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Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 Time: 12:59 PM
Cypress Gardens is a place Ive visited several times, so when my husband and I took our grandsons to Disney World, we decided to take them to our old haunt. The Gardens have changed a lot since we last visited. There were lots of new attractions, so we all enjoyed ourselves.
The boys enjoyed seeing the Southern Belles who were walking the grounds greeting and talking to visitors. The oldest couldnt believe that ladies at one time had to dress in those full skirts with stiff petticoats and a hoop underneath. He wanted to know how they sat down with all that stuff on. It was definitely a learning experience for him. One of the ladies stopped to talk to the boys and they enjoyed answering her questions about Canada. They both know a lot about their homeland and answered the questions with gusto.
After speaking to the Southern Belle, we proceeded to the water ski show. The boys were in awe of all the stunts that could be done on water skis and enjoyed the comical antics of the team.
On our way toward the rides, we strolled through the Living Garden and it is aptly named. The fountain there includes a statue that comes to life. Sparkling, clear water cascades from her fingertips and the top of her head while she sings beautiful songs. This is an awesome attraction for both adults and children. It
s amazing to see a living person encased in what appears to be cement. The woman who was inside the costume couldn t walk under its weight and her headpiece was removed immediately when the show was over.
We watched the Gardens staff wheel her away on a moving dolly.
There are several shows available that we were unable to take in because of the damage from the hurricanes. This part of the Park that was hit was closed when we visited and the boys are anxious to return to see Pirates of Cypress Cove, Farmyard Frolics and Cypress Gardens on Ice, as well as the Plantation Gardens.
After seeing the spectacular performance in the Living Garden, we meandered along the Topiary Trail. The flowers and lawns here are magnificent. The boys lived watching the swans glide over the water with grace and beauty. The highlight of the Trail for me was the beautiful waterfall that cascaded over a rocky bluff into a tranquil pool that sparkled in the Florida sun. Flower gardens surround the waterfall and they are exquisite.
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Much to the boys delight, we arrived at the rides in Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. They enjoyed stepping into rubber rafts, traveling up a 50 foot conveyor belt and zooming down a gigantic waterslide. When they hit the bottom, water sprayed everywhere. They loved it and didn t get too wet. While in the Adventure Park the boys rode this ride four times and hated to lea
ve. The view of the Gardens from the top was breathtaking. They also enjoyed the roller coaster, bumper cars and a variety of other midway styled rides. Paradise Pier, where rides are found along an old fashioned boardwalk was also a favorite.
Then it was off to see the animals. The boys gazed in wonder at Tarzan, a 75 year old alligator. They also loved the jaguar, Sheba, the Bird Aviary, the crocodiles from the Nile and a variety of other mammals and birds.
To make the day complete, we browsed through a few shops, picked up a couple of souvenirs and took our time walking toward the gates. The sun was sinking low on the horizon and it was time to leave the Gardens. The boys talked excitedly ab
out the wonders of the day on the trip back to our motel room.
Cypress Gardens is located between Orlando and Tampa in Winter Haven, Florida. Take Highway 4 to Highway 27 and head toward Winter Haven. Watch for signs. Cypress Gardens is a major tourist attraction and directions are well marked.
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