Legoland - Botanical Gardens
One of the defining features of Cypress Gardens was the botanical gardens and Legoland Florida has kept a large proportion of it as an additional "land". They are repairing the bridges and generally tidying up the canals and gardens and hope to draw more people into the gardens possibly with treasure hunts or even LEGO figures.
For the time being it will be called the Botanical Gardens but in time it might be renamed actually as Cypress Gardens.
The fate of the Southern Belles is uncertain though. It is possible they will return to greet visitors but they might be replaced by LEGO models instead.
The origins of the Southern Belles dates back to the very early days of the park. In 1940 a cold snap killed some vines by the main park entrance so the idea was put forward to dress young ladies in traditional Antebellum dresses and lace parasols to distract the visitors from seeing the dead plants by the entrance and they became an integral part of Cypress Gardens throughout its long history.
Botanical Gardens History
The Botanical Gardens is how Cypress Gardens started in the first place. Cypress Gardens first opened on January 2, 1936, as a beautifully landscaped botanical garden designed by Dick and Julie Pope, the original owners. It is a combination of over 8,000 native and exotic species and one of the landmarks is a giant Banyan tree (native of India) that was planted as a seedling way back in 1939.
The gardens run down to the shores of Lake Eloise lined by Cypress trees. There is a man-made canal which runs through the gardens and you used to be able to take an electric boat tour around the gardens along the canal.
Over the years the trees and shrubs have matured and today it is a well established garden with a riot of colour from the many flower formal beds.