The Nona Blog

The Nona Blog features a variety of community, attraction and development update information for communities throughout Central Florida.

Dec. 4, 2019

Gatorland

Gatorland in Orlando FloridaA rather unique attraction located near Hunters Creek south of Orlando, Gatorland has been open since 1949. Owen Godwin created the attraction, which featured thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and many other unique animals throughout. It's known as the "Alligator Capital of the World."

Gatorland is known for rescuing nuisance alligators from trappers. These gators would be killed for their skin or meat if Gatorland didn't rescue them. The Breeding March found at the park was even used in the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984.

For those fascinated by alligators and crocodiles of all sizes, Gatorland is the place to be. They house alligators from babies all the way up to 14-foot monsters. You will even find white leucistic alligators here, which are incredibly rare.

Along with the alligators and crocodiles, Gatorland is home to a free-flight aviary, many unique animal shows, a petting zoo, zip lines, and more!

The Animals

Many visit Gatorland for the animals, which include plenty of unique species, such as:

  • American Alligators
  • Albino Alligators
  • Nile Crocodiles
  • Saltwater Crocodiles
  • Parrots
  • Emus
  • Flamingos
  • Florida Panthers
  • Florida Bobcats
  • Tortoises
  • Snakes
  • Toads
  • Lizards
  • And More!

The animals provide plenty to see and enjoy throughout the park.

Experiences

Gatorland ZiplineThroughout your time at Gatorland, you can take on many adventures and experiences from the Meet-A-Gator experience to the Adventure Hour. Enjoy the Screamin' Gator Zipline or take on the Gator Gauntlet. The park even provides an opportunity to be a trainer for a day or you can enjoy the newest experience, Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure.

Maybe the most famous attraction is the Gatorland Express, formerly known as the Ol' Iron Horse Express. This railroad attraction was originally opened in 1961, providing the oldest amusement attraction in Central Florida.

Gator Spot

While a visit to Gatorland is quite a bit of fun, you don't have to go all the way to Gatorland to enjoy what they have to offer. In 2015, Gatorland teamed up with Fun Spot America to offer Gator Spot. This $1 million attraction provides a taste of Gatorland within the Fun Spot American Theme Park for those staying in or living close to the tourist area known as I-Drive in Orlando.

Gator Spot allows visitors to enjoy taking photos with gators, along with feeding them. The attraction features the leucistic alligator known as Bouya. This gator is actually white and has blue eyes.

Visiting Gatorland

Whether you're just visiting the Orlando area or you're a resident living in Central Florida, a trip to Gatorland provides plenty of fun. Tickets are affordable compared to other Central Florida attractions and packages are available for those looking to enjoy experiences throughout the park.

The park often offers specials ticket prices for Florida residents and they do provide unique events throughout the year. If you live in the Hunters Creek area, you'll gain easy access to Gatorland. Those living in the main tourist area of Orlando near I-Drive can enjoy the gators at Fun Spot America's Gator Spot.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Walt Disney World

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney WorldOne of the most popular attractions in the entire world, Walt Disney World provides entertainment for more than 50 million people every single year. Those living in the Orlando area, specifically near Horizon West and Celebration gain easy access to this world-renown attraction.

Walt Disney World offers four theme parks, two water parks, and over two dozen themed resorts. It's also home to Disney Springs, which is a massive shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. With so much to do and see, many Florida residents use the annual pass program to spend plenty of time at the parks.

The Disney Theme Parks

Epcot at Walt Disney WorldOffering four theme parks, Disney World provides plenty for guests to see and do throughout the year. The four theme parks are:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Hollywood Studios

Throughout these four theme parks, popular attractions, such as Toy Story Land with Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers offer plenty of fun for the entire family.

The attractions are just the start of the fun at the theme parks. Visitors also have the option to enjoy meeting beloved Disney characters and enjoy incredible shows. Animal Kingdom also offers opportunities for visitors to see many different animals, while Epcot provides the opportunity to visit many countries from around the world.

