Cypress Gardens was conceived and built by Dick and Julie Pope. In the early 1980s they retired and passed the park on to their son Dick Pope, Jr.
In the 1980s book publisher Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich (HBJ) decided to aggressively get into the amusement business by buying up Sea World, Circus World (in 1985), Stars Hall of Fame and Cypress Gardens (in 1985). They got out of the business just as quickly and sold the parks (don't know about Stars Hall of Fame) to the Busch Corporation in 1989.
Busch was most interested in the Seaworld parks as they closed Circus World immediately. Busch continued to operate Cypress Gardens until 4/1/1995 when a group of the park's managers led by Bill Reynolds purchased the park.
Under Bill Reynolds (now president and CEO) the park operated until 4/13/2003. The park was closed due to declining attendance due to the drop in tourism after September 11th, 2001 (World Trade Center terrorist attack).
During this time the park was owned by First Gardens L.C. of which Larry Maxwell was the majority share holder. This is the company formed by the former park managers.
On 2/22/2004 a rather complex deal to save Cypress Gardens was signed. The land was placed on a conservation easement preventing it from development. Kent Buescher owner of Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA purchased the park and reopened it as Cypress Gardens Adventure Park.
In September 2006 Cypress Gardens filed for bankruptcy largely due to the damages hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne inflected on the park. Florida based Land South Adventures, LLC purchased the park at bankruptcy auction on October 16th, 2007.
The park operated for two seasons under the Land South Adventures ownership closing on September 23rd, 2009.