Founded in 1936 by Dick and Julie Pope, Cypress Gardens
became the birthplace of performance water skiing in 1941. Over the decades, the park
has gone through a tremendous amount of changes. Initially, Cypress Gardens was
run by the Pope family until 1985 when it was purchased by book publisher
Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich (HBJ). Just four years later, Busch
Entertainment Corporation, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch Companies, purchased
Cypress Gardens, Sea World, and Circus World. Cypress was spun off in 1995 to
a private partnership led by Bill Reynolds. Declining attendance forced
the park to close in April 2003. A year later, the park was purchased and reopened by Kent Buescher, owner of Wild Adventures in
Georgia. Land South Adventures, LLC,
purchased the park in 2007 after it was hit by three hurricanes and filed for bankruptcy. The Baker Leisure Group took over the management in
(formerly Cypress Gardens Adventure Park)
Winter Haven, Florida
In November 2008, the park was closed for a major
renovation. The park reopened in March 2009 with a water park
and the original botanical gardens,
but the animals were gone and the roller coasters and rides were in the process of
being removed. The park closed yet again in September 2009. After
months in limbo, Cypress Gardens was sold to Merlin Entertainments and later reopened as Legoland
Florida in October 2011. Like the other Lego parks, the name is often capitalized as LEGOland Florida or LEGOLAND Florida.
After the park switched over to Legoland, three coasters were removed (see below for pictures and more information):
Fiesta Express (2004-2008) operated at Gillian's Funland and Gillian's Wonderland Pier from 2009 to 2011, but it is now Fiesta
Express at Austin's Park N Pizza.
Galaxy Spin (2005-2008) sat until April 2010. It was then moved a little north and became Power Trip Coaster, and later the
at Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee, Florida.
Starliner (2007-2008) only ran for a year after it was relocated to Cypress Gardens. It was torn down in 2010.
Dragon (formerly Okeechobee Rampage)
Flying School (formerly Swamp Thing)
Coastersaurus (formerly Triple Hurricane)
Great LEGO Race
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