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Bob Gernert talks about Cypress Gardens restoration at Legoland Florida

Bob Gernert is the former president of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, and he's also a Cypress Gardens historian. Although that original park is gone, Legoland Florida took over the space and has done an admirable job of restoring much of the gardens.

Part of the original area reopening with the park in 2011. Now, a little over two years later, the second phase opened to the public. When you visit, you can stroll through the Oriental Garden and enjoy its peace and serenity or admire the Florida Pool where Esther Williams frolicked in her movie "Easy to Love."

Gernert has a passion for the old Cypress Gardens, and you can hear his thoughts on the transition to Legoland Florida and the restoration of the historic areas by watching the video accompanying this article. It looked like the gardens might be gone for good once the original park failed after many tries at reinventing itself. It wasn't a sustainable business model, but now the Lego name is drawing visitors and enabling a park of Florida's very first theme park to delight guests once again.

To hear about future plans, go to this article for an interview with General Manager Adrian Jones. You can see the full opening ceremony for the Florida Pool and Oriental Garden by going here.

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