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Cypress Gardens to Remove Rides

Cypress Gardens will close beginning Nov. 17 and plans to reopen in March with an expanded water park but without its rides and animal attractions. The park’s owners and officials have decided that the park cannot function as four parks in one. “The operating expense of running 38 amusement rides, a zoo, the botanical gardens, a ski show, and a water park are considerable,” said Cypress Gardens co-owner Rob Harper.

The closure, which comes at a normally slow time for that park, will allow for renovations including expansion of the water park, and preserving the original botanical gardens. The ski show will continue as part of the original park experience.

Cypress Gardens has a long history dating back to 1936. In the 1980s the original owners retired and the park changed hands a couple of times then closed in April of 2003. Kent Buescher, the owner of Wild Adventures bought the park and reopened it in November of 2004 as Cypress Gardens Adventure Park preserving the original gardens but adding rides and a waterpark. Unfortunately during renovations the park was hit by three hurricanes and the insurance company continually fought settlement. Saddled with debt, Kent Buescher was eventually forced to sell off both parks.

Cypress Gardens is home to six roller coasters including a custom built junior wooden coaster named Triple Hurricane, and the recently installed Starliner that was saved when Miracle Strip Amusement Park closed in 2004. There is no word as to what will happen with the coasters.

* Lee Ann Draud
Publications Director
* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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