Cypress Gardens: Wikis

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Coordinates: 27°58′43″N 81°39′32″W / 27.97851°N 81.65875°W / 27.97851; -81.65875

Cypress Gardens
Location Winter Haven, Florida, United States United States
Website cypressgardens.com
Owner Landsouth Holdings
Opened 1936
Closed 2009
Previous names Cypress Gardens Adventure Park
Operating season Year-round
Rides 41 total
  • 5 roller coasters
  • 2 water rides

Cypress Gardens was an American theme park near Winter Haven, Florida, that operated from 1936 to 2009.

Contents

History

Cypress Gardens opened on January 2, 1936, as a botanical garden planted by Dick and Julie Pope. Over the years, it became one of the biggest attractions in Florida, known for its water ski shows, lush gardens, and Southern Belle models.

It became known as the "Water Ski Capital of the World" because many of the sport's landmark firsts and the over 50 world records broken there. Numerous movies were filmed at the park, including portions 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. With their addition of a custom photography boat named Miss Cover Girl in the early 1960s, the park became a popular site for the filming of television commercials.

Competition for guests increased after Walt Disney World Resort opened nearby in 1971. In the early 1980s, the Popes retired and transferred the park to their son, Dick Pope, Jr.

In the 1980s, book publisher Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich purchased the park along with SeaWorld, Circus World (later rebuilt as Boardwalk & Baseball) and Stars Hall of Fame, but sold most of the businesses to Anheuser-Busch in 1989. Busch continued to operate Cypress Gardens until April 1, 1995, when a group of the park's managers led by Bill Reynolds bought the property.

Under President and CEO Reynolds, the park operated until April 13, 2003, when it closed after a prolonged tourism decline following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 529 people were put out of work with three days' notice. Immediately the Friends of Cypress Gardens, founded and led by Burma Davis Posey, was incorporated. They enlisted members in all 50 of the United States and in 27 countries. Within three and a half months, the grass-roots effort raised USD 13,500,000 and saved the park.

On February 22, 2004, Adventure Parks Group, owned by Kent Buescher, purchased the property and renamed it Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. The purchase of the amusement park portion of the Cypress Gardens property was part of a larger conservation transaction. In that transaction, the entire 150-acre (61 ha) site was purchased from its previous owner, First Gardens, L.C., by The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization [1]. TPL then sold a conservation easement over the entire property to the state of Florida, while Polk County, purchased the 30-acre (12 ha) gardens portion of the property, less the development rights conveyed in the state easement. Adventure Parks Group purchased the balance of the property, also subject to the conservation easement.

Buescher's plan to reopen the park in September 2004 was delayed by damages created by hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. Cypress Gardens Adventure Park finally opened in November 2004. One of its new attractions, the Triple Hurricane roller coaster, was named for the tumultuous storm season. The adjacent Splash Island water park opened in 2005, along with the Galaxy Spin roller coaster.

In September 2006, Adventure Parks Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the Florida site following approximately $30 million in damages sustained by the 2004 hurricanes.

Land South Adventures, a subsidiary of Mulberry, Florida-based Land South Holdings, purchased Cypress Gardens at a bankruptcy auction on October 16, 2007, for $16.9 million, leaving Buescher as interim manager until Baker Leisure Group of Orlando, Florida, took over park operations in January 2008.[1]

Many celebrities and dignitaries have skied and visited at the park, including Elvis Presley, Jordan's former King Hussein and his son and successor, King Abdullah II. It was also the site of a Johnny Carson special.

On Monday, November 10, 2008, Land South Holdings announced the temporary closure of the park, which was shut down November 17 of that year. It reopened on March 28, 2009, with an expanded water park named Splash Island. The animals, however, were gone, and the rides did not operate or had already been removed. Cypress Gardens and Splash Island began separate ticketing, with dual-park season pass also available; parking was free.[2]

Based on a visual confirmation in September 2009, all of the roller coasters except for Fiesta Express were still at Cypress Gardens but were not operating. An employee working there stated that the remaining roller coasters and rides left at the park were to be sold.

On September 23, 2009, owner Land South Holdings LLC announced that the park was closing immediately, saying that all avenues to keep the park open had been explored but that they were unable to find a way to "keep the park running in its traditional form." [3]

On January 15, 2010, it was reported that that Merlin Entertainments had bought the Cypress Gardens site arose, with an announcement to follow on January 21, 2010.[4]

Attractions

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Roller coasters

The Triple Hurricane, the park's first wooden roller coaster.
Ride Year Opened Year Closed Description
Fiesta Express 2004 2008 A Zamperla kiddie coaster with small hairpin turns.
Okeechobee Rampage 2004 2008 A Vekoma junior roller coaster.
Swamp Thing 2004 2008 A Vekoma Family Suspended roller coaster.
Triple Hurricane 2004 2008 Martin & Vleminckx Group junior wooden coaster. Named for the three hurricanes (Charley, Frances, and Jeanne) that struck the park in 2004. It is an ACE Coaster Classic.[5]
Galaxy Spin 2005 2008 Zamperla Spinning Wild Mouse coaster, similar to Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Starliner 2007 2008 A classic Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters designed wooden coaster. Originally operated at the Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Thrill rides

Ride Year Opened Year Closed Description
Delta Kite Flyers 2004 2008 Zamperla Kite Flyer flat ride, riders are spun around while in a flying position.
Disk'O 2004 2008 Zamperla Disk'O flat ride, riders spin around on a frisbee traversing a track.
Pharaoh's Fury 2004 2008 Chance Rides Swinging Ship flat ride.
Power Surge 2004 2008 Zamperla Power Surge flat ride, a large spinning and flipping flat ride.
Thunderbolt 2004 2008 An ARM tower ride, similar to Power Tower at Cedar Point.
Yo-Yo 2004 2008 Chance Rides "Yo-Yo" flat ride, a circular "wave swinger" type flat ride.

