September 30, 2009
According to Mark Jackson, the director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing,
two companies have shown interest in purchasing the theme park.
One of those is Merlin Entertainments Group, which owns theme parks scattered around the world.
Those parks include Legoland California.
Jackson did not disclose the second company that has shown interest in Cypress Gardens.
Note: links added by ACTWON not the WHNC
September 23, 2009
Cypress Gardens closing its gates
After months of rumor surrounding the possible sale or closing of Cypress Gardens,
the owners announced this afternoon that Florida’s oldest theme park is closing effective today.
The following statement was released by Bob Morgan, the park's director of sales and marketing:
“From the earliest moment that our firm purchased Cypress Gardens and Splash Island Waterpark,
our highest priority has always been to maintain the park’s beauty
and protect its proud traditions as a mainstay of the state’s history and natural treasures.
It is with these ideals in mind that we must announce that the park
will be closed for business as of Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009.
"During the last two years, Land South Adventures LLC has explored numerous management frameworks
and exhausted every possible approach to keep the park running in its traditional form.
Now, we are in the process of negotiating with several potential purchasers and lessees for all or part of the
and do not feel it is fair to our employees, the guests, or the public
to continue operations heading into the fall with the future of the property in flux.
"We are optimistic that the outcome will be in the best interests
of both the park and the residents of Polk County and the state of Florida.”
Founded in 1936 by Dick and Julie Pope, Cypress Gardens changed hands several times between 1985,
when it was sold by the Pope family to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
and 2004, when it was purchased by Kent Buescher.
The county controls the 30 acres of botanical gardens and the state holds a conservatorship over the rest.
This arrangement was made in 2004, when the state and county facilitated the $7 million sale of the property
from developer Larry Maxwell to Buescher.
This was arranged through a national nonprofit conservation organization,
the Trust for Public Land in an effort to preserve the original gardens.
Rob Harper and Brian Philpot - through their business, Land South Holdings
purchased the theme park in October 2007 in a bankruptcy auction.
Polk County will begin intersection improvements to
Cypress Gardens Road and Cypress Gardens Boulevard on Monday.
The upgrades will increase the level of service and enhance safety
Construction is expected to finish by mid December.
Motorists are advised to use caution in the work zone and to expect delays.
June 27, 2009
With Cypress Gardens and Splash Island Water Park running smoothly,
Bill Sims will no longer be at the park every day.
Cypress Gardens spokesman Bob Morgan said Sims is "still a part of the management team."
Morgan said that when Sims was brought on board in February,
his main priority was to get the park reopened and operating.
Since that has been accomplished, he has stepped back from day-to-day operations.
Sims, who was executive vice president of Cypress Gardens when it was sold in 1985,
returned to his roots in February as the head of the new management team
Cypress Gardens will host its first major celebration since its March reopening
with fireworks, flags, fun and music in a special three-day tribute to those who have served their country.
Memorial Weekend: A Salute to the Military will be held May 23-25 at the attraction
"It's the first special event for the Gardens as we go into the 2009 season,
and it is our way of saluting members of the armed forces,
kicking off the summer and celebrating the Gardens,"
said Bob Morgan, the attraction's director of marketing
Cypress Gardens will be open from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on May 23.
The evening will feature "A Tribute to Patsy Cline" by entertainer Margo Anderson,
who will sing selections by Patsy
Lynn and Reba
McEntire at 6:30 p.m.
The day will culminate with a fireworks display over Lake Eloise at 9:05 p.m.
The Gardens will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 24.
Entertainment will include "A Tribute to Elvis" at 4 p.m.
and a performance by Winter Haven-based band Fletcher Cane.
Presley served in the Army, so this is fitting"
said Bill Sims, who is managing the attraction's operations.
On May 25, Memorial Day, park hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Active and retired military personnel will get into Cypress Gardens for free.
The Navy band from Jacksonville is set to present a concert at 4 p.m.
links add by ACTWON not the WHNC
Cypress Gardens comes alive again with visitors
After four months of emptiness, the parking lot at Cypress Gardens
was busy again with cars Saturday
as people rolled in for the reopening of Florida's first theme park.
Theme park and water park veteran Bob Morgan
has been named the new director of sales and marketing
for Cypress Gardens and Splash Island Water Park.
"Bob brings more than 25 years of successful sales and marketing experience to the position,"
Cypress Gardens General Manager Bill Sims said in a news release.
Cypress Gardens' new day at hand; park reopens Saturday
Somewhere, Cypress Gardens founder Dick Pope Sr. is smiling.
Once more, flowers are blooming, skiers are performing
and Southern Belles are strolling in the attraction he opened in 1936
"I'm excited," General Manager Bill Sims said during a media tour of the attraction Thursday.
"It's my goal to get our water park and gardens back to something Dick Pope Sr. can be proud of."
Sims worked at Cypress Gardens from 1970 to 1985
"Because of timing, we're not adding any water rides,"
Bill Sims, the Cypress Gardens general manager,
said during a media tour of the gardens and water park Thursday.
The water park will follow a seasonal schedule,
which includes being open every day in June, July and August
and on weekends in September and October.
Shuttered since Nov. 17 for renovations, Cypress Gardens will reopen March 28
with a former park veteran at the helm, attraction officials said today.
Bill Sims, introduced by owners Brian Philpot and Rob Harper
as leader of the attraction's new management team,
said Florida's first theme park will open in time for spring break.
Cypress Gardens' plans progressing
The owners of Cypress Gardens Adventure Park
are moving forward with plans to open in late March,
said the attraction's spokesman, Rick Dantzler.