Of course, a visit to Disney World isn't complete without viewing one of the nighttime firework shows. Both Magic Kingdom and Epcot provide incredible fireworks shows, while Animal Kingdom provides a show called the Rivers of Light and Hollywood Studios provides the Fantasmic show.

Dining, Shopping, & More

Disney Springs at Walt Disney WorldWhile the theme parks are the bulk of the entertainment at Walt Disney World, there are also dozens of incredible dining options, along with plenty of shopping found at Disney Springs. Each resort and theme park offers plenty of unique dining options to choose from. Residents with annual passes gain easy access to the dining options throughout Walt Disney World and can enjoy several different cuisines.

Disney Springs provides a large portion of the shopping at Walt Disney World. However, each resort and theme park also offers plenty of shopping with some very unique items found in each country throughout Epcot. Along with the theme parks, dining, and shopping, Walt Disney World also offers two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. You'll also find a mini-golf course here, a campground and RV resort, dinner theater shows, and so much more.

How Walt Disney World Started

Walt Disney announcing the Disney World Florida ProjectWalt Disney purchased land in Central Florida many years before developing and opening the resort in 1971. In fact, Walt worked in secret to purchase the original land for Walt Disney World. Due to the secrecy and the type of land purchased, Walt was able to buy some tracts of land for as little as $100 per acre.

While Walt passed away before Walt Disney World opened, his brother Roy Disney made sure this vision became a reality.

For those living in the Central Florida area or planning to move to the area, Walt Disney World provides a wonderful place for year-round entertainment. With plenty of attractions, shows, events, dining, shopping, and more, many residents use the annual pass program to ensure they get to spend as much time at Walt Disney World as possible.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

The West Orange Trail

A 22-mile multi-use rail trail, The West Orange Trail is a part of Orange County, Florida. The trail passes through several communities including Winter Garden, Clermont, Apopka, and Ocoee. It's a paved trail used by many for biking, jogging, in-line skating, horseback riding, and walking.

This world-class rail trail offers several outposts and stations for parking and accessing the trail. Several sections of the trail offer a great option for biking including sections connecting to the South Lake Trail.

The beauty found throughout The West Orange Trail draws many residents in. It's known for the change in scenery throughout with wooded areas, large oak canopies, residential areas, business districts, and even rolling pastures. Whether you want to enjoy a bike-friendly restaurant, do a little shopping, or you just want to escape into nature, The West Orange Trail offers an option for you.

The Stations

Along the trail, there are four main stations and several other outposts. The four main stations include:

  • Killarney Station - in Killarney off SR50 near the Lake County and Orange County line
  • Apopka Station - 111. South Forest Avenue in Apopka
  • Winter Garden Station - 455 East Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden
  • Chaplin Station - 501 Crown Point Cross Road in Winter Garden
  • Along with these four main stations, there are three outposts including:
  • Tildenville Outpost
  • Ingram Outpost
  • Apopka-Vineland Outpost

These outposts may provide parking and offer access points for The West Orange Trail.

Attractions Along the Trail

Starting from the Killarney Station, there are several attractions along The West Orange Trail. The Killarney Station offers parking, restrooms, a playground, water fountains, and a bike shop with rentals. It also provides a link to the South Lake Trail and you will find the Oakland Nature Preserve nearby.

Oakland is the next stop and offers a small town with plenty of charm. It's filled with historic buildings and offers views of Lake Apopka from the side streets.

Briley Farm is found on the trail, as well. It's a member of the World Watusi Foundation and isn't just any old farm. You might spot an ostrich, zebra, or some other type of exotic animal while enjoying this section of the trail.

After leaving Oakland, you'll come across an old landmark, which includes a section of old railroad track. Entering Tildenville, a butterfly garden is found here, along with a barn paying homage to Bobby Bowden (retired Florida State football coach).

Downtown Winter Garden is one of the most popular sections of The West Orange Trail. It's well-maintained and offers several attractions including a history museum, the new Winter Garden City Hall, the Clock Tower, and the park at the Winter Garden Station.

