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The Butler Chain!


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Serving the greater Orlando FL, Kissimmee FL areas we bring the boats to the ramp, meet and greet you, take care of safety gear and boat operation. Once all is complete and you leave the dock your time starts, and we meet you back at the dock at the end of your rental. 

We primarily serve The Butler Chain of Lakes in Windermere just outside of Orlando FL. The ramp location is a beautiful facility – R.D. Keene Park with accommodations and free parking.  The lakes are home to celebs and billionaires with mansions like The Palace Of Versailles as well as clear water for swimming and tubeing.


Butler Chain of Lakes:

The Butler Chain of Lakes was formed as a result of a typical Florida occurrence known as topography which happens with others as the Conway Chain of lakes. The earths bottom called limestone, which underlies most of Florida, was slowly dissolved by water to form sinkholes. A series of sinkholes that formed over time produced the sparkling, pristine Butler Chain of Lakes. Many areas within the lakes can be as deep as 30 to 40 feet. The chain of lakes, Down, Wauseon Bay, Butler, Louise, Isleworth, Tibet-Butler, Chase, Blanche, Sheen, Pocket, and Fish, have been designated by the Department of Environmental Regulation of the State of Florida as “Outstanding Florida Waters” due to their excellent water quality and wildlife habitat.

Consisting of clear water, deep ledges, visible and submerge vegetation, the Butler chain offers a wide variety of lure options as well as year round fishing. Schooling bass are found almost year round allowing for exciting top water action at times. Finesse techniques are also excellent choices, that are used for water that can be clear enough to see 10 ft deep on a sunny day. Techniques used for finesse fishing can be drop shot, wacky rigging for artificial fishing and shiners or shad for livebait among others.

Welcome to Butler Boat Rental and Tours. Home of luxury boat tours on the pristine Butler Chain of Lakes. Situated just 15 minutes away from Orlando's major tourist attractions and International Drive, yet a million miles away in terms of tranquility and relaxation. We invite you to come and see "The Real Florida". Nature at it's stunning best.
Best times to fish the Butler chain are from October through May. This time of the year offers quality size bass in the 3-8lb range and good numbers of fish caught each day. Boat traffic can be difficult on weekends, but the cooler winter temperatures keep recreational boaters to a minimum.
Although, live bait can be used on this chain, it is a very popular Orlando fishing locations for artificial because of the wide variety of techniques available to catch pre-spawn, spawning and post spawn bass. This chain is excellent for anglers from the North and from Japan who are accustomed to deep clear water while using spinning tackle with light line. Another plus is the location of the chain which is located just minutes from Disney and Universal Studios.

The Butler Chain of Lakes covers almost 5000 acres. It's 13 lakes are linked with narrow canals that weave through the Spanish Moss covered Cypress Trees. Flora and fauna abound as the canals lead into the picture perfect lakes.

Buying a Pontoon Boat or a Deck Boat?

So, you want a versatile boat that handles easily, features plenty of seating and storage, and is designed to be able to bring along a big crew? Sounds like you may have already narrowed down your choices to two choices that are among the fastest-growing segments in the entire boating industry: pontoons and deck. Since the very first aluminum pontoon was introduced in 1958 at the Chicago World’s Fair (it was a Sanpan), boaters have been drawn to their unapologetically simple design, ease of use and the no-frills ability to get lots of folks aboard to get the party started. Back in those days, you broke out the folding lawn chairs, fired up the charcoal grill, and slowly putt-putted your tiny outboard to the nearest cove of like-minded revelers.

Along with the abundance of freshwater fish, Butler Chain of Lakes is also home to a variety of wildlife including Alligators, Osprey, Blue Heron, The Snowy Egret, Bald Eagles, Pelicans, Hawk Owls, River Otters, Turtles, Raccoons, Armadillos and Bird Island which is a protected bird sanctuary.

Similarly, the deck boat concept really started in 1974 when a company called Hurricane started building a fiberglass V-style hull to add better performance and handling, but still retain the a pontoon-style topside and wide-open floor plan that people loved so much about pontoons. It was so popular, in fact, that the first deck boat (called FunDeck) has been in constant production ever since. But my, how times have changed. These two boat types have come a long way and have been refined to the point that they really stack up against any other powerboat style. And today, they really go head-to-head when families are in the market for a new boat. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each.

