Cypress Gardens first opened in 1936. The park started out as botanical gardens planted by the Pope family. Water ski shows were added and became a popular attraction. The park is known for the Southern Belles dressed in their finest, strolling along the garden paths. This park was very popular, until Disney World and other parks began to open in the Orlando area. After this, attendance at the gardens began to decline.
The park closed in 2003, due to financial difficulties. The park was purchased by a new owner and redesigned in 2004. It reopened in November of that year. Many new attractions were added, but the original charm was retained. The Southern Belles can still be found strolling the paths around the gardens.
There are thirty rides and five roller coasters in the park. This includes the Triple Hurricane wooden roller coaster. This is a short ride that is not too scary. It is the calmest coaster in the park and is perfect for your childs first experience on a real roller coaster. The Fiesta Express is another roller coaster that is good for kids.
The other three coasters are faster, longer and more exciting. The Swamp Thing is a suspended coaster. The Galaxy Spin is a spinning wild mouse type roller coaster. The Okeechobee Rampage is a roller skater coaster. Another coaster is under construction at the park. The Starliner is a classic wooden roller coaster. This coaster was originally located in Panama City, Florida at the Miracle Strip Amusement Park, which closed. It is currently being constructed and is planned to open in 2007.
Cypress Gardens is famous for its gardens. The park is home to amazing gardens and horticultural displays. A holiday display can be seen from Thanksgiving through January 6 of each year. A Poinsettia Festival is held at the park during the Christmas season. There are also a variety of great water skiing shows held daily in the park.
There are a variety of specialty shops for shopping in the park. Many of these contain beautiful hand made crafts made by local craftsmen. Spend some time browsing in the shops and enjoying the crafts. This is a great place to pick up a stunning and unique souvenir of your trip or gift for family or friends.
Splash Island Water Park is part of Cypress Gardens. You get admission to both parks with one ticket. This water park has a wave pool, lazy river ride and slides. The park has a Polynesian theme. There are water rides for younger children, older kids and adults. This is a great place to cool off in the hot Florida summer.
Admission to the park includes access to the gardens, rides, shows, concerts and admission to the water park. The concerts vary throughout the year. Call to find out who is playing when you plan to visit. There are specials allowing you to enjoy two days for the price of one. Ask about this when you purchase your tickets.