Cypress Gardens – All About Polk County
Cypress Gardens, once known as the “Water Ski Capital of the World” opened on January 2, 1936 by Dick Pope Senior. In its early years, Cypress Gardens was a botanical garden but later became one of the biggest attractions in the State of Florida. It is known as being billed as the first commercial theme park in the state. Over the next thirty years of opening, Cypress Gardens was known for its water ski shows, southern belles, movie productions and tv specials that were produced at the park. It became known as the “Water Ski Capital of the World” because it was the site of many of the sport’s landmark firsts and over 50 world records were broken there.
Numerous movies were filmed at the park, including parts of This is Cinerama, the first feature filmed in the wide-screen format, and a string of Esther Williams films and TV specials in the 1950s and 1960s. Many celebrities and dignitaries have skied and visited at the park, including Elvis Presley, King Hussein of Jordan and his son and successor, King Abdullah II. It was also the site of a Johnny Carson special!
There have been many changes over the past 75 plus years and what we all called Cypress Gardens, which closed in 2009, is now Legoland. In January of 2010, the world’s second largest theme park and attraction operator Merlin Entertainments bought Cypress Gardens with intent to use the site for the fifth Legoland.
Opening day occurred on October 15, 2011. Legoland Florida is the world’s largest Legoland park.The park preserved the botanical garden from Cypress Gardens but updated the theme and water park , along with the roller coasters to the new Lego theme. Legoland is a must for all residents and visitors of Polk County, Florida. With over 50 rides, shows and attractions, Legoland Florida is sure to please everyone.