Several suburban neighborhoods are found on the trail as you head out of Winter Garden towards the Chapin Station. The trail also weaves around a golf course and the station offers plenty of amenities including the Path of Life gardens.

The West Orange Trail also makes its way through Apopka, which offers plenty of attractions, such as the Clarcona Horsemen's Park, and some of the most beautiful tree canopies along the trail.

The West Orange Trail is a true asset to the communities it serves. Whether you enjoy biking, walking, jogging, skating, or even horseback riding, this trail provides plenty of fun for you and your family to enjoy.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida in Dr Phillips FloridaOne of the most incredible attractions in Central Florida, Universal Studios Orlando attracts more than 21 million visitors per year. Many local Florida residents visit the theme park regularly with an annual pass. Those living in the Dr. Phillips area gain very convenient access to the many attractions found throughout Universal Studios.

While it's known as Universal Studios Orlando, it's actually four attractions in one. Universal Studios is the main theme park with Universal CityWalk serving as a dining, shopping, and entertainment center. In addition, Islands of Adventure is a second theme park offering even more fun and Volcano Bay offers an incredible water park.

In the summer of 2019, Universal Studios announced the development of a third theme park, as well. This park will be called Epic Universe and an exact opening date has yet to be scheduled.

The Attractions

From Hollywood shows and characters to roller coasters to Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando is filled with incredible attractions. It's designed to bring your favorite movies to life. Attractions, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit offer thrills with a 90-degree climb and speeds up to 65 mph, while shows, such as the Horror Make-up Show will keep you laughing.

While Universal Studios has always been a popular attraction, the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter really made this theme park popular. Fans of the books and movies can enjoy walking through Diagon Alley with plenty of shopping and dining. They can also take a ride on the Escape from Gringotts and even take the Hogwarts Express over to Islands of Adventure for the new Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Other popular attractions at Universal Studios and Island of Adventure include:

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • And More!

Universal CityWalk

Serving as the entertainment district for Universal Studios, CityWalk was opened in 1999. Guests arriving at the theme parks will likely walk through this area to access either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure.

Within the Universal CityWalk area, there are several dining options including Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Voodoo Doughnut, and Hard Rock Cafe. CityWalk also includes several shopping options and plenty of nightlife including the Red Coconut Club.

Universal Studios Events

Throughout the year, Universal Studios provides guests with several great events, in addition to the many attractions and shows already offered. If you visit the park during September and October, you can enjoy the very popular Halloween Horror Nights. This event is a huge Halloween party complete with some of the best haunted houses and Halloween stage shows in the country.

Rock the Universe is an annual Christian rock music festival held every year. It used to be held in September but has been moved to early February in recent years.

Universal also features a Summer Concert Series every year, along with a Grad Bash and a Gradventure held in April and May.

The holiday events for November and December are pretty amazing, as well. Universal offers the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for an entire month, along with plenty of special events to celebrate Christmas.

Mardi Gras also brings special events to Universal Studios with a massive party held from Fat Tuesday through Easter on Friday and Saturday nights.

Another event held every year is A Celebration of Harry Potter. It's a three-day weekend event held on the last weekend of January in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

While Universal Studios certainly attracts plenty of visitors every year, local residents often attend the many events and enjoy the theme parks for special Florida resident rates or with annual passes. Those in neighboring communities can easily enjoy great entertainment year-round at Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and CityWalk.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

The Conway Chain of Lakes

The Conway Chain of LakesThe Conway Chain of Lakes includes four interconnected lakes found in the South Orlando area. The very popular lakefront communities found here are filled with residents enjoying time on the water and the beautiful views offered throughout. Just like The Butler Chain of Lakes, The Conway Chain of Lakes offers plenty of history and some of the best water activities in Central Florida.

The Lakes

The Conway Chain of Lakes includes four interconnected sections of Lake Conway and Lake Gatlin. Residents living in Belle Isle, Conway and other communities nearby often refer to the lakes as Middle Conway, South Lake Conway, and Little Lake Conway. If you look at a map, it looks like there are five total lakes, but there are really only two lakes.

