Legoland Florida is keeping the spirit of Cypress Gardens alive, unveiling today two restored sections of the historic Florida attraction that Legoland replaced.
The Winter Haven theme park has reopened the Florida Pool, a swimming pool constructed in the shape of the Sunshine State, and the Oriental Gardens area.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony featured the Lego belles, Lego-brick sculptures made to resemble the iconic Southern Belles who greeted visitors to Cypress Gardens from the 1930s until the park's closing in 2009. Legoland opened on the former Cypress Gardens grounds in 2011.
“We have taken great care to restore and maintain the historic Cypress Gardens since our opening in 2011 and we are thrilled to reopen such beloved areas as the Florida Pool and the Oriental Gardens for guests of all ages to enjoy,” Legoland general manager Adrian Jones, said.
Cypress Gardens was Florida's first theme park and became famous for its botanical gardens. It was known as the “Water Ski Capitol of the World” from the 1930s through the 1960s. The Florida Pool was originally built as a set for the 1953 film, “Easy to Love,” starring Esther Williams.
In the botanical gardens, native plants, including azaleas and camellias, have been reclaimed and combined with a range of exotic species, Legoland said in a news release. A banyan tree, planted in 1939 as a seedling, still stands there.
Beginning Thursday, the Cypress Gardens areas will be open to Legoland guests and included with regular admission.
Legoland opened an expansion with new rides and attractions in July 2013.