WINTER HAVEN -- Cypress Gardens, the 70-year-old theme park saved from the wrecking ball two years ago, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing debts incurred after it was hit by three hurricanes in 2004.
The park, one of the oldest in Florida, will remain open and no major cutbacks are planned, said Ward Stone Jr., a Macon, Ga., attorney who filed the bankruptcy petition Monday in federal court in Georgia.
``All passes will be honored, all discounts will be honored,'' Stone said Tuesday. ``There will be no interruption or changes in operations. It will be business as usual.''
Cypress Gardens opened in 1936 and was a hit for decades, but it was unable to compete with the sophisticated attractions at nearby Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens. It closed in 2003.
Valdosta, Ga., theme park operator Kent Buescher bought Cypress Gardens for $7 million under a complicated deal that involved state and local government and a nonprofit conservation group. It reopened in December 2004, after delays caused by the hurricanes.