Founded in 1936 by Dick and Julie Pope, Cypress Gardens
became the birthplace of performance water skiing in 1941. The park was
run by the Pope family until 1985 when it was purchased by book publisher
Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich (HBJ). Just four years later, Busch
Entertainment Corporation, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch Companies, purchased
Cypress Gardens, Sea World, and Circus World. Cypress was sold in 1995 to
a private partnership led by Bill Reynolds. Declining attendance forced
the park to close in April 2003. A year later, the park was bought by Kent Buescher, owner of Wild Adventures in Georgia. Land South Adventures, LLC,
purchased the park in 2007, and Baker Leisure Group took over the management in
Cypress Gardens Adventure Park
Cypress Gardens, Florida
In November 2008, the park announced it would close for a major
renovation. The park reopened in March 2009 with a water park
and the original botanical gardens,
but the animals were gone and the roller coasters and rides were in the process of
being removed. The park closed yet again in September 2009. After
months of limbo, it was sold and later reopened as Legoland
Florida in October 2011.
After the park switched over to Legoland, three coasters were removed (see below for pictures and more information):
Fiesta Express (2004-2008) operated at Gillian's Funland and Gillian's Wonderland Pier from 2009 to 2011, but it was torn down at the
end of 2011 and is not expected to be rebuilt.
Galaxi Spin (2005-2008) sat until April 2010. It was then moved a little north and is now Power Trip Coaster
at Fun Spot USA.
Starliner (2007-2008) only ran for a year after it was relocated to Cypress Gardens. It was torn down in 2010.
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