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Pictures of the beautiful Cypress Gardens in Florida
Beautiful Garden in Florida
This post will show many pictures of the beautiful Cypress Gardens in Florida that my mother and I got to enjoy one year while on vacation.
Hope you enjoy them half as much as we did in taking the photos and strolling through the gardens.
We were making our way on over to Florida from Houston to visit my aunt and uncle and did some sightseeing along the way.
After leaving Tarpon Springs "the sponge capitol of the world" and a very interesting Greek influenced town in Florida, my mother and I decided that we had enough time to visit the renowned and beautiful Cypress Gardens before we would be expected to arrive at my aunt and uncle's home.
Cypress Gardens opened in 1936 and was visited by my grandparents along with many other people over the course of numerous passing years.
It was the oldest operating tourist attraction in Florida which is a state filled to the brim with other tourist attractions.
Dick and Julie Pope were the founders and owners for many years until it was finally sold in 1985.
Julie had a "green thumb" and with her involvement over 8,000 varieties of plants were showcased in this scenic garden with waterways and cypress trees adorning this distinctive piece of land.
In 1938 electric boats were added to take the touring visitors through the gardens via this mode of transportation.
The water ski shows became a part of this evolving attraction in 1943.
When my mother and I saw it in March of 1998, Ski Xtreme was advertised with water skiers forming a human pyramid culminating the performance.
Every type of acrobatic showmanship was shown including jumps off of a ramp and other fast moving entertainment to make for a very enjoyable and memorable water show.
Young girls adorned like Southern Bells in hoop skirted colorful dresses graced the gardens adding even more pizazz to the already beautiful sight.
Other young women could rent these hoop dresses in all types of colors for photo opportunities and we saw several families taking pictures of their young daughters dressed in this attire.
Topiary at Cypress Gardens
Besides the botanical gardens, topiary elements were cultivated and punctuate the landscape with fantastic shapes.
This is a gardening art form that takes plenty of tending and constant pruning to keep the desired characters in shape.
The topiary forms we saw included things like cute teddy bear shapes, a horse drawn carriage in which people could actually sit for photos, and a hoop skirted woman that was made to look like she was standing outside near a waterway painting a canvas.
This is just a small example of the many topiaries that graced the grounds when we were visiting.
Animals at Cypress Gardens
A small zoo was also a part of these gardens when we visited there.
One of the pictures that I took was of an animal called a Capybara.
This interesting creature normally lives in marshes and swamps or wooded areas near water in Central & South America. Their diet consists of eating aquatic plants, grains and fruits. They can weigh from 60 to 110 pounds when full grown.
Another photo was of the Patagonian Cavy.
These are rodents that live in the dry grasslands of southern South America. They live on raw vegetables, hay and green matter. They get to be 2 1/2 feet long and nest in burrows. Rapid runners, they can also leap up to 6 feet in the air.
Other birds and animals were also seen and some photos were taken of them as well.
When the Pope family sold Cypress Gardens in 1985, things began to change.
Slowly carnival and adventure rides including things like roller coasters were added. A paddle wheel boat joined the scene in 1999. Splash Island which was a water park was added.
After September 11th, our modern "day of infamy" in the United States, the park was running such a large deficit that it had to be closed.
Today Cypress Gardens has pretty much gone back to its roots. What is being featured once again are the spectacular gardens. The water park called Splash Island is being continued and one can pay separate admission charges to see one or the other.
The adventure rides are being sold off and the zoo animals are being relocated into other good homes. Apparently that is an ongoing project as of the date of this post.
The water ski show will continue to be an attraction according to what I have read but the human pyramid will no longer be a part of the show for cost cutting economic reasons.
Personally I believe that eliminating all of those rides and keeping the quiet beauty of the gardens as the focus will serve Cypress Gardens best in the long run. People can go elsewhere to enjoy an amusement park atmosphere.
I am happy that my grandparents saw it many years ago and that my mother and I got to see it in almost the same condition that many decades later.
Hopefully Cypress Gardens will continue to offer it's gracious southern charm and atmosphere to generations of visitors to central Florida for generations to come. Enjoy the pictures that I took on that sunny day in March of 1988 and leave a comment if you wish. Thanks!
Have you ever visited Cypress Gardens in Florida?
Cypress Gardens is now forever closed and has been replaced by a LegoLand.
Hope that you enjoyed these pictures of what the beautiful Cypress Gardens used to look like in Florida.
Obviously the physical site itself is pretty and there are still gardens, but strolling through them will no longer be the same type of experience. It is like the passing of an era!
Cypress Gardens (now Legoland) near Winter Haven, Florida
While these magnificent gardens are now a part of history, there are other beautiful gardens in Florida that you can still visit. See below.
- Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens Images in Tallahassee, Florida
This "Best Garden in Florida" was viewed by my mother & me when the azaleas & camellias were in full bloom. Once privately owned, this exquisite home, grounds & lake are now a State Park. Photos & videos.
- Beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida
Pictures & videos tell the story of these beautiful botanical gardens in Sarasota. Come along & take a look!
- Images of the Edison and Henry Ford Winter Homes, Gardens and Lab in Fort Myers, Florida
See sausage trees to cycads on impressive estate grounds & vintage Model T's to a stocked lab while learning more about these amazing men. Photos & videos.
© 2009 Peggy Woods