I Found Peace… at Legoland

20150102_115630-1

On January 2nd of this year, we made our second trip to this fairly new theme park in Winter Haven, FL.  This time I discovered what used to draw people here in the first place… the original “Cypress Gardens.”  Opened in 1936, this 30-acre botanical garden was Florida’s first commercial theme park.  It is now nestled inside this plastic-piece haven, but still provides a beautiful oasis filled with tropical flowers, incredible trees & peaceful streams.

banyan-mom

That’s my mom… She’s tiny, but the tree really is enormous!

The centerpiece of this magical area is a gigantic Banyan Tree.  I’m guessing it spreads out over at least a 50-foot span (if not more), with new roots dropping everywhere to form multiple limbs all around.  Stand underneath it, in the very center, and look up to see a miraculous web of uninterrupted growth.

The park is bordered on one whole side by Lake Eloise (where the famous water-skiing shows were featured in Cyprus Gardens’ heyday) and where most of the Legoland shows still take place.  It’s a beautiful backdrop for the foliage & wildlife that now reside in this section of the garden.

20150102_145514     2015-01-02 18 44 55     20150102_145619

Along the winding paths in this botanical paradise, there are streams & small waterfalls where we saw plenty of birds and fish… we even heard mention of a gator sighting!   2015-01-02 18 41 16

The 3 shades of the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow plant.

The 3 shades of the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow plant.

And the flowers were amazing…  I was totally fascinated by this “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” plant.  I had never seen, nor heard of this beautiful flowering bush and was immediately fascinated by it.  A native of Brazil, the “Brunfelsia” has lush green foliage, accented by clusters of small flowers that change colors in a 3-day cycle.  It first blooms in a purple or violet shade, the next day, that same flower changes to a pale lavender and finally on the 3rd day, the flower turns completely white.  With hundreds of blooms on a single plant, it’s absolutely gorgeous!

It was hard not to take a picture of everything I passed… here are a few of my favorites:

"Project X"

Our “Keepsake Photo” from Project X.

Now don’t get me wrong, Legoland itself is still a worthy destination for the whole family (and my son’s favorite park).  It has a nice assortment of rides, including a few good coasters (“Project X” is a must do) and plenty of Lego stores, shows and decent places to eat.  My son could have spent most of the day in the “Build & Test” section of the Imagination Zone where you can build & race your own Lego vehicles, but he also loved the rides, the mini village and the 4-D movies.

Located just 45 minutes south of Orlando, Legoland provides an easy escape from the mad rush of Disney and easily entertains a wide range of ages.  Big news at the park this year is the opening on May 15th of their very own 152-room, Lego-themed hotel.   Not sure you’d need to stay more than one day, but the hotel itself looks like it will provide plenty of its own additional entertainment.

In our 2 visits here, we still haven’t ventured into the Legoland Water Park – guess that will be on the list for next time!

Advertisements

One thought on “I Found Peace… at Legoland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s