I just happened across this old Cypress Gardens brochure, from 1988 to be exact, and thought that it would be a great fit for From The Vault. Granted the park at the time had no big rides, but the long history of the park and its importance in Florida attractions still makes it interesting.
I had to look up the history of the park to understand why Cypress Gardens was being advertised along with Sea World of Florida and Boardwalk and Baseball (see the back panel). A book publisher named HBJ purchased the three properties in the mid 1980s, and operated them together until selling the three to Anheuser-Busch at the close of the decade. Boardwalk and Baseball was quickly closed for good - it never really found any success - and Cypress Gardens and Sea World continued to operate. Down the road Cypress Gardens was sold, and we all know how SeaWorld has continued to thrive and grow.
At the time of this brochure the focus of Cypress Gardens was, well, gardens. And live entertainment, such as their famous water ski shows.
That man is on fire! On purpose! Like I said, gardens and shows were the ticket for visitors to the park, there were no roller coasters or Legos to be found at the time. But that was enough, and it kept visitors coming back, even tourists who would make the trek from their hotels near Disney.
Oh there were some animals, too! Can't forget those friendly little critters. Today this park is known as Legoland Florida, which has quickly found much success. Much to the pleasure of fans of the original botanical gardens, they have been preserved and are actually still known as Cypress Gardens within the Legoland theme park.
The huge middle section of the brochure shows off a lot of the entertainment we've already spoken of, and also the gardens we've already spoken of. The bottom portion is a great map of the park as it was at the time. It's interesting to compare this map to how the park was when it was later Cypress Gardens (with rides), and as it is now as Legoland Florida. That ground has seen a lot of changes over the years! Still, a lot of things have remained though all that transition.