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Cypress Gardens

It is located in Winter Haven, which from my Butterfly and Crystal is west on US 192 to US 27, then south on US 27 to Winter Haven and follow the signs to Cypress Gardens.  Mapquest estimates it is about 37 miles and 45 minutes driving time to Cypress Gardens.  Click the Mapquest Logo for an overview of the area

Cypress Gardens is the early classic theme park that among other things originated the water-ski shows, and its world famous botanical gardens.  I remember my parents taking me there as a child and riding around the canals in an electric boat through the botanical gardens.  The canals and the Florida pool are still there to see, but are not promoted.  For a bit of history on Cypress Gardens and some pictures, check out this link, A SIDE TRIP FROM Yesterland I was there for the Christmas display in about 1998 when it was owned by Anheuser Bush.

The park was closed in 2003 and reopened in 2004 under new ownership.  The new owner added regular headliner performances (included as part of the entrance fee) and some rides to the historic botanical gardens it has long been known for.  The park changed owners again the end of 2007.  See this link for an interview with the new owners.

You can walk the still beautiful grounds, see the young ladies dressed as Southern Belles, see the somewhat newer butterfly conservatory, the newer ice show, and the rides.  Check out the schedule for the headliner performances.

Spring of 2006 I went to Cypress Gardens, attended the more recently added ice show and rode all the new rides, and had a great time.  I was particularly impressed with the “Living Fountain” mini show.  Very laid back, so not for everyone.  There is also a boat ride out onto Lake Eloise, but I didn’t have time to fit that in on my trip.

General admission includes access to all gardens, shows, attractions, rides, scheduled concerts and water park. There are discount for seniors and juniors. The park offers specials like a second day free and combo tickets for Cypress Gardens in Florida and Wild Adventures park in Georgia. Season passes include admission to Wild Adventures in Georgia.

You can purchase tickets in advance from Viator.com. Similar to such advance tickets for the theme parks near Orlando, the price is generally a bit less than the online tickets or at-the-gate tickets available from Cypress Gardens.  Check the following link to Buy direct from Viator.com.

Just a note, the rides are a smaller variety than found at Disney, Sea World, Universal Studios and Bush Gardens.  They’re not as small as the rides you’d find at a shopping center carnival, but definitely somewhat scaled down, i.e., better fitting for youngsters and thinner people.

For more details on current operations of Cypress Gardens, check out their website, which also gives driving directions.  Cypress Gardens




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