The multi-million dollar properties that you will see are home to many leading sportsmen and celebrities. Lake Butler is home to "Versaille", which is reported to be the largest private residence in America, although still under construction. "Versaille" was recently the subject of a 2 hour documentary.


This is perhaps the most subjective part of comparing pontoons and deck boats, and it all comes down to your personal tastes and what turns your head. Today’s pontoons are tricked out with coordinated graphics, a choice of rail skin colors, high-quality vinyl seats, and tough and attractive marine-grade carpet. But since every inch of a pontoon is built for maximum seating and storage, some folks find them a little utilitarian. Today’s deck boats are designed similarly to other fiberglass runabouts, but with the bow section carried as far forward as possible to accommodate more folks in the forward seating area. You’ll see coordinated upholstery accents, bimini tops and carpet, and the exterior graphics tend to be a little bolder. Many deck boats also have integrated wake tower options, which adds a distinct watersports profile.


With a fiberglass, V-style hull, you typically would compare the handling of a deck boat to a similarly sized open-bow boat. Look for a stable ride at all speeds, little or no bowrise, and superior turning at higher speeds. The option of outboard or I/O propulsion is a big plus for deck boats as well, depending on your needs. Even with a full load, pontoon boats (by design) are going to plane easily with less horsepower than a deck boat. Sharp turns are helped by the addition of hydraulic steering systems, but you will still cut a wider swath in a pontoon, unless you choose a performance model with triple (center) tube system, which provides extra buoyancy and stability.


Both styles of boats truly shine when it comes to the ability to do a lot of different things on the water. Fishing, watersports, cruising, camping, entertaining, etc. are all right in the wheelhouse of pontoons and deck boats. In fact, depending on your family’s needs, there are all sorts of different packages to dial in your preferred activities, such as rod holders, tackle storage and livewells for more hardcore anglers. If you’re like most folks considering one of these boats, though, you will find that the basic features will serve you well, and allow you to fish in the morning, pull the kids on tubes in the afternoon, and finish the day with a beautiful sunset cruise.

Windermere, Florida – Adventuresome for the first time visitors seeking flora and fauna or savvy Orlando travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path vacation experience won’t be disappointed when they discover the Butler Chain Of Lakes Scenic Boat Tour.

Located on The Butler Chain Of Lakes in the quiet suburb less than 20 minutes from downtown Orlando, the boat tour offers cruises through three of the elen lakes and cannals on the tranquil chain.

On any given tour, participants may observe large cranes swooping waterside to snag a large fish or a lazy alligator languishing on a nearby bank. Every tour, however, guarantees plenty of swaying palms, towering cypress trees, lush ferns and a variety of flourishing sub-tropical flowers. Breathtaking views of opulent private homes and exquisite estates sprawling along the shores are also a key feature of the scenic cruise.

Ease Of Operation

In the world of trailer boating, you really can’t get much easier than pontoons and deck boats. With their stable platforms both are fairly easy to master when it comes to everything from launching and retrieving to cruising out on the water. Look for a raised helm or a captain’s seat that features a fold-up bolster to increase visibility. Pull-up cleats conveniently installed around the deck will make it a cinch to pull up and dock from any angle. Make sure you’ve got docking lights for bringing the boat in safely in the evening, and an all-off master switch to make sure you don’t run down your battery when you leave the boat.

For more info on the two, visit our Boat Types page

pontoon is a flotation device with buoyancy sufficient to float itself as well as a heavy load. A pontoon boat is a flattish boat that relies on pontoons to float. Pontoons may be used on boats, rafts, barges, docks, airboats, hovercrafts, floatplanes or seaplanes. Pontoons may support a platform, creating a raft. A raft supporting a house-like structure is a houseboat. A fixed platform can be used as a dock. Common boat designs are a catamaran with two pontoons, or a trimaran with three. Pontoons may be simply constructed from sealed cylinders such as pipes or barrels, or fabricated as boxes from metal or concrete. Pontoon boat drafts may be as shallow as eight inches, which reduces risk of running aground and underwater damage. The pontoon effect is when a large force applied to the side capsizes a pontoon boat without much warning, particularly a top-heavy boat.

Pontoon boats for pleasure boating and fishing can be low cost for their capacity, and cheaper to insure than other boats, even when equipped with substantial engines.

