Cypress Gardens celebrates 80 years of Old Florida charm

by Banks Lee

Cypress Gardens Legoland Florida

Though Legoland Florida has only been around for a few years, the Cypress Gardens area inside the park has been there for much longer and is celebrating its 80th year.

Dick Pope Sr. was a man with a vision. Where others saw swampland, he imagined a tropical wonderland as a showcase of the world’s natural beauty. On a marshy tract of land adjacent to Polk County’s placid Lake Eloise, he created Cypress Gardens, an area of exotic flowers, plants and trees Pope imported from globe-trotting travels with his wife, Julie.

Dedicated by Florida’s governor in January 1935, the gardens formally opened Jan. 2, 1936, with visitors paying 25 cents apiece to tour its winding, cypress-block pathways. Over the years that followed, Cypress Gardens drew millions of visitors to Florida for its tranquil splendor and water ski shows, among them movie stars, TV legends, beauty queens, royalty and world-class athletes.

Today, eight decades later, kids can discover the historic botanical gardens’ many charms around every tree-shaded corner, from the famous gazebo to the mammoth banyan tree. All preserved and maintained by the horticulturalists of Legoland Florida Resort for the enjoyment of children for generations to come.

See the 2014 reopening of the Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens areas of Cypress Gardens in our video below:

Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens reopen at Legoland Florida's Cypress Gardens

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