Dickson Azalea Park-Orlando
Dickson Azalea Park has a lot of history in the Orlando area and it is the kind of little gem you always dream of stumbling upon when the traffic of I-4 has you wishing for greener sights. It was originally a watering hole for cattle herders. State Senator Walter Rose (1888-1958) purchased 40 acres of land here in 1916 and platted most of it for development. He set aside five acres adjacent to the creek for a park, called Senator Rose park, which he deeded to the City of Orlando in 1924. In 1933, the Civitan Club presented the City Council with a proposal to beautify the overgrown park and asked the city to rename it in honor of Colonel Henry Hill Dickson (1849-1935).
As an Orlando business pioneer and civic leader, Dickson devoted his energies to the beautification of Orlando and was instrumental in planting azaleas throughout the city. Camellias, magnolias, and moss-draped oaks are the other prevalent features of this park. In 1935, the ground was broken for the restoration of the overgrown property. Dickson Azalea Park was designated Historic Landmark in 1991 and officially became a City of Orlando park in 1924.
A major attraction in the park is the Washington Street Bridge, a South Florida-style structure built in 1926. During the Great Depression, Dickson Azalea Park was the first location of a garden center for the Orlando Garden Club, and it was during this time that this group and other organizations kept the park beautiful through the Works Progress Administration. Visitors can also enjoy a boardwalk and footbridge that offers beautiful views of Lake Rowena. Nature trails provide an opportunity for leisurely walks through the park’s many gardens, and benches are available for resting or simply taking in the sights.
For the duration of the war, the garden center was used by the Red Cross Defense Unit as a headquarters, an example of how the Garden Club helped out. Throughout the garden, you will find some of the original trees and azaleas that were planted in the 1930s. Other exotic plants, like the Japanese Garden and Camellia Collection, are also available. Over time, the park has undergone many changes, but its historical background has always been preserved. The bridge and the park were presented with state historic markers in April 2001, which highlighted their importance to the community.
Visitors can also cook their own food in the park’s picnic shelter equipped with grills. Unlike many other parks in the area, this park is not crowded during holidays, so you can spend them with your family and friends. Due to how peaceful the place is, you will definitely be able to destress and enjoy the serenity of nature. In addition, there are a few walking paths and a trail that can be used by those who enjoy taking walks. In case you feel the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Dickson Azalea Park is the ideal place to do so. Just be careful and keep your kids with you as there are some wildlife animals in the area.
While walking along the nature trails, visitors can also see many of the monuments erected in honor of Colonel Henry Hill Dickson. This monument was built in 1935 and dedicated to him for being a civic leader and business pioneer who contributed greatly to the beauty of the city. Daily hours of operation are sunrise to sunset, and admission is free or charge. There are also plenty of fun activities that can be enjoyed within the park, including fishing, hiking, bird-watching, picnicking and nature photography. Aside from that, the park also offers educational programs that introduce children to the environment. A great deal of emphasis is placed on teaching kids the importance of taking care of nature as well as helping to preserve its beauty. They are also open for field trips, camps, and other special events that provide a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn and discover.
As you stroll through the gardens of this Orlando gem remember its longstanding commitment to environmental conservation and its long history as a place of respite for all who visit. For those interested in learning more about the park’s past, a brochure detailing its background is available at the park’s office or online. But guided tours with volunteers from the Friends of Dickson Azalea Park are also offered every Saturday morning at 9 am. To join the tour, meet at the picnic shelter near the park entrance off Bumby Avenue. Tour participants will learn about the park’s history and be able to explore the surrounding area. The Friends of Dickson Azalea Park also host special events, such as movie nights and picnics, in the park throughout the year. Admission to these events is free and open to the public.
Additionally, the park is also popular for its picturesque outdoor weddings. More often, prenuptial photoshoots are also held at the park, making it one of the most popular wedding venues in town. The garden center and surrounding area of the park provide the perfect backdrop for special occasions such as wedding ceremonies, receptions, or other large celebrations. It will definitely make it worth the shot. But reservations for such events should be done in advance.
Dickson Azalea Park has been an important part of Orlando‘s history for almost 100 years. It is an oasis in the middle of an urban setting, and it is a testament to how even the most unlikely places can be turned into something beautiful with enough dedication and hard work. It’s easy to see why this park has been designated as a Historic Landmark, offering visitors a unique combination of natural beauty, history, and recreation opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax or just want to learn more about Colonel Dickson’s legacy, it’s worth taking the time to explore Dickson Azalea Park. With its picturesque scenery and rich history, there’s no doubt it will remain a favorite destination for years to come.