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Cypress Gardens Closes

I really hoped that Cypress Gardens could make it. But even in the best economic climate it wouldn’t have been easy. So it was not a shock to learn today that the historic attraction has closed its doors. After a turbulent last few years, Cypress Gardens, which this year re-opened without the amusement rides, and its Splash Island water park are now possibly closed for good.

When Cypress Gardens evolved into a world renown tourist destination back in the 30s and 40s, the world was a different place. The star power of Esther Williams waned long ago and water skiing shows no longer pull in the crowds. The public is no longer so easily satisfied.

“The world is not the same today as it was 30 or 40 years ago,” Dantzler said. “Coming up with a model that works in today’s marketplace is a challenge.”

I actually think Cypress Gardens had a model that would work. But when Hurricane insurance didn’t pay out and the economy started to slow, it was just too difficult to keep the property afloat. They might have been able to overcome one of those, but both was too much.

Had central Florida taken another turn, perhaps with a successful Hollywood East industry, or with Lakeland or Winter Haven attracting a corporate world headquarters or two, Cypress Gardens could have used those as a platform to success. But those are what ifs and could’ve beens.

Those who track the Amusement Park Industry know Cypress Gardens is not alone in its troubles. Many regional parks are closed or having difficulty operating. Will they come back when the economy comes back? Those in the theme park industry remain hopeful that there will always be a demand for families to head out together for some quality time together at the park. How about you?

7 thoughts on “Cypress Gardens Closes”

  1. I think the packaging they’ve done has hurt. You pay one price which at some parks includes the park and a water park, and it’s too expensive.

    This year my kids are older and can ride the smaller coasters, but I think for families with small kids who can only ride the kiddie rides, there should be a separate admission that doesn’t include the big rides. Even the “kid prices” are too steep.

    One reason a park like Knoebels is so popular is that you can still pay-per-ride there and take a picnic lunch along to enjoy outside the park.

  2. The park opened with absolutely no rides this year. Only the gardens and skiing shows. Then the water park. I think the current owners thought they could recoup some of their investment just by selling the rides. But according to my sources only one coaster has actually been removed from the property. I see that as a missed opportunity.

    But when it comes down to it. It’s location, location, location. The botanical gardens will never be moved. But the attractions could have been.

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  5. If you want to save the park act on it ASAP. Get creative about it. Create a website, organize, have meetings with officials to see what you can do. Dont let it go without a fight. I am in Houston and we let our beloved Astroworld get destroyed and demolished by investors. I am still 4 1/2 years later thinking what the city could have done better to save it.

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