Two public boat ramps are found on the lakes with one located off Hoffner Avenue and the other one two blocks east of Orange Avenue. The Conway Chain of Lakes covers nearly 1,800 areas of surface water with plenty of activities to enjoy.

Recreation on the Lakes

Conway Chain of Lakes Orlando FloridaFishing is one of the most popular recreation activities on The Conway Chain of Lakes. With incredible largemouth bass fishing offered, many flock to these lakes year-round. Along with largemouth bass, the lakes offer bream, catfish, crappie, and some chain pickerel.

Residents also use the lakes for many other water activities, such as water-skiing, wake-boarding, tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. The large size and the easy to navigate canals make access to the lake from surrounding communities rather simple.

Other Things to Do Near the Lakes

One of the most attractive parts of the The Conway Chain of Lakes is the location. With such a close location to Downtown Orlando, those choosing to have fun on the lakes also gain easy access to the SODO shopping district and plenty of dining options throughout.

Several restaurants are found very close to the lakes and some even provide water views. However, the restaurants in the area are not really located waterfront as most of the waterfront areas are residential.

Many residents of surrounding communities enjoy the parks found on the Lake Conway Chain of Lakes. Some of the parks found lakeside or very close to the lakes include:

  • Venetian Park
  • Regal (Montmart) Park
  • Gilbert Park
  • Swann Beach
  • Warren Park
  • Trimble Park

These parks provide a variety of things to do, along with plenty of beautiful views of the lakes.

The surrounding communities are well-served by The Conway Chain of Lakes. While this chain of lakes is smaller than some of the others found in Central Florida, it still provides plenty of water activities, amazing views, and so much more.

The communities woven in between these lakes enjoy easy access with all kinds of water activities. No matter which section of the lakes you choose, there's sure to be something fun to enjoy on the water.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Sea World Orlando

Sea World OrlandoWhile Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World may overshadow SeaWorld Orlando, it's still a very popular attraction in Central Florida. Offering Florida residents several annual pass options, along with plenty of great events throughout the year, many residents living near Orlando spend multiple days at SeaWorld Orlando each year.

Along with the SeaWorld Orlando theme park, this attraction includes a water park and a day resort. The water park, Aquatica, is rated as the #1 Outdoor Waterpark in the United States by a poll.

The day resort, Discovery Cove, is one of the most relaxing and more unique experiences found in Central Florida. With all three attractions providing plenty of fun, it's no wonder people moving to Central Florida choose Williamsburg and other communities close to the parks.

SeaWorld Orlando Attractions

Compared to Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando doesn't offer nearly the size. However, it's home to three of the largest, fastest, and most thrilling roller coasters in all of Florida. Mako, Manta, and Kraken offer plenty of thrills for the roller coaster lover, while SeaWorld Orlando also offers plenty of shows and other attractions.

Some of the other attractions found at SeaWorld Orlando include:

  • Infinity Falls - A new and very popular rapids water ride
  • Journey to Atlantis - A thrilling water ride
  • Sky Tower - A 400-foot tower providing incredible views
  • Empire of the Penguin - A unique ride ending with a visit to the penguin habitat
  • And More!

In 2019, SeaWorld Orlando added Sesame Street Land with many beloved characters, a kiddie coaster, and a few other rides for younger children. Another thrilling ride, Ice Breaker (scheduled to open in spring 2020) will provide plenty of fun with four launches and the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida.

Aquatica - The Water Park

Voted as the best outdoor water park in the country, Aquatica offers plenty of unique water slides, pools, and water attractions. With the newest attraction, KareKare Curl offering plenty of fun and Ray Rush voted as the Best New Water Park Ride by Amusement Today, there are plenty of things to do here.

Aquatica also offers two lazy rivers (one is faster) and the Dolphin Plunge water slide offering a view of unique dolphins as you ride the ride.

Discover Cove - The Day Resort

While Florida residents can get an annual pass for both SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica, the day resort doesn't offer such a deal. Discovery Cove offers an all-inclusive experience including plenty of attractions, two meals, endless snacks, endless drinks, and more.

