The Centerpiece of Orlando

picture of lake eola at night

As noted in the previous article, Orlando has a multitude of cultural activities one could partake all throughout the year.  Added to that, we also have a number of artistic boutiques and independent bookstores.  If one feels like strolling down the street during a calm Saturday afternoon, Lake Eola is a definite must-see.  A relaxing atmosphere surrounds you just off the banks of Lake Eola, as you stroll along the generous walkway around the water.  If you feel like stopping for a cup of coffee, window-shopping small galleries, or enjoying some afternoon ice cream dessert – it can all be found in and around the area of Lake Eola.

Lake Eola has been continuously updated ever since 1888 when Lake Eola was declared a public park.  Originally donated by the Summerlin Family, the agreement was contingent on the city beautifying the land for public use.

In 1922, an Englishman raising swans on Lake Lucerne needed to separate two breeds of swans after a battle over territory.  Because he chose Lake Eola to move them to, it is now home to a variety of swans including the species Black Neck, Whopper, Royal Mute, Trumpeter and Australian Black.\

Enjoying Lake Eola

Renting the swan boats to paddle across the lake makes for a lovely afternoon date.  If you’re into photography, you can take advantage of the abundant wildlife or wait for sundown hour to capture the sky lights across the water.

There are many events held in the Lake Eola area throughout the year.  Concerts, movies and plays are held throughout the year at the Walt Disney Amphitheater.

The first fountain to sit in the lake was built in 1912 for $10,000.  It became a popular focal point for postcards.  By the late 1950’s the now aging fountain was replaced by the “Centennial Fountain” for $350,000.  In 2009, this fountain was struck by lightning but because of its history to the city of Orlando, they spent two million dollars repairing and updating it.  During the day, park visitors can enjoy the tumbling water and spraying jets.  Be sure to come back after dark to enjoy the nightly light show choreographed to music.

Parking at Lake Eola

The Lake Eola area has a handful of parking options.  On the north side of the park is the Lake Eola Parking Garage.  This garage can get quite busy and some would consider the turns and parking spots to be ‘tight’.  If you drive a compact car, this is an easy option. 

On the east side of the lake is the Thornton Park Central Garage.  While it may be conveniently located, it is comparatively expensive and limited in access.

On the south side of the park is MAA Parkside Garage.  It’s most convenient to pay online for your parking here and it’s a five minute walk across to Lake Eola. 

On the southwest side of the park you’ll find the Library Garage.  Mainly used for those who are frequenting the downtown library, it is paid parking so you’re free to use it as needed.  From here it’s near a ten minute walk to Lake Eola, but this garage does feature security so there’s less worry for you in that aspect.

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