Cypress Gardens to become Legoland

  • Fri Jan 22nd, 2010 10:21pm
  • News

Associated Press

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Legoland will open a new park in Florida in 2011 on the site of the old Cypress Gardens attraction, which closed last fall.

Merlin Entertainments, the owner and operator of Legoland, said Legoland Florida would include resort facilities with accommodations, along with more than 50 rides, shows and other attractions, including Lego models and interactive programs.

The company’s first U.S. Legoland is located in Carlsbad, Calif., and three more are located in Europe, in Denmark, Germany, and near London. Merlin said in a statement that the park in Florida would be its largest. A sixth park is being developed in Malaysia.

Legoland parks are geared to families with children ages 2 to 12.

Cypress Gardens opened in 1936 in the small town of Winter Haven, about 50 miles from Orlando. In the days before Disney, it was a must-see for visitors to Florida, known for water-skiing shows, botanical gardens and Southern belles in hoop dresses. It closed after years of declining attendance.

Merlin Entertainments also operates Sea Life Aquariums. One is located adjacent to the Legoland in Carlsbad and a second is opening this year in Phoenix.

Two Legoland Discovery Centers are also opening in the U.S. this year, in Texas and New Jersey. These are indoor attractions, not theme parks, where children play with Legos for a few hours and interact with Lego exhibits.