Along with the regular attractions, guests have the option to add a Dolphin Encounter, Animal Encounters, the Seaventure, and other experiences. Everything is included with your daily ticket, even towels, and sunscreen! It's even possible to buy ticket package for Discovery Cove that includes admission to both SeaWorld and Aquatica for two full weeks.

SeaWorld Orlando History

Offering plenty of fun for more than 4.5 million guests every year, SeaWorld Orlando was started in 1973 and later sold to Anheuser-Busch in 1989. In 2000, the company opened Discover Cove and later in 2009 Aquatica was opened.

For those living in the Orlando area, SeaWorld Orlando offers annual passes at a reasonable price. They also offer many other perks for pass holders throughout the year, along with incredible holiday events, the PraiseWave Christian Concert series, and much more. It may not be as large as the other Central Florida theme parks, but SeaWorld Orlando still has plenty to offer.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

The Butler Chain of Lakes

The Butler Chain of Lakes in Southwest Orlando FloridaKnown for the incredible water quality, The Butler Chain of Lakes is one of the best choices for fishing and recreation in Orange County. With plenty of boating and water sports opportunities, residents in the Windermere and Dr Phillips communities which surround the Butler Chain, flock to these lakes throughout the entire year.

The Butler Chain of Lakes is made up of 13 lakes and was the first lake system in the entire state of Florida to receive the designation of Outstanding Florida Waters from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This designation was given to the lakes in 1985 due to the wildlife habitat and water quality.

The 13 Lakes

Thirteen interconnected lakes make up The Butler Chain of Lakes and include:

  • Lake Down
  • Little Lake Down
  • Lake Butler
  • Lake Louise
  • Lake Blanche
  • Lake Chase
  • Lake Sheen
  • Fish Lake
  • Pocket Lake
  • Lake Isleworth
  • Wauseon Bay
  • Lake Tibet-Butler
  • Unnamed Lake

Along with the 13 lakes, The Butler Chain of Lakes includes 32 navigable canals.

The lakes cover more than 5,000 total areas of surface water with the largest, Lake Butler, covering 1,600 acres. Tibet-Butler Lake is the second largest covering 1,200 acres of surface water.

Recreation on the Lakes

Each lake is a bit different and some provide better recreation than others. Lake Down, for example, is known as one of the best choices for fishing, especially those looking to go fishing for large mouth bass. Many of the other lakes are also known for great fishing.

A few boat ramps are found on the 13 lakes providing plenty of access for those looking to enjoy boating. R.D. Keene Park is one of the more popular parks on the lakes and provides a boat ramp on Lake Isleworth. The park also provides two soccer fields, a playground, and a picnic area.

Another boat ramp is found on Conroy-Windermere Road across from Isleworth. Several other boat ramps are found on the lakes, but many are controlled use. Another option for boaters is found in Keene's Pointe on Unnamed Lake.

Residents of Windermere and other surrounding communities often enjoy recreation on the lakes, such as wake-boarding, boating, water-skiing, and fishing. The crystal clear canal waters connect the lakes and make it easy for many homeowners to easily access the lakes.

Bird Island is the spot to anchor your boat on the weekends. Accessible only by boat, this island refuge is where the locals gather for some fun in the sun.

Other Things to Do on the Lakes

Along with the recreation, The Butler Chain of Lakes is known for its great waterfront and waterview dining options. Several restaurants offer a beautiful setting overlooking one of the 13 lakes. Bird-watching and wildlife viewing is also popular throughout The Butler Chain of Lakes.

It's also possible to take a tour of the lakes by boat. Some of the tours on the lakes offer unique options with plenty of history of the area, along with stories about celebrities, and more. Kayak tours are also offered to give you an even more up-close look at the lakes.

Residents also enjoy several of these lakes while playing a round of golf. With many of the top Orlando golf courses located on one of the 13 lakes, including Isleworth, Bay Hill and Keene's Pointe. It's easy to enjoy great views while hitting the links.