Kissimmee is home to over 50 individual lakes and the best way to navigate these lush waters is by boating.  The largest and best known being the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, famous for one of the world's best bass fisheries, and the Alligator Chain of Lakes, also known for excellent bass fishing.  These groups of lakes are connected by a series of canals and waterways, making it easy for boaters to travel from one lake to the other.  With parks and marinas in various locations around the beautiful Central Florida lakes, boat ramps are available at a dock near you. 

There is nothing more relaxing than spending a beautiful day on the water.  Boating in Kissimmee is a great way to combine sightseeing and excitement.  Enter and discover a new world where alligators roam freely and exotic bird mingle among tropical vegetation.  You may even spot a few American Bald Eagles soaring through the sky.    

Let someone else take the wheel as you glide along the water in a thrilling airboat tour through the headwaters of the Florida Everglades near Orlando.  Airboats tours take you to some of the most remote and scenic sites in Florida, not accessible to ordinary boats.  

From Lake Toho to Lake Kissimmee, the water is calling you to come out and play.


Small inflatable pontoon boats are one or two man, catamaran type boats, designed for leisure and fishing. Their pontoons are made out of abrasion resistant PVC and nylon with aluminum, steel and/or plastic frames for support. They are powered with paddles, oars and often with electric trolling motors using deep cycle lead batteries. Commonly they are equipped with motor mount, battery storage area, fishing rod holders, canopy, fishfinder mount, small anchor and other required fishing gear. Such boats are suitable for ponds, lakes, rivers and seas during calm weather. However, due to light weight, they are susceptible to waves and windy conditions. Nonetheless, such boats are often used even for big game fishing.

Pontoon boats are used as small vehicle ferries to cross rivers and lakes in many parts of the world, especially in Africa. Pontoon ferries may be motorised, such as theKazungula Ferry across the Zambezi River, or powered by another boat, or pulled by cables. A type of ferry known as the cable ferry ("punts" was what they were called in the medieval times and in modern Australia and New Zealand) pull themselves across a river using a motor or human power applied to the cable, which also guides the pontoon.

The flotation tubes of RIB (rigid inflatable boats) are often referred to as pontoons.

By Bill Jefferson, Past Commander Cape Coral Power Squadron /Posted November 2014

Tips for preparing your pets for a safe boat trip
Read more ...

How to Raise a Canoeing Cat

By Emma Deans, / Posted on October 21, 2014

Emma Deans, catnoeist extraordinaire, checks in with some tips for training adventure-loving pets.

Travelling With Pets: Cruising With Cats

By Birgit Hackl,

When people hear we cruise with our cat they're often astonished or appalled. 'Cats are attached to the house, not to people' and 'not enough space' they say. Our cat Leeloo is part of the family, not less clingy than a dog (just more obstinate) and she moved house with us seven times in four countries. Her reaction was always the same: The cat jumps out of the transport box, inspects the new premises. "Nice place, where the cat flap?" Clip clap, out into the garden, then back in. "Ok, we stay!"  

How To Canoe With Your Dog

By Denny Lange,

One of the first things to remember is your dog is going to move about the canoe. Larger dogs are going to upset the canoe as they move around, so be prepared for that shift in weight. 

It's A Dog's Life (Jacket!)

by Chris Edmonston, Foundation Findings #52

The last thing we want is for Fido to fall overboard, creating panic onboard, and a potential safety nightmare. Fitting him for a life jacket is easy – really! – if you follow a few simple tips. 

The Pup Cup - Bravery, bribery, and barking—all in a day’s work for these contestants

by Diane M. Byrne, Power and Motoryacht Magazine, May 2007


This is definitely not your ordinary talent contest. "Border collies do it with a herd—vote for Kylie!" reads one sign held by a contestant's companion. A dreadlock-wigged entourage, save for one member in a blonde wig, accompanies a natural-blonde contestant who originates from the small island of Culebra off Puerto Rico. And a third competitor, about the same size as the tiny trophy he gets to take home just for participating, tries to bribe the judges by presenting them with a fresh lobster. 

Salty Paws - Do Cats Make Good Mariners?

by Ron Stob, America's Great Loop Cruisers Association, March 2006

Jean and Garret Mulder have, Skipper, their fluffy Bichon Frise aboard their 40-foot Nova, Boat of Us, and their pooch seems to be perfectly at home, deporting himself circumspectly. Dogs are fairly common boating companions, but what about cats? Do they make good mariners?

