance forced the park to close its doors in 2003.

Reopened in 2004 by Kent Buescher, owner of Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, GA, after a complex deal between his Adventure Parks Group and the State of Florida, Cypress Gardens Adventure Park tried to meld the traditional gardens and ski show model with ride and water parks. The Adventure Park section would eventually include a wide variety of rides including 2 wood tracked roller coasters, the junior sized Triple Hurricane, and the Starliner, a classic John Allen/PTC coaster rescued from Miracle Strip in Panama City FL.

A bad hurricane season and tanked economy later, the company was forced to declare bankruptcy and sell the park in 2007.

At the end of 2008, the latest owners, Land South Adventures (a subsidiary of Land South Holdings), decided to remove all rides, run the water parks separately, and return Cypress Gardens to it's roots - a beautiful botanical garden and world famous ski show.

As of March 1, 2009 the fate of the park's wood coasters was still unknown.

In January 2010 Merlin Entertainments Group announced that they had purchased the park and would transform it into Legoland Florida. Merlin plans to keep the historical gardens, and the water ski shows and one of its two wooden roller coasters are expected to remain. The popular Splash Island Waterpark become a separate, ticketed admission.

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Internal Links

ATRA News January 21, 2010:
Merlin Officially Unveils Plans For Legoland Florida!

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External Links

Cypress Gardens current park home page
Cypress Gardens "Florida's First Theme Park"
Friends of Cypress Gardens
Yesterland Side Trip: Cypress Gardens
Cypress Gardens - includes news on the park

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NOTE: Links are for information only - ATRA is not responsible for the content of external links
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© Copyright 2010 ATRA: American Thrill Ride Association - all rights reserved.

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