Lake Eola Downtown OrlandoDay Trips . Florida . Orlando . Road Trip Stops
Lake Eola Downtown Orlando
I’ve lived in the Orlando area most of my life. So, naturally, I’ve been to many places in Orlando, but there are very few places that I’ve been to more than once. Lake Eola is one that I’ve been to many times.
If you’re looking for a nice, quiet way to spend the day. This is it. Lake Eola offers a park for the kids, swan boats to pedal around the lake, small restaurants for food and drinks, and several spots to sit and picnic or read or do… whatever you do at a park.
The lake has the pretty fountain in the middle and is surrounded by a nice walkway. I’ve gone to Lake Eola several times to just walk around the lake to get my exercise in for the day. My son and I love to watch the geese bite people’s butts or play King of the Mountain on the little bridge.
We’ve also been a few times when there were art festivals or concerts. They decorate it up real pretty during Christmas time and a lot of local schools do holiday concerts here, I did when I was in high school chorus.
They’ve built nice little gardens and sculptures here. I swear it seems I see something new every single time I go. It’s a great place to spend a day, for sure.
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About Lake Eola Downtown Orlando
It all started with a sinkhole.
Upon his arrival in 1873, the “Cattle King of Florida” purchased 200 acres of land in what is now downtown Orlando. Shortly after his purchase, a sinkhole began forming on the edge of Jacob Summerlin’s property. Between that, a natural aquifer 200 feet below ground and flooding from storm waters, a lake was formed which settlers referred to as Sandy Beach.
In 1883, Summerlin attended a City Council meeting and donated a large tract of the land to the city, so long as they made it a beautiful park. With those stipulations, Summerlin built in reverter clauses that ensure the land would be turned over to his family again should the city fail to keep it beautiful.
The park was informally established in 1888 and the name changed to Lake Eola after Eola J. Allen, born in 1860. Some sources say she was Summerlin’s sweetheart, other sources say she was a friend of his sons. The area didn’t officially become a park until 1892.
Since becoming a park, Lake Eola has been the home of a zoo, a horse track, tennis courts, a pier for dancing, and a local radio station’s broadcast site. The fountain was installed in 1912 for $10,000. The famous Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain, aka Centennial Fountain, replaced it in 1957 at a cost of $350,000.
Lake Eola is located at 512 E. Washington Street in downtown Orlando. It is open daily from 6am to midnight. There isn’t a parking lot, per se, for the lake. But there are metered parking spaces street side and there are parking garages a short walk away. The park itself is free to visit. The Eola house offers a welcome center and gift shop and serves as a great place for meetings, conferences, bridal & baby showers, etc.
I didn’t typically use Roadtrippers to plan a stop at Lake Eola. Usually, my visit’s to the park were on the way to or from visiting a family member in a nursing home downtown. My son and I would stop there to get some fresh air and have a little outing before returning home.
It was a good place for him to interact with nature a bit and for us to get some exercise.
I definitely recommend visiting Lake Eola if you happen to be in the Orlando area. It’s nice little place to spend a few hours for a picnic or let the kids release some energy in the park.
Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Which part of the park is your favorite?
Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
P.S. If you happen to use travel journals, be sure to check out the travel journal I created for my future Orlando Day Trips.
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