We visited Cypress Gardens today, about a 45 minute drive from where we are staying. Pictures will come when Bob gets my laptop running and I can pull the photos off my camers.
Bob an I both remember being there when we were kids and again together in 1975. Lately the park has had a rough go of it. It opened in 1936 and did well until competition from Disney and 9/11 put it out of business in 2003. It was supposed to be turned into condos but a gassroot movement of residents helped save it. Three hurricanes almost stopped it again in 2004 but it finally reopened in 2005 with the gardens and now an adventure park.
For us it felt like a trip back in time to about 1950. Today we visited only the gardens and it was not crowed and filled mostly with people our age or older. The area is set up like a small town street. Very charming. We took the saucer up for a birdseye view of the park, saw the ski show, ice skating show and a 40’s song and dance show, each about 30 minutes long. Very well done and lots of fun. The topiary gardens are still other worldly.
Even though the park is nice, it is sad because we remember how it used to be. We must keep in mind that this is just the start of the season so things might be scaled back.
The zoo is now much smaller and showing it’s age, we think it is pretty much like it was in 1936. They say they have the original Tarzan alligator who is now 75 years old. We watched this big guy, 1000 lbs, for quite awhile and didn’t see him move or blink an eye so we wondered if he was stuffed.
They still have the beautiful southern belle girls in their full skirted dresses but we only saw 3 where years ago they were all over.
The old ski show used to have a pyramid of 12 and now it is 6 and the ladies on water are now 3 instead of 6. I checked old photos on ebay so I know this is true.
I think the topiary gardens were bigger before but maybe that was because I had never seen anything like them before.
The butterfly garden, an indoor garden, only had a couple butterflies. They were waiting for them to be shipped in from Naples!
A neat marketing thing they have is you can come back again in 6 days for free so we will do that next week and see the botanitical gardens and visit the adventure park and maybe try out the water stuff if it is warm enough.
It was a very relaxing day.