As visionaries look ahead to the future of Cape Coral, one can’t help but look to the past and the inspirational tourist attraction that helped shaped the area. At one time a bustling site, the Cape Coral Gardens are virtually obsolete these days, yet the memory, for some, can never be forgotten.
The gardens consisted of 80-acres of themed gardens, all coming together to form one artistically pleasing showcase. Originally completed in the mid 1960s, a Sculpture Garden Building first greeted guests as they entered the gardens, complete with the addition of traveling artwork and a small-scale replica of Mt Rushmore.
Visitors were then led across a bridge spanning the reflecting pool, which emerged at the sculpture garden. Here, guests delighted in the Garden of Patriots, with sculptures of various U.S. presidents.
The property also included a visit to the popular Porpoise Pool, a simulated saltwater pool where dolphins performed tricks before crowds of on-lookers. Perhaps even more popular, however, was the Waltzing Waters show.
The nightly show featured seating for hundreds of people to watch tinted water appear to “dance”, synchronized to the accompanying classical organ music. The water changed in hue as the song progressed, dancing high up into the air along with the increasing tempo. By far a crowd favorite, the site even attracted the likes of comedian Bob Hope.
The Cape Coral Gardens also housed roving peacocks and tens of thousands of flowering rose bushes in its Rose Garden. There’s no doubt the attraction was not only beautiful but also entertaining for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that passed through its gates.
These days the location offers merely a brief glimpse of what it used to hold. The most visible marker is the name “Rose Garden Road”, yet the memory of what the gardens once presented likely continues to shape the future of Cape Coral. But all is not lost as the lovely Tarpon Point development now stands proud on a section of the original gardens.