Ed and Carol Huff aboard Vera Segunda, a 32-foot Grand Banks, wrote, "It feels as though everything revolves around Pearl, the boat cat. She is most entertaining. At anchor she spends the evenings running around the decks fearlessly. In a full run she will leave the bow and race to the dinghy on the stern, then leap up onto the boom and walk back to the cabin top. When the dinghy is in the water behind us, she will leap from the boat to the dinghy and snuggle down in the bow. She likes to walk on the handrails around the boat, which scares the daylights out of us. We know one day she will slip in the early morning dew and get a good dunking.

Hurricane - Are Your Pets Prepared?

The HSUS Offers Preparedness Tips for Pet Owners, August 2004

WASHINGTON — One important lesson from Hurricane Charley is that storm paths are unpredictable, and many people in the direct path were not prepared to meet their pets’ needs, perhaps because they did not think the storm would affect them. And, as HSUS disaster experts discovered, many families evacuated their homes but left their pets behind. As Hurricane Frances nears the East Coast, The HSUS urges families with pets to prepare for their pets needs now in case the storms hit their community. 

Ahoy, Fluffy How to Keep Pets Safely Afloat

Ann Cameron Siegal  - Special to The Washington Post July 7, 2002

Ed Johnson of Washington knows from experience that waxed fiberglass decks and running dogs don't mix. His 125-pound Great Dane, Isabella, made quite a splash when she plunged unexpectedly into the Potomac. Isabella now sports a bright yellow life jacket whenever she is topside on his 35-foot sailboat.

How Safe Is That Doggie In The Water?

BoatUS Magazine - Foundation Findings November 2000

If it’s true that dog owners tend to look and think like their pets, then canines must be safety- conscious indeed. How else would you explain the sudden popularity of life jackets for dogs? PFDs, pet flotation devices — most often for dogs but also for cats and a few other animals — were among the hottest-selling items of boating equipment this year. Even as this boating season winds down, there is every indication that sales are still wagging the dog. 

Dogs Trained To Find People - Even Underwater

By Allison Batdorff - Billings Gazette

Wyoming Bureau Criminals, beware: Throwing off the bloodhounds by wading across the river doesn't work. Bailey the Airedale knows that trick. So does Windla the German shepherd, Buddy the golden retriever and several shades of Labradors. With practice, these dogs can find people hiding at the bottom of a lake. They are doing that in a search-dog course conducted Tuesday and today in Cody. Organized by Park County handler K.T. Irwin, the course gives search dogs training to find people, dead or alive.

The Clermont Chain:

The Clermont chain of lakes is a chain of lakes centered on Clermont, Florida. The chain is orientated from southeast to northwest and fed primarily by streams and groundwater flow. They make up the middle part of the Palatlakaha River watershed which forms the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River. The lakes are notable for their red to tea-colored water from tannic acid. US 27 parallels the chain to the east.

The three largest lakes, Louisa, Minnehaha, and Minneola constitute the main part of the chain.


Lake Louisa
Location Lake County, Florida
Coordinates 28.4810°N 81.7398°W
Lake type natural freshwater lake
Basin countries United States
Max. length 3.29 miles (5.29 km)
Max. width 2.24 miles (3.60 km)
Surface area 3,573 acres (1,446 ha)
Max. depth 16 feet (4.9 m)
Surface elevation 85 feet (26 m)

Louisa the largest lake, is shallow and flat-bottomed at around 10 feet. It features Lake Louisa State Park on its southern shore. The rest of the lakeshore is developed with suburban subdivisions. Through the park flows the primary inflows of the lake. Little Creek originates from the Lake/Polk County border and Big Creek starts from the area of the Green Swamp adjacent to the Lake Wales Ridge around Lake Lowery in Polk County as Green Swamp Run.

From the north end of Lake Louisa flows Crooked Creek into Lake Susan, a small lake with similar depth to Lake Louisa surrounded by swampland. There is a public boat ramp on Crooked Creek.