The Butler Chain of Lakes offers a great way for those enjoying water activities to get their fill in Central Florida. Residents of nearby communities enjoy the many parks on the lakes, boating opportunities, golf courses on the lakes, and the many dining options.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Park Avenue

Park Avenue in Winter Park FloridaPark Avenue is the place to be in Winter Park. Filled with incredible shopping, plenty of dining, and all kinds of culture, this specific section of Winter Park offers residents many things to do and enjoy.

You can visit this very popular area for a special event or just to enjoy the many things to do and see throughout. If you live in Winter Park or in a surrounding community, you'll want to get acquainted with Park Avenue.

The Shopping District

First and foremost, Park Avenue offers a massive shopping district with plenty of great boutiques to choose from. It's one of the best places in all of Central Florida for shopping with plenty of well-known and local shops to choose from.

Popular shops found on Park Avenue include:Alfont Inn in Winter Park Florida

  • Be On Park
  • California Closets
  • Ethan Allen
  • Forema Boutique
  • Lucky Brand Jeans
  • Partridge Tree Gift Shop
  • The Shade Store
  • And More!

The Dining

Park Avenue restaurants offer something for everybody with more than 40 choices. Whether you're looking for a fine dining establishment or a simple cafe, you'll find it here. Brunch, lunch, dinner, and more is served at some of the finest restaurants in Winter Park including cuisines, such as Italian, Tex-Mex, American, Thai, French, and Turkish.

Some of the top restaurants found on Park Avenue include:

  • UMI Japanese Restaurant
  • Garp and Fuss
  • Luma on Park
  • Prato
  • The Parkview
  • The Wine Room on Park Avenue
  • And more!

The Culture

Park Avenue offers great shopping and dining, but it's also a cultural hub for Winter Park. Offering several museums and art options, this section of the city is an amazing option for culture. Some of the cultural attractions found near Park Avenue include:Annie Russel Theater in Winter Park

  • Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
  • Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens
  • Cornell Fine Arts Museum
  • Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum
  • Winter Park History Museum
  • Mead Botanical Garden
  • Kraft Azalea Garden
  • And More!

The Events

Throughout the year, several events are held in the Park Avenue area of Winter Park. The Winter Park Farmer's Market is one of the most popular and held every Saturday from 7am to 1pm. This event is held at the old train depot, which is now a historic landmark.

Another popular event is the Popcorn Flicks in the Park event held each month. This event includes a classic film shown in Central Park and it's free. The event is held on the second Thursday of each month and starts at 8pm. Other events held near Park Avenue every year include:Park Ave Water Fountain in Winter Park

  • Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
  • Holiday Friday Lights
  • Annual Christmas in the Park
  • Winter on the Avenue
  • Winter Park Christmas Parade
  • Sip, Shop, & Stroll
  • And More!

Many gallery tours are held, along with plenty of other events.

Park Avenue offers plenty of things to do and see for residents and visitors to Winter Park. It has a European feel with many sidewalk cafes and boutiques throughout. As one of the most popular sections of Winter Park, Park Avenue many from neighboring communities come to Winter Park for the shopping, dining, culture, and entertainment found on Park Avenue.

Posted in Orange County Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Lake Eola Park

Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando FloridaAn incredibly popular park in Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park offers several things to do and hosts many events throughout the year. It's known as the location of the Walt Disney Amphitheater and the Chinese pagoda.

History of Lake Eola Park

The park was established when Jacob Summerlin donated the land to be turned into a park. It was first established in 1888 and many other families donated more land to make the park even larger. Lake Eola Park was officially declared a park in 1892.

The park has been the home for a horse race track, a pier, a zoo, tennis courts, and even the broadcast site of a local radio station. The foundation, which costs $10,000, was installed in 1912. However, it was later replaced by Centennial Fountain in 1957, which has a cost of $350K. It was replaced a third time in 2011 after getting struck by lightning. The current fountain cost $2.3 million.

In 1993, Lake Eola Park was expanded and the Post Parkside Apartments, along with Lee's Lakeside Restaurant became a part of the park. The expansion also included adding the International Food Court.

