I read the following article, posted by a former student, and it brought back my memories of the last decade of Cypress Gardens.
We moved to Lake Wales in 1992, then to Winter Haven in 1994. With a gift from a church friend of a yearly pass, I was able to visit often, especially with my two younger children. It wasn’t all bells and whistles like Disney, but beautiful, entertaining and convenient. A few years later I found myself teaching just down the road from the gardens at Garden Grove Elementary and then Denison Middle School. At Denison one year we had a student who, along with her parents, performed at Cypress Gardens. Really, she was the star and had been performing since she was very young. I think her days were numbered in the entertainment field, however, as she got older. She was an amazing gymnast and one day she climbed up on the desktops and gave us a demonstration. I can’t remember her name, or which Slavic country she was from, but she was a inspiration to me in the fact that she put much effort into her schooling, could speak two languages and helped support her family.
After we moved away the transformation was made to Legoland. A few years ago we were able to take our grandchildren to enjoy the park. It wasn’t the same, but we had a great time. One place we took them that hadn’t changed in Winter Haven was Andy’s Igloo. The burgers, shakes, and malts were just like I remembered them.