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I need a history lesson! by LostBricks2013-04-10 12:42:02


10 Posts
Hello everyone! I'm currently writing a booklet about Cypress Gardens and it's transformation into Legoland. This board has an amazing account of the history of Cypress Gardens. I would love the chance to exchange emails with a couple of you and get some really good facts for my writing. Please let me know if any of you are interested in helping someone get the history of the park known!
re: I need a history lesson! by Sean2013-04-11 16:57:08


Sounds like an interesting project. If you're looking for pictures of the old gardens, I'm sorry to say I don't have any of my own. All the pictures I've posted in other threads have come from the internet. Ed might be a good source for photos of the old gardens that haven't been seen anywhere else.

If it's strictly information you're interested in, please feel free to post your questions in this thread. If I don't know the answer, perhaps someone else will chime in. Another good source for information are the books "Images of America: Cypress Gardens" and "Cypress Gardens: America's Tropical Wonderland". Good luck with your booklet!
re: I need a history lesson! by Greg2013-04-11 21:15:38

Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1451 Posts
Yeah, I think asking your questions here would be good. You're also welcome to use the photos on either site ( and ) Just add a credit to the site.
Visit my YouTube channel for Legoland Adventures!
re: I need a history lesson! by LostBricks2013-04-14 00:20:00


10 Posts
Well, so far I have got the history of Cypress Gardens and where the land originally came from Snively Mansion (The orange groves, etc). When it was built, who owned it, when it was sold, etc. I just would like more interesting facts. Like how the Belles came to be.. when the vine died and they put a girl there to distract the guests.. It's stuff people like to read about!

As for Legoland, I know most of it's history and future bits already, but I'm interested in the shops. LLF kept most of the original buildings in their "Fun Town/Beginning" area.. Could someone make a list of all the buildings they kept and what they were originally? While I understand, some have changed even in CG's days.. the most memorable ones would be best. Like their Factory Store used to be the model trains/cars/planes display, the Pizza Pasta Buffet used to be the home cooking place.. I just want to make sure I get all the names right! Proper facts are better than guessing. Ed is one of my favorite posters on this site, he's got a great insight to how it used to be!
re: I need a history lesson! by Greg2013-04-14 14:35:49

Winter Haven, Florida

Master Botanist
1451 Posts
If you go to, I've got pictures and names of all the buildings from when Kent owned the park. Before that... Try and, and some of the other links on CG Photos.
Visit my YouTube channel for Legoland Adventures!
re: I need a history lesson! by Sean2013-04-14 19:12:05


You might also want to check out an earlier thread called The Beginning of the Beginning where I described the original function of many of the buildings in Fun Town and The Beginning. Another major building I didn't mention was the Lego Studios store: this originally opened as an electronic game room called the "Gadgetorium." It was later used to house the Legend of Santa Clause exhibit.

There is also some interesting information under another earlier thread called
Historical Tidbit where I talked about an old radio station that used to be at Cypress Gardens (I believe LL now uses the old radio station building to house their Human Resources department). It might also be interesting to mention the Imagination Zone building was originally the entry building for the old gardens.

Hope this helps.
re: I need a history lesson! by Ed2013-04-16 17:39:46

Merritt Island

Ski Star V
956 Posts
I don't know if Cypress Gardens acutally "transformed" into Legoland - to me more like it "degenerated" into Legoland. What is left of CG is what is required by land use restrictions (even all of that is not yet open) - more of stuck with vs. transformed to Legoland. But that just depends on how you look at it I guess. Relax Sean - just making a point.

To be honest, I don't see much of an audience for a booklet about the "transformation" to Legoland. Most of those that loved CG have lost most of what it was and at this point really doesn't matter much to them what it is now. Most that love Legoland really don't care what old CG buildings are used for what now in Legoland or if the old CG gardens are there or not. The vast majority that go to Legoland now never went to CG. This should kind of be expected when going from basically an adult park, then to a family park, and then to a children's park. They are so different that the "transition" becomes meaningless - especially the final transition to Legoland.

Write it if it makes you happy, but don't expect that much interest!

re: I need a history lesson! by Sean2013-04-16 20:13:33


In regards to the gardens, you could mention that the Banyan tree was reportedly grown by Julie Pope from a coffee-can seedling. It was eventually placed in five-gallon bucket, wheelbarrowed out to the gardens by Dick Pope, and planted in 1936. The tree has to be periodically pruned to keep it from spreading too much. Some Banyan trees can end up covering several acres of land!

Another little tidbit concerns the gazebo which was constructed in 1969. It is said to have come from a used radar dome and pillars from a burnt-out cigar factory in Tampa.

The books I previously mentioned chronicled the park's history up to the Buescher transformation. Neither had mentioned how the park transformed under Legoland. Your booklet could help bridge that gap for those interested...whether they be few or many.
re: I need a history lesson! by FormerEboatDriver2013-08-18 18:47:18

Carmel Valley,Ca

6 Posts
Again I agree with Ed,about the degeneration of the Gardens. Lets see there was the skii show, the electric boat rides, the annual Skiiers Ball right before the Holidays, A great employee dining room the we could sign for our lunch and then it be taken from our paychecks(great home cooked meals). The old gator by the gazebo that would bask in the sun all day and scared the tourists ___less.Lol. The Gardens also made alot of money from weddings at the gazebo I saw so many awesome ceremonies there! The tourist thought they were part of the Gardens act for their benefit and were suprised when I'd tell them no thats a real wedding taking place. I could go on and on I worked in the skii show and giving guided tours by electric boats from time of my life-getting paid to do what we all loved to do, 'cant go back but the memories are etched in my mind. The greatest thing about working there was getting to know all the skiiers from all over the states and we were all truly a family that was fostered by Dick Pope Sr. and Jr. The Pope family threw us parties alot and would come in the employee lounge breakroom-they always had free coffee and donuts- and chat with us all ,wanting to connect with each of us personally. Awesome and idealic workplace for sure...
re: I need a history lesson! by Phill2014-09-16 04:04:01


Well i have something interesting in my back yard!

my father bought a Blue metal flake 1965 Glastron v-153 16' with 1970 mercury 135 hp outboard. it has a modified 1/2" metal ski bar surrounding the engine and mounted to the transom. It came with a few yellow ski vests that seems like they were dunked in that rubber dip they has cypress gardens log on them but they had decade too much and tossed them out, but i still have the @!#?@! pope jr. skis. He bought the boat back in late 70's, I restore the floor and seats back in 90' need to redo the seats again.I believe that the boat was more of a test boat due to most of the boats from back then were 18' not 16'. They were trying to find the right size boat to pull all the skiers out of the water..

Still would love to find some pictures of the boat on the water some where from back then.

re: I need a history lesson! by Sean2014-09-16 17:51:19


You might try the Florida Memory picture archive. Here are a few pictures I found...not sure if any depict the boat you're interested in. The first picture is sorta interesting because you can see the Snively house in the background before the pillars were added.





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