Today we decided to head down to Winter Haven to experience Cypress Gardens Adventure Park.
Cypress Gardens, which originally opened in 1936, closed in early 2003. It seemed to be a victim of 9/11, which triggered a drastic decline in tourism. However, a new owner stepped up to the plate and reopened it as Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in late 2004 after the park underwent some changes.
Thrill rides were added to the park to increase its younger-crowd appeal. The Botanical Gardens and zoo area (Nature's Way) remained, albeit in a smaller format. In addition, the legendary Ski Show Spectacular and Ice Skating Show also remain, apparently in a scaled-down version according to internet sources.
Well, changes or not, we enjoyed the park and what it had to offer. We met up with Frank and family on a Sunday morning.
Doug, Joyce and Frank get ready for the first drop on Cypress Gardens' newest coaster, the relocated Starliner Coaster. The Starliner debuted in 1963 in Panama City Beach, Florida at Miracle Strip Amusement Park. The park closed in 2004 and the ride was moved to Cypress Gardens where it recently debuted.
Frank came down the Fun Slide so fast he was the first one up and ready to go.
Aron did a little race car driving in the arcade.
This is a view of the Sunshine Sky Adventure from the stands at the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show. We did not get to ride the Sunshine Sky Adventure today but we will soon.
Cypress Gardens is considered to be "The Water Ski Capitol of the World". The Water Ski Show, which originated in 1943, features hang-gliding and traditional skiing, as well as stunt skiing.
Here are the current Aquamaids at Cypress Gardens.
The world famous Water Skiing Pyramid was one of the highlights of the show.
This beautiful waterfall was located near the topiary gardens.
Here's a sample of the topiary in the park.
This model-train display can be found in the Trains, Planes & Automobiles store in the Jubilee Junction section of the park.
Marlon and Frank are awed by the tiny locomotives.
This scene reminded us of Colorado.
This butterfly reminded us that it does not snow here in Florida. We found him (or her) at the Wings of Wonder butterfly garden.
The characters at Cypress Gardens reside in the children's section called "Bugville". Here's one the characters now.
There was another character present at Cypress Gardens today though who could be found at the Star Haven Amphitheatre. That character was 75 year young Mel Tillis.
Here's another young one acting as engineer on the Rio Grande Train.
Marlon put together a video! Here it is.
For more pictures of our visit today to Cypress Gardens, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2008/january/cypressgardensjanua/ .
Watch for our next visit when we will visit the Botanical Gardens and the Nature's Way area of the park.
To be continued...