Winter Haven is known for it’s many lakes and beautiful scenery. With a population of just under 40,000 residents, this is the second most populated area within Polk County. Winter Haven is located in the heart of central Florida making it an easy drive to Tampa & Orlando. However, the 40 square miles of land gives both the residents and visitors plenty of choices for raising a family, employment opportunities, downtown shopping and non stop entertainment. The Chain of Lakes has been a landmark in Polk County since 1915 and is popular for both, waterfront living and water sport activities. Whether you are just visiting the area, you are a snowbird or you are a permanent resident, there is plenty of things to do to keep you busy.
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History of Winter Haven, Florida. The Orange Dome, that was located at 150 Cypress Gardens Blvd., was built in 1964 and housed the Citrus Festival for 44 years. It was demolished Monday, February 13, 2012 to make way for The Landings, a $150 million mixed-use development that will include retail stores, restaurants, hotels, apartments and a new movie theater to be built at the Chain of Lakes Complex. Winter Haven had also lost another attraction just s few years earlier in 2009. Cypress Gardens, the park that really helped to put Winter Haven on the map, announced its closing. However, the following year, it was announced that the former site of Cypress Gardens would become Legoland Florida, the second Legoland park in the United States, and the largest in the world. It opened on October 15, 2011 and helped to keep Winter Haven on the tourist map.In January 2012, just 3 months after opening, Legoland Florida announced the addition of a water park by May 2012. The former Splash Island water park reopened as Legoland Florida Water Park on May 26, 2012. Winter Haven Hospital was founded in 1926 and still remains today. Florida’s potential as a place to live and a place to visit was first realized in the 1920s, but the Great Depression slowed growth in Florida until after World War II. On September 6, 1930, 22-year-old George Jenkins opened the very first Publix Food Store on Fourth Street, NW on the park downtown. Shortly after in 1936, Dick and Julie Pope created history with the opening of Cypress Gardens!