Lake Minnehaha
Location Lake County, Florida
Coordinates 28.5332°N 81.7656°W
Lake type natural freshwater lake
Basin countries United States
Max. length 2.56 miles (4.12 km)
Max. width 1.75 miles (2.82 km)
Surface area 2,410.76 acres (976 ha)
Max. depth 18 feet (5.5 m)
Surface elevation 95 feet (29 m)

A short river connects Lake Susan to Lake Minnehaha, the second largest lake. Minnehaha averages 14 feet in depth with areas over 18 feet deep. Lake Minnehaha is more developed than Louisa with suburban housing along all but a bay on its northwest shoreline, Cypress Cove, which is swampland unsuitable for development.

From Lake Minnehaha a neck connects it to Lake Palatlakaha which is undeveloped except for an active adult community on its eastern shore. A canal connects Lake Palatlakaha to Lake Hiawatha, also mostly undeveloped aside from the Clermont community of Hiawatha Shores and the former Jahna West Clermont Sand Mine which is being converted into a community on the south shore.


Lake Minneola
Location Lake County, Florida
Coordinates 28.5753°N 81.7684°W
Lake type natural freshwater lake
Basin countries United States
Max. length 2.24 miles (3.60 km)
Max. width 2.19 miles (3.52 km)
Surface area 1,890 acres (765 ha)
Surface elevation 81 ft (25 m)
Lake Minneola

A neck separates Lake Hiawatha from Lake Minneola the third largest lake in the chain and the deepest at around 18 feet in depth with parts close to downtown Clermont approaching near 30 feet in depth. Minneola is also the most developed lake with downtown Clermont and Minneola along its south and eastern shores. The Palatlakaha River flows out of Crystal Cove on its northwest shore. There is a public boat ramp and swimming area on Waterfront Park.

Smaller Lakes

Among the main chain of lakes are smaller lakes connected to them.

Dixie Lake is the largest lake within Lake Louisa State Park and during high water levels flows into Big Creek. There are rental cabins on its south shore.

Crescent Lake in the suburb of South Clermont is connected to Lake Minnehaha via Lake Hattie and Lake Williamee through a canal connecting the four. Crescent Lake has a bay at its south end, Crescent Cove separated by private island. Hattie lake is round-shaped and has 3 private community boat ramps. Williamee is mostly shallow and plant covered.

Lake Winona in Clermont is on a peninsula separating Minneola from Minnehaha, it's connected to Minnehaha by a canal which it is of similar depth to with deeper areas like Minneola.

Northern Chain

North of the main chain the Palatlakaha River is lined with 8 lakes the surrounding area of which is within the city of Groveland.

Hunt and Cook lakes are undeveloped and surrounded by swampland. Cherry Lake is the 4th largest lake and has rural development on its north shore. It approaches 18 feet in depth averaging 10 feet. Hunt and Stewart Lake are like Cherry Lake with rural development on their north side and swampland on their south side. There is a water level control dam between Hunt and Cherry Lakes.

Lakes Lucy and Emma are surrounded by rural development and sandy hills. Lucy is around 10 feet in depth while Emma is deeper at 14 feet. Heart Lake is separated from the Palatlakaha River by a dike with a water level control dam in it. After Heart Lake the Palatlakaha River flows to Lake Harris.

1795 Taylor Rd, Port Orange | 352-795-6798
Located in Port Orange, Cracker Creek offers one of the most "Florida" experiences in the area. Rent canoes or kayaks and float down the brackish of the Spruce River. Be on the lookout for manatee, gators, osprey, heron, jumping mullet, and more. 

There's an old saying that goes something like "The two happiest days in a boat owner's life is the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it." So, obviously renting boats is the way to go. Here in Central Florida, spending a day on a boat you don't own is way cheaper than you think. Whether it's splitting the cost with your friends for a day on a pontoon boat, fishing all morning on a rented canoe or kayak, or taking in a swampy cruise on an airboat, we live in one of the best places to get out on the water for cheap.

A long time ago (well, May 16) in a City Beautiful, all of the stars geared up to fight a war ... a war to see who was the Best of Orlando.

And now the people of Orlando have spoken! Read of their triumph on the following pages, where we list the victors in the many battles of Local Color, Music + Nightlife, Food + Drink, Arts + Culture, Sports + Recreation and Goods + Services.

