Jump to content

Expansion announced for Cypress Gardens


Recommended Posts

Expansion announced for Cypress Gardens

Work will begin next week on Splash Island, a water park that is part of a planned expansion at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park.

Officials announced plans for a Feb. 22 groundbreaking involving local dignitaries. The park opened Dec. 19, 2004, after a series of delays.

The expansion is moving ahead, officials said, because of larger crowds and more ticket sales than budgeted.

The Winter Haven attraction features 38 rides, a historic botanical gardens, a water ski show, concerts and animal exhibits.

The park closed in April 2003 and was acquired in a complicated transaction involving state and local governments by Valdosta, Ga., theme park entrepreneur Kent Buescher. His ambitious plans to open in May 2004 were delayed by a string of problems including the damage wrought by last summer's hurricanes.

After two months, more than 250,000 visitors have visited the park, according to park officials. They say they have sold more than 80,000 annual passes to date.

Two job fairs have been held since opening to hire additional employees. A remote parking facility has been developed for peak attendance days and dates for concert performances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 6
  • Created
  • Last Reply
  • 1 month later...

My firm just completed the electrical design for Splash Island. It was bought and renovated by the owner of Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA. The changes they made have certainly added a lot to the park, however, the remote location may continue to hinder the parks success.

The water park addition includes: Two slide complexes, an activity pool (kinda like a water tree house), a huge wave pool, a slow (lazy) river, and a restaraunt/ snack bar. If the park does good, there is a potential for a second phase expansion adding more slides and activity areas.

It is definitely a place to check out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the location is fine, as long as the park makes an effort to tap into the local market, as well as the regional area. The Lakeland-Winter Haven metro, alone has over 500,000 residents and its sandwiched between Tampa and Orlando metro areas. As long as they stay unique, there will be a spot for them in the Central Florida market.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Classic Roller Coaster May Relocate to Haven

By Joy Townsend

The Ledger

WINTER HAVEN -- The Starliner roller coaster could be moving south a bit.

The old roller coaster, built in 1963 as part of the Miracle Strip Amusement in Panama City, has been purchased by Adventure Parks Group, which owns Cypress Gardens Adventure Park and Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Ga.

Miracle Strip closed Labor Day.

Park officials have not decided which of the two parks the old wooden roller coaster will be moved to, said Sara Sumner, a spokeswoman for the parks.

"I would love to see it go to Cypress Gardens," Sumner said Tuesday. "It's another piece of Florida tourism history."

How much the park group paid for the coaster was unavailable Tuesday.

"We're pleased to be able to add the Starliner to our ride lineup," President/CEO Kent Buescher said in a statement Monday. "Aside from its historical significance, the coaster is a classic wooden ride that will appeal to a broad range of ages, making it a perfect fit for either one of our family-oriented parks."

Buescher purchased Cypress Gardens last year after it closed in April 2003. After spending more than $40 million on renovations, Buescher reopened the 69year-old tourist attraction Dec. 9.

Now located on the white sands of Panama City Beach, no matter where the Starliner ends up, the out-and-back coaster will be moving inland.

Before beginning the process of dismantling the ride this month, park officials will get a "footprint" of the coaster to begin discussing where it will best fit, Sumner said.

"They can shoe-horn rides in where you wouldn't think they could. Engineers can do works of wonder these days," she said. "It would be a great fit at either park."

Dismantling the Starliner will take about six weeks before the ride can be moved.

The first major roller coaster built in Florida, the Starliner was erected more than 40 years ago when Jimmy Lark, a Panama City businessman, charged 25 cents a ride. More rides added the following year signaled the beginning of Miracle Strip.

The coaster will be one of only a few designed by famed roller coaster designer John Allen that are still in operation.

Joy Townsend can be reached at [email protected] or 863-401-6970.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.