Category Archives: Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens celebrates 80 years of nature’s splendor

Dick Pope Sr. was a man with a vision. Where others saw swampland, he imagined a tropical wonderland unparalleled as a showcase of the world’s natural beauty.

On a marshy tract of land adjacent to Polk County’s placid Lake Eloise, he created Cypress Gardens, a color-saturated paradise of exotic flowers, plants and trees Pope imported from globe-trotting travels with his wife, Julie.

Dedicated by Florida’s governor in January 1935, the gardens formally opened Jan. 2, 1936, with visitors paying 25 cents apiece to tour its winding, cypress-block pathways. Over the years that followed, Cypress Gardens drew millions of visitors to Florida for its tranquil splendor and dazzling water ski shows, among them movie stars, TV legends, beauty queens, royalty and world-class athletes.

Today, eight decades later, kids will delight in discovering the historic botanical gardens’ many charms around every tree-shaded corner, from the famous gazebo to the mammoth banyan tree. All beautifully preserved and maintained by the talented horticulturalists of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort for the enjoyment of children for generations to come.

Here are a few scenes captured during a recent visit on a quiet afternoon:

Cypress Gardens

The famous gazebo remains the centerpiece of the sprawling gardens. During Cypress Gardens’ heyday, it was the site of hundreds of weddings each year.

Cypress Gardens

In a nod to the many costumed young women who greeted Cypress Gardens guests for decades, a Southern belle made entirely of LEGO® sits near the iconic gazebo.

Cypress Gardens

Planted by Dick Pope Sr. in the 1930s, the enormous banyan tree remains a breathtaking sight decades later.

Cypress Gardens

Millions of guests from around the world have marveled at the legendary banyan tree, imported from India and still spreading its vertical roots.

Cypress Gardens

Scenes of quiet tranquility await discovery throughout Cypress Gardens, maintained with tender care by the talented horticulturalists of LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

Cypress Gardens

Constructed in 1972, the Oriental Gardens section features a 12-foot statue of the Great Buddha of Kamakura, one of the most well-known monuments in Japan.

Cypress Gardens

Brilliant colors abound within the gardens, like the flame-hued croton plant native to Southeast Asia.

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