We'd also like to hang medals around the necks of the following:

Writers: Tyler Barney, Monivette Cordeiro, Faiyaz Kara, Seth Kubersky, Kyle Eagle, Bao Le-Huu, Thaddeus McCollum, Matthew Moyer, Xander Peters, Colin Wolf and Jessica Bryce Young ate, drank, danced, looked, learned and listened their way through the city for the past year to cull our Writers' Picks. Editors McCollum, Moyer and Young also took on the herculean task of tallying our voters' voices in the Readers Poll.

Fact-checkers: Monivette Cordeiro, Larissa Hamblin, Paola Perez, Xander Peters and Megan Scavo

Photos and design: Photographer Rob Bartlett, who took the out-of-this-world pictures, and Melissa McHenry who put it all together with flair

Locations: Many, many thanks to the proprietors of Orlando Meats, Shots Bar, TopGolf, WestArt District and Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Conway for allowing us to shoot our section openers in their establishments.

Digital: ... and Colin Wolf uploaded all of it to the website.

The stars of our issue this year are the cosplayers, without whom none of it would have been possible. Endless gratitude to you, Rebels and Imperials both.


Who are you? I am Ashley Kitzman-Ortiz Ball, born in Oahu, Hawaii. I attended the University of Central Florida, where I earned my bachelor's degree in hospitality. Costume designing is my life's passion. When I am not working on my latest creation, I help out as a seamstress with local theaters and enjoy being an entertainment professional throughout Florida. I love my friends, I crave a great brunch and I always keep an eye on the future.

Why do you love Star Wars? My mother had a huge love for Star Wars. So naturally, as a child I was introduced to the fantasy worlds of the movie franchise. Luckily I was to be old enough to understand it and to attend the first theatrical showings of the second trilogy, The Phantom Menace. I have to be honest, I fell in love with the costumes more than anything – Padme Amidala especially caught my attention. Star Wars and its multitude of amazing characters and costumes fired my passion to want to create and wear them. The older I grew the more I loved the overall story and never ending characters from which to emulate.

What is your favorite thing about Orlando? I love that Orlando is always filled with unique events and themed parties, it's never boring. I meet so many amazing people from all over that are just as weird as me.

How did you get started in cosplay? Like any child growing up, I wanted to wear the costumes that my favorite characters on the big screen were wearing. It wasn't until my mother taught me how to sew that I realized I could make my wants a reality. I picked up the skills and made things that I always wanted. My first cosplay creation was Tia Dalma from Pirates of the Caribbean, and after wearing it to my first MegaCon in 2007, I was hooked. I love my attention to detail; I normally make costumes that are very detail-oriented and difficult to do.


Who are you? I'm Kevin Ball, a Hollywood stuntman who has spent much of my adult life doubling famous actors and pretending to be characters created by professional writers. Though the movie world pays the bills, my second passion is working with global humanitarian organizations. I have been on location in over 30 countries across the world advocating for NGOs in the areas of human trafficking, humanitarian landmine removal and children's surgical missions.

Why do you love Star Wars? I saw A New Hope with my father in 1977 when it first came to theaters. I was 7 years old. Its stories and toys defined my young mind and became a permanent fixture of my adult life. To this day, over 40 years from the films release, I still collect items from the franchise, and I'm excited beyond belief to see new generations of Star Wars fans get lost as I did, in the "Galaxy Far, Far Away."

What is your favorite thing about Orlando? I'm a native to Orlando. As a teen I hoped to move away from my home like many youthful people do, but age brought wisdom to my young mind. Orlando is a cultural melting pot of ideals, passions, arts, food and love. I have traveled across the country and across the globe and have yet to meet our town's equal.

How did you get started in cosplay? Simply stated, my wife introduced me to it. It is an opportunity to shed your everyday image and to don a persona that can remove you from your normal routine. It's adult dress up, and it's fun.

KYLO REN (also BB-8’s “owner”)

Who are you? Sam Falco, filmmaker, prop builder and costumer.

Why do you love Star WarsStar Wars for me is the pinnacle of what fantasy can provide. It whisks you away to an entirely different world full of bizarre and amazing things that both delight you and, at the same time, challenge you.

What is your favorite thing about Orlando? My favorite thing about Orlando is easily the culture. There's just an overwhelming sense of artistic liberty in this city that few other places have. You can drive down the street and see gorgeous graffiti art that has been left in place for years and become a staple of the community. Theater, film, painting, music, it's all embedded into this town, and that's fantastic to be part of.

