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Bill Jones Cypress Gardens is Back
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Cypress GardensWinter Haven, Florida.   Opened in 1936, Cypress Gardens was Florida’s first theme park that included world famous water ski shows, lovely mermaids, and beautiful botanical gardens.

The pressure of lessening-tourism took its toll on this once-popular park following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.  On April 13, 2003, the 67-year-old Cypress Gardens was forced to close.

Cypress Gardens was a topside second-unit filming location for story establishing shots on several SEA HUNT episodes that featured water skiing and other surface stunts.  Movies filmed at Cypress Gardens included "Easy to Love" (1953) and "On an Island With You" (1948) starring Esther Williams, and "Moon Over Miami" (1941) starring Betty Grable.

On February 24, 2004, after lawyers spent most of the day bickering over last-minute details, the transfer of 150 acres of Cypress Gardens to Georgia theme park owner Kent Buescher was completed.  Following the sale, Governor Jeb Bush said "Cypress Gardens is a rare piece of Florida's modern history, ...Florida's first theme park will live again".  Polk County and the state of Florida will retain rights to the gardens and the original park areas and protect them from any type of future development.

Under it's new name, Cypress Gardens Adventure Park re-opened in 2004 with a lower admission price, new rides, and new attractions.  Buescher said he invested another $35 million for thirty new rides.

Cypress Gardens Adventure Park is located in Winter Haven Florida about 35 miles southwest of Orlando in the 2600 block of South Lake Summit Drive.

Editor Note:  Bill Jones, The Scuba Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning Writer
 

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