Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cypress Gardens.........Page 1

Well here is the first of my blogs on beautiful Cypress Gardens, also known as Florida's 1st theme park. I "borrowed" some history from Cypress Gardens' website:
Founded in 1936 by Dick and Julie Pope, Cypress Gardens was a showcase for Central Florida and paved the way for other parks such as Disney and Universal to follow. Under his guidance, the beautiful botanical gardens became the backdrop for beautiful belles and peaceful boat rides, as well as many movies and thousands of advertising campaigns over the years. Familiar Starlets who have walked our paths include: Betty Davis, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Esther Williams and Elvis to name just a few. Proclaimed the Water Ski Capitol of the World, Cypress Gardens became the birthplace of performance water skiing in 1941. In 1962, Dick Pope turned the reins of the park over to his son, Dick Pope, Jr., and then committed himself to promoting tourism and the development of Florida. This is a photo of Dick and Julie Pope and their children. Cypress Gardens has been a part of Polk County for more than 72 years.
My first two photos are for you, Gary. They are not the best shots, but there was no way to get a full photo. This is the world famous Florida pool, so named because it is in the shape of Florida. This pool was featured in a film with Esther Williams called "Easy To Love". Just a side note about the movie, Missy and Hut's cousin Lindy was an extra in the movie. She is one of the many girls around the pool. Wish I could tell you which one, lol. The first shot is of the pool looking down the length of Florida from the panhandle. The second shot would be from Jacksonville towards the panhandle. I went online and found some older shots of the pool, showing the whole pool.

This next shot really should have been first. It is the bridge that actually leads from the main part of the park to the botanical gardens. Also, the next picture is of an eagle who has been at the entrance of the botanicals for many, many years. It is made out of steel and weighs over 200 lbs. This next photo is of the Banyan tree. This tree was planted in 1936 and it came to the gardens in a 5 gallon bucket. I wish I could remember where it was from. This tree is truly amazing and the photo just doesn't do it justice. This tree withstood 3 back to back hurricanes that hit this area in 2004.
Another unusual tree that stood up to the hurricanes in the Sausage Tree. Not sure exactly what the "sausages" are, but it's a very unique tree.
I have no idea what the next tree is.....I just know that right now it is covered with beautiful pink flowers.
The following photos are just some shots of some of the different plants and flowers they have in the botanical gardens.

The next photo is of the Wedding Gazebo. This is actually made out of a Russian satellite. It was constructed in December 1969 and is the most photographed spot in Cypress Gardens. Hut and I renewed our vows there this past February. My youngest son Scott and his girlfriend Elaine are pictured here in it.
Last but not least on today's tour is the Kodak Moment Mirror. It used to have a backwards sign behind it that said Cypress Gardens. You can see me taking the picture (not one of my best) with Elaine pointing to the Wedding Gazebo in the background.

This concludes today's tour of Cypress Gardens. Stayed tuned for more adventures tomorrow. And remember to wear comforable walking shoes


Cecile said...

I knew that Gazebo looked familiar I remember seeing it in the pic of you and Hut!
I am feeling better each day and I am soooo looking forward to coming to florida next week to see all of my buds!!!

Sue said...

Beautiful pictures Bonnie!

Granny Annie said...

Bonnie, thank you for this tour. Bloggers sure make it possible for other bloggers to see things for the first time. Pretty soon I'll be able to see it a lot faster too!

Trina said...

Thanks for the pics and the history. I have been to Florida many times but never made it to Cypress Gardens. It really is a shame that they are going to close it down.

Brenda said...

Nice post..I see you covered your booty from the blog cop hehe.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

Thanks for dedicating the first couple of pics to me---I will sleep better now that I know the name of the Esther Williams movie I recalled filmed at the Gardens, but was unable to recall the title of----nice little tour your giving us, most enjoyable.

Andi said...

The Esther Williams Florida Pool was always my favorite! Cypress Gardens is such an important part of our local history here in Winter Haven. I hope they get back on track and re-open soon.

It was nice that you got to go there often Bonnie.

Missy's Blog said...

I've always loved that Florida shaped pool too.

If I'm not mistaken, our cousin Lindy was int he Esther Williams movie. Would Jerome know if that's accurate?

Jamie Dawn said...

I would love to visit the Cypress Gardens.
I was born and raised in CA and lived most of my life there.
We moved to Arkansas just over three years ago, but I've always said I'm a southern belle at heart.
I just love all things southern.
I love the weather, plants, food, and people.