Another expansion came in 2013, which added an additional 1.36 acres of space, widened sidewalks, a large paved patio area, and new LED lighting. Six sculptures were also installed and Eola House was opened.

Lake Eola Park Things to Do

Lake Eola Park Farmers MarketThis iconic park offers plenty of things to do including the swan-shaped paddle boats, which you can rent and enjoy on Lake Eola. Children can plan at the playground and the famous fountain offers a popular spot to enjoy.

There is a mile-long walkway around the perimeter of the lake and the event amphitheater hosts several great events throughout the year. On Sundays, the Orlando Farmers Market takes over Lake Eola Park and provides plenty of produce, local crafts, and other goods. The farmers market also offers a beer garden and live music.

Events

Many residents come to Lake Eola Park for the great events held throughout the year. Every month, performances are held in the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Along with the events held in the amphitheater, Lake Eola Park hosts the Fireworks Over the Fountain July 4th celebration every year.

Spin City Classic is held in March here, which is an amateur bicycle race. It winds through the nearby streets and around the park. Another popular event held in November is the Fiesta in the Park, which includes 600 arts and crafts booths with plenty of food and entertainment.

The park is also known for hosting Tai Chi & Kung Fu classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings. Other events are also held here throughout the year.

Lake Eola Park offers a historic and very popular park for those living throughout downtown Orlando. It's a centerpiece of the community with plenty of things to do, a beautiful lake to enjoy, and an incredible amphitheater. Residents often attend events here and many living nearby frequent the park for the other amenities.

Posted in Orlando Blog
Dec. 4, 2019

Leu Gardens

Leu Gardens in Orlando FloridaCovering nearly 50 acres, the Harry P. Leu Gardens offer tropical and semi-tropical gardens near the communities of Audubon Park, Colonialtown, and Baldwin Park in Downtown Orlando. This Orlando attraction provides beautifully-landscaped grounds, lakes, trails, and two-century-old oak trees throughout. A 15-acre section has even been designated at a U.S. historic district called the Mizell-Leu House Historic District.

The Leu Gardens were started in 1936 by Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Leu. They purchased a 40-acre piece of land with a home from the 19th century. After traveling the world for many years and bringing home many exotic plans (240) the gardens were established. The home and gardens were later deeded to the city of Orlando in 1961.

The Leu House Museum

Along with the beautiful gardens, the property includes the Leu House Museum. This museum offers a look at the home the Leu's lived in, which has been restored and added to the National Historic Register. Guided tours are available for those seeking a closer look at turn-of-the-century living in Florida.

The museum details the history of the home dating back to the first owners, the Mizell Family in 1858. In addition to the first owners and the Leu's, the museum shows history from other owns including Duncan Pell and Helen Gardner and the Woodward Family.

The Gardens

Several gardens and areas are found throughout the property including many tropical plans and semi-tropical plans. The gardens provide many collections of plans including:Leu Gardens Orlando Florida

  • Aroids
  • Azaleas
  • Bamboo
  • Camellias
  • Crepe Myrtles
  • Ferns
  • Gingers
  • Hibiscus
  • Magnolias
  • Perennials
  • Trees
  • Vines
  • And More

The gardens found throughout provide a look at a large variety of plans. Each garden is well-manicured and cared for year-round in the most meticulous fashion. Gardens found throughout include:Leu Gardens

  • Annual Garden
  • Arid Garden
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Garden House
  • Herb Garden
  • Home Demonstration Garden
  • The Bird Garden
  • The Enabling Garden
  • The Shade Garden
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Native Wetland Garden
  • Palm Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • And More!

Many other collections and gardens are found throughout the property. Guests of the Harry P. Leu Gardens can use a camera phone with a QR reader to learn all about the gardens from posted signs throughout the property.

The Garden House Welcome Center

Another part of this Orlando attraction is The Garden House Welcome Center. This center offers rotating art exhibits, along with permanent exhibits. There's plenty of art to enjoy including the outdoor sculptures, the Flowers For Janet piece, and the Tree of Life Mosaic from Chrissie Mervin.

Posted in Orlando Blog