How did you get started in cosplay? I got started in cosplay as a result of my endeavors into filmmaking, I think. I would make props and costumes for projects I was working on, and really get a kick out of the stuff but I never had a place to showcase them. When I discovered the convention scene, though, that gave me this amazing opportunity to meet other artists like myself and actually show off this stuff I loved to make. It sort of just snowballed from there.


Who are you? I’m Doug Merritt, Chosen One Cosplay (Instagram: @chosen1_cosplay) –husband, father, friend.

Why do you love Star Wars? I grew up watching the original trilogy. I always loved the story and depth of the Darth Vader character.

What is your favorite thing about Orlando? Its diversity and creative spirit.

How did you get started in cosplay? Through a volunteer charity organization called Guardians of Justice, created to bring smiles to special needs children


Who are you? My name is Aaron Barnhill. I am originally from Nebraska and moved to Orlando in 1984.

Why do you love Star Wars? I love Star Wars for its action, adventure, romance, betrayal, and good triumphs over evil. I also love the toys that Star Wars produced, and how it affects lives in different ways: Like for me, Star Wars and the Southern R2 Builders gave me the inspiration to build a life-size R2-D2.

What is your favorite thing about Orlando? Disney for one, and how much diversity Orlando has.

How did you get started in cosplay? Well, R2 isn't cosplay [Barnhill isn't inside the R2-D2 suit; he runs it by remote control]. It is more of a hobby that brings smiles to everyone.


Orlando, a city in central Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Chief among its claims to fame is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks. Another major destination, Universal Orlando, offers Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter straddling both.
Elevation: 82′
Population: 280,257 (2017)
Area code: 407

Orlando is home to more than 148 beautiful parks, gardens, recreation areas, neighborhood centers and playgrounds.


Airport Lakes Park


7098 Shadowridge Drive, Orlando, FL 32812

Airport Lakes Park provides both active and passive recreational amenities. Its located just off of SR436 near the Orlando International Airport.

Tagged as : Park

Al Coith Park

901 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL 32806

Located just to the south of Downtown Orlando, Al Coith Park offers open space and oak-shaded areas.

Tagged as : Park

Albert Park

2400 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

Albert Park is located on 2400 Edgewater Drive. The park has a gazebo, picnic tables and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Beardall Senior Center


800 South Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Beardall Senior Center

Tagged as : Recreation Facility, Community Center

Big Tree Park

930 N Thornton Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

Big Tree Park is located on 930 North Thornton Avenue. Likely between 350 and 400 years old, the oldest tree in Orlando is located here.

Tagged as : Park

Bill Frederick Park At Turkey Lake


3401 South Hiawassee Road, Orlando, FL 32835

Bill Frederick Park covers 183 acres of land alongside Turkey Lake, one of the top-five rated fishing lakes in the state of Florida. The park is designed for nature lovers and provides families, organizations and community groups with several recreational activities and scenic views.

Tagged as : Park

Blankner Field


2500 South Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32806

Blankner Field is located on 2500 South Mills Avenue. The field has restrooms and water fountains for visitors to use.

Tagged as : Park

Blue Jacket Park


2501 General Rees Avenue, Orlando, FL 32814

Blue Jacket Park is a popular site for baseball, soccer and softball. It is home to many events such as fundraising walks, 5k runs, wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and company picnics.

Tagged as : Park

Callahan Neighborhood Center


101 North Parramore Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Callahan Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Checker Park

619 S Parramore Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Checker Park is located on 619 South Parramore Avenue.

Tagged as : Park

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Cherokee Park

525 Cherokee Drive, Orlando, FL 32801

Cherokee Park is located on 525 Cherokee Drive. The park has open space and on street parking.

Tagged as : Park

Cherry Tree Park


2725 E Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32803

This neighborhood park is located at the intersection of Primrose Drive and Jackson Street, close to the Orlando Executive Airport. Almost one acre in size, its playground, pavilion, and open space are very popular with neighborhood families. Picnic tables and grills are available in shaded areas and beneath the pavilion.

Tagged as : Park

Citrus Square Neighborhood Center


5624 Hickey Drive, Orlando, FL 32822

Citrus Square Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Clear Lake Park

2301 29th