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Lake Eola Park-Orlando

For many travelers, heading to sunny Orlando, Florida is an exercise in immersive Disney magic. It has become a wonderland of theme park locales, a dream come true for those traveling with children or who are simply kids at heart. Orland also offers up opportunities where visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature while still staying close to the city center for fun. Although rides and live entertainment are sure to inspire, Orland also offers up opportunities to indulge in the beauty of nature. Of all the places to explore, those excited to make the most of a scenic moment will find adding Lake Eola Park to your itinerary well worth their time when you’re in town.


One of Orlando’s most popular attractions is Lake Eola Park. Originally donated to the city by a wealthy local family, the agreement was that Orlando would beautify the land for public use or the family would take the property back. Jacob Summerlin, a cattle baron who came to Orlando in 1873, purchased the land where Lake Eola Park now stands. At the edge of the property was a sinkhole where a natural aquifer hid 200 feet underground. With the aquifer’s water filling the sinkhole from below and storm waters filling it from above, the sinkhole turned into a beautiful lake that was a very popular spot for local settlers to relax on hot, summer days. Originally referred to as Sandy Beach, the lake was renamed Lake Eola after the Summerlin family donated the land around the lake for public use. The city has maintained its commitment to the park’s amenities by continuously upgrading them since Lake Eola was declared a public park in 1888.


On this 23-acre site off East Washington Street, there is a walkway that circles the lake for nearly a mile. Located amid a bustling city, this sprawling park offers a sparkling space dedicated to nature, open from 6:00 am to midnight. The first fountain at Lake Eola was constructed for $10,000 by Orlando in 1912. Eventually, it became the focal point of postcards tourists sent to relatives and friends. After a few decades, it was time to replace the aging fountain, so the city installed the $350,000 “Centennial Fountain,” now called the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain in honor of its champion. Before it was struck by lightning in 2009, the fountain had delighted visitors for over fifty years. Because it’s such an iconic landmark around Orlando, the city invested $2 million in repairing and updating the fountain. Park visitors can now enjoy tumbling water and spraying jets during the day and watch the fountain’s choreographed nightly light show after dark.


Furthermore, swans have called Lake Eola home since 1922 when an Englishman raising swans on Lake Lucerne needed to separate two breeds of swans after a battle over territory. There are many species of swans living in the lake today, including Trumpeter, Black Neck, Whooper, Royal Mute, and Australian Black. Each year, the park holds a swan roundup to ensure the health of the famous lake residents. In the course of the roundup, swans are collected, examined by a veterinarian, and vaccinated against botulism. Swans are also microchipped, which allows the city to keep track of their medical records and also helps officials locate missing swans.


It also has so many beautiful birds that are a delight to watch. Watching the blue, white, and tri-color herrings is breathtaking. Believe it or not, most of these birds are bigger than the average toddler. However, visitors with small, curious kids should pay close attention to the kids since the birds can be a bit aggressive. Visitors are allowed to feed the swans, ducks, and other birds at the park. Birds at the park feed on spinach, romaine, or any other leafy veggie.


A day at Lake Eola Park comes with plenty of options for savoring your surroundings. Getting on one of the cute paddleboats available for hire is probably the best way to enjoy the lake at Eola Park. With 30-minute boat rides for around $15, you can explore the lake in all its corners in time, looking like elegant white swans and presumably fitting in with the scenery. On the way, you will also be able to see the iconic fountain in the middle up close.


There is also no better way to appreciate the tranquility of Lake Eola Park than to go for a picnic in the middle of nature. A picturesque view from the lake makes for an ideal location for an impromptu photo shoot. Lake Eola Park sits at a 43-acres, so visitors are bound to find the ideal picnic spot, whether on the lush green grass or at the Chinese Pagoda. This Chinese-Buddhist monument also has a cool LED light installation in the evenings. Guests are welcome to bring their picnic to Lake Eola, or if they prefer something a little more civilized restaurants are serving American-Mediterranean fare, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and fresh seafood. On Fridays from 6 to 8 pm, they offer an affordable beer and wine buffet.


Those looking for something more to do can visit during the many events hosted on park grounds, like the Orlando Farmers Market which displays handicrafts, locally sourced produce, plants, a pet section, ready-to-eat food, live music, and a beer garden. Fiesta in the Park, Fourth of July fireworks, and a multitude of other park events are also available throughout the year, including summer movie series and concerts at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. In addition, Lake Eola Park has steadily become one of the most popular places in downtown Orlando for martial arts, with Tai Chi and Kung Fu sessions running Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings, as well as yoga on Sundays at 11 am. These classes are all donation-based.


If you’re gearing up to visit Orlando, make sure you put Lake Eola Park in your plans. Whether you go to attend an event or simply walk the grounds, it’s not to be missed.

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