February 5, 2010
A popular destination in the heart of downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park offers swan-shaped paddle boat rentals, walking/jogging path, picnic tables, amphitheater and a playground. Another local favorite, the 300-acre Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, features boat rentals, nature trails, an outdoor pool, picnic areas and barbecue facilities. Nestled at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, Wekiwa Springs State Park provides a cool spring for swimming, boat rentals, hiking trails and picnic areas. Managed by The Nature Conservancy, the 12,000-acre Disney Wilderness Preserve borders scenic Lake Russell and provides a great locale for wildlife viewing, along with a one-mile hiking trail to the lake. The preserve, which protects the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, provides a home to bald eagles, sandhill cranes, gopher tortoises, Florida scrub-jays other other wildlife. Nature buffs will also love the Tibet-Butler Preserve, which offers miles of hiking trails and the Vera Carter Environmental Center.