Winter Haven, Florida

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Winter Haven is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 26,487 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 estimates, the city had a population of 32,577, making it the second most populated city in Polk County. It is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Winter Haven is best known as the home of Cypress Gardens, a theme park which has recently gone through renovations to add thrill rides, before closing. It was announced on January 21, 2010, that the former site of Cypress Gardens will become Legoland Florida, the second Legoland park in the United States, and the largest in the world. It is expected to open by the end of 2011.[4] Winter Haven was also home to the first Publix supermarket circa 1930.



The area was platted in 1884 and would first be known as Harris Corners.[5] A year later, the name Winter Haven was suggested because of the area's pleasant climate.[5] By the end of the century the population grew to around 400 and in 1911, the City of Winter Haven was incorporated. The Chain of Lakes canals were begun in 1915.

The first Florida boom took place in the 1920s as towns sprang up all over the peninsula. Florida's potential as a place to live and a place to visit was first realized then, but the Great Depression slowed growth in Florida until after World War II. In Winter Haven; however, the definitive event in the city's history happened in 1936 with the opening of Cypress Gardens by Dick and Julie Pope.[5] The opening of Cypress Gardens ensured the city's future success. In 2009 it was announced that Legoland Florida would be built on the old Cypress Gardens site. This Legoland when opened in the fall of 2011 will be the largest Legoland park in the world.

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