Legoland Florida paid tribute today 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 greeted guests at the event. Fir the opening, 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.
Legoland guests are now welcome to enjoy these restored areas. The gardens are an integral part of Legoland Florida, adding to the line up of more than 50 family-friendly rides.
“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 restored 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. The Banyan Tree, planted in 1939 as a seedling, still stands prominent within the gardens.
“The most exciting thing about this is it makes the gardens whole again,” said Gernert. “It makes it exactly what it was when Mr. and Mrs. Pope put the concept together so many years ago.”
Cypress Gardens is included with general Legoland park admission. For the most current information on special events, daily operating hours and to purchase tickets, visit Legoland.com.
For a report and interviews from the ribbon cutting, watch the March 6, 2014 episode of Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show.