Tag Archives: Winter Haven

Happy First Birthday LEGOLAND Florida

Legos, those small brightly colored interlocking bricks, were designed as a child’s toy but many adults consider them a hobby.  A stash of Lego’s can provide hours of stimulating creative fun for almost any age. In fact, the company name “Lego” was derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. Perhaps that’s why they remain popular some 60 years after their debut.

Entrance to Legoland Florida
Entrance to Legoland Florida

Florida unveiled Legoland, its newest theme park, in October, 2011. The former grounds of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven were transformed into what I’d call “the ultimate world of Lego.” Visitors are greeted by life-sized Lego creations and entertained by an assortment of 50 family-friendly rides, shows and other attractions.

Big Lego Monsters
Big Lego Monsters

Miniland, a marvelous model village of landmarks and scenes from around the world, acts as the hub. The city layouts include buildings, bridges, lakes or famous structures made entirely from Lego’s–some with moveable parts like a parading band in front of the White House.

Miniland at Legoland Florida
Miniland at Legoland Florida

On October 15, 2012 Legoland is celebrating its first birthday and guests can join the party with a 50% off single day admission. In addition, a prize patrol will give away hundreds of gifts and free cupcakes for the first 5,000. Gifts include prizes such as: Meet a Master Model Builder, free Hero Passes for front-of-the-line access to rides, and free single day or annual passes to Legoland Florida.

Previous visitors to Cypress Gardens may remember the famous botanical gardens and Legoland wisely retained this beautiful serene space. (Hint to grandparents- sneak off here to get away from the crowds.)

Lego Southern Belle at the former Cypress Gardens
Lego Southern Belle at the former Cypress Gardens

The ever popular water ski show was rejuvenated and now features a Lego-Pirate themed performance. The chance to sit and watch under a covered amphitheater becomes a joy for tired feet. A forewarning — Legoland’s property covers 150-acres.

A few more tips:

The water park was added before the summer of 2012, but requires a higher priced ticket.

Tourists visiting nearby Orlando can take a $5 shuttle bus directly to the Legoland, eliminating the parking fee and drive after an exhausting day.

Purchasing tickets online saves money and avoids long lines at the entrance gate.

Gift shops sell all things Lego and I dare say every kid will leave with a new Lego product.

Legoland Florida has a free phone app for android and i-phones.

Debi Lander with Lego Darth Vader
Debi Lander with Lego Darth Vader

Park operating hours are 10am-5pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.legoland.com

Lego-Pirate Themed Water Ski Show

Lego-Pirate Themed Water Ski Show

Staycation is the buzz word in travel

Kyacking along the Chain of Lakes
Kayaking in Central Florida

With gas prices soaring over four dollars a gallon, summer vacations are taking a hit. "Staycation" is the buzz word: meaning stay near home on your vacation.

Florida residents are fortunate to have many choices within the Sunshine State. Naturally, Orlando boasts world-famous theme parks and the Space Coast offers tours of the Kennedy Center.

Jacksonville touts some fantastic parks and beaches along with neighboring Amelia Island and St. Simon's. St. Augustine is always a popular destination and renovated Marineland isn't far down Interstate 95. Check out the changes and the new educational one-on-one dolphin encounters.

But if you're hankering to go a little further from home, consider some off the beaten track adventures in Central Florida.

Westgate River Ranch presents a 1,700 acre Dude Ranch complete with authentic rodeo, campfires and singing cowboys. A petting zoo, pony rides and swimming pool keep little ones happy. Adults can try trail riding or drive cattle in a round-up. In addition, swamp buggy and airboat rides splash some great fun. Watch out for the alligators! The facility offers hotel rooms for as little as $ 89.00 a night, for a family of four with kitchen.

Bi-Plane rides return from barnstorming days and appeal to anyone interested in aviation history. For $65, fly in the open cockpit of a 1929 D-25, complete with leather helmet and scarf tied around your neck. Visit Fantasy of Flight in Lake Wales.

How about something even more adventuresome? Skydiving! Tandem jumps are safe and designed for first time adventurers. I personally assure, the thrill will never be forgotten. I loved it! Florida boasts 14 certified centers, such as nearby Jacksonville, Deland, Lake Wales and Orlando. Each location delights participants with different scenic views.

Kayaking is a cool summer activity and easy to learn. Spend a day paddling and gliding by tall cypress trees, prickly cabbage palms and blue herons. Reasonable rental rates are obtainable on lakes or rivers through the state. Try the famous Chain of Lakes— sixteen freshwater lakes connected by a series of canals in Winter Haven.

Fishing? While Jacksonville offers the Kingfish Tournament; central Florida is the large-mouth bass fishing capital of the world.

Southern Belle at Cypress Gardens

Anyone dig Gardening? Cypress Gardens, Florida's first tourist park founded in 1936, display immense topiary creations as well as a botanical sanctuary. You'll find the gardens photography worthy, along with beautiful hoop-skirted Southern belles.

Of course, the park's famous Ski Show Spectacular still jumps with athletic and acrobatic feats, including the signature human-pyramid of skiers. Newly added water park rides, a heart pounding roller coaster and other amusement thrill rides are on site.

Bok Towers

For something more peaceful, meander around Bok Towers and gardens. Tranquil resting places are tucked into the lushly landscape of ferns, oaks and pines. Listen to the singing bell tower or consider attending a special summer carillon concert.

This summer play near Jacksonville for super staycation fun, or add the price of a tank of gas and explore the middle of our state.

For further information visit:

This article appeared in the August issue of The Creekline