Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cypress Garden's Old Garden Railroad

Cypress Gardens is an amusement park in Winter Garden, FL. The park originally opened in 1936 as a botanical garden, and expanded from there with water ski shows, various exhibits, animals, and eventually a few small rides. The park survived until 2003 when Cypress Gardens went bankrupt and closed for a while. Luckily, the park had generated enough interest to attract a buyer who rebuilt and reopened the park with some major changes. A few roller coasters along with various other rides were added. This seemed to have saved the park from closing, but some of the best parts of the old version of the park didn't make it into the updated version. One example of this was the boat ride that would float through the canals weaving through the park's botanical gardens. Another example was this great garden railroad...
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
Since the construction of this railroad uses lots of natural materials in it's structures, it leads me to believe this was built by a company called Applied Imagination. Many of their other model train layouts appear to be similar to the one Cypress Gardens had, such as this one in the New York Botanical Gardens.
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
If I remember correctly from when I took these pictures, the buildings in the garden railway are modeled after actual buildings in Florida. I believe this is supposed to be the University of Tampa with it's onion domes. Could the lighthouse be the St Augustine Lighthouse?
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens
Garden Railroad @ Cypress Gardens

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