Gallery

References

See also

External links


Simple English

Cypress Gardens is a theme park near Winter Haven, Florida in the United States.

Contents

History

Cypress Gardens opened on January 2, 1936 as a flower garden planted by Dick and Julie Pope. Over the years, it became one of the biggest attractions in Florida, known for its water ski shows, nice gardens, and Southern Belle models.

It became known as the "Water Ski Capital of the World" because many of the sport's major "firsts" and over 50 world records were broken there. Many movies have been filmed at the park, including parts of "This is Cinerama," the first feature filmed in that wide-screen format, and several of Esther Williams films and TV specials in the 1950s and 1960s. With their addition of a custom photography boat named Miss Cover Girl in the early 1960s, the park became a popular site for the filming of television commercials.

Competition for guests increased after the Walt Disney World Resort opened nearby in 1971. In the early 1980s, the Popes retired and gave the park to their son, Dick Pope Jr.

In the 1980s, book publisher Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich bought the park along with SeaWorld, Circus World (later rebuilt as Boardwalk & Baseball) and Stars Hall of Fame, but sold most of the businesses to Anheuser-Busch in 1989. Busch continued to run Cypress Gardens until April 1, 1995, when a group of the park's managers led by Bill Reynolds bought the property.

Under President and CEO Reynolds, the park ran until April 13, 2003, when it closed after a long tourism decline following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 529 people were put out of work with only three days notice.

Right away the Friends of Cypress Gardens, started and led by Burma Davis Posey, was founded. They enrolled members in all 50 states and 27 countries. Within three and a half months, this grass-roots effort raised $13,500,000 and saved the park.

On February 22, 2004, Adventure Parks Group, owned by Kent Buescher, bought the property and renamed it Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. The purchase of the amusement park portion of the Cypress Gardens property was part of a larger conservation agreement. In that agreement, the entire 150-acre (61 ha) site was bought from its previous owner, First Gardens, L.C., by The Trust for Public Land, a nation wide conservation group [1]. TPL then sold a conservation access over the entire property to the state of Florida, while Polk County purchased the 30-acre (12 ha) gardens portion of the property, less the development rights conveyed in the state agreement. Adventure Parks Group purchased the balance of the property, also subject to the conservation agreement.

Buescher's plan to reopen the park in September 2004 was delayed by damages created by hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. Cypress Gardens Adventure Park finally opened in November 2004. One of its new rides, the Triple Hurricane roller coaster, was named for the fierce storm season. The Splash Island water park opened in 2005, along with the Galaxy Spin roller coaster.

In September 2006, Adventure Parks Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the Florida site following approximately $30 million in damages sustained by the 2004 hurricanes.

Land South Adventures, a branch of Mulberry, Florida-based Land South Holdings, bought Cypress Gardens at a bankruptcy auction on October 16, 2007 for $16.9 million, leaving Buescher as temporary manager until Baker Leisure Group of Orlando, Florida took over running the park in January 2008.[1]

Many celebrities have skied and visited at the park, including Elvis Presley, Jordan's former King Hussein and his son, King Abdullah II. It was also the site of a Johnny Carson special.

On Monday, November 10, 2008, Land South Holdings announced the temporary closure of the park, which was shut down November 17 of that year. It reopened on March 28, 2009 with an expanded water park, named Splash Island. The rides and animals, however, were gone. The reopening prices were reduced. Cypress Gardens and Splash Island now have separate ticketing, though seasonal passes are available. Parking is now free.[2]

Attractions

Roller coasters

Ride Year Opened Year Closed Description
Fiesta Express 2004 2008 A Zamperla kiddie coaster with small hairpin turns.
Okeechobee Rampage 2004 2008 A Vekoma junior roller coaster.
Swamp Thing 2004 2008 A Vekoma Family Suspended roller coaster.
Triple Hurricane 2004 2008 Martin & Vleminckx Group junior wooden coaster. Named for the three hurricanes (Charley, Frances, and Jeanne) that hit the park in 2004. It is an ACE Coaster Classic.[3]
Galaxy Spin 2005 2008 Zamperla Spinning Wild Mouse coaster, like the Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Starliner 2007 2008 A classic Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters designed wooden coaster. Originally ran at the Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Thrill rides

Ride Year Opened Year Closed Description
Delta Kite Flyers 2004 2008 Zamperla Kite Flyer flat ride, riders are spun around while in a flying position.
Disk'O 2004 2008 Zamperla Disk'O flat ride, riders spin around on a frisbee crossing a track.
Pharaoh's Fury 2004 2008 Chance Rides Swinging Ship flat ride.
Power Surge 2004 2008 Zamperla Power Surge flat ride, a large spinning and flipping flat ride.
Thunderbolt 2004 2008 An ARM tower ride, like the Power Tower at Cedar Point.
Yo-Yo 2004 2008 Chance Rides "Yo-Yo" flat ride, a circular "wave swinger" type flat ride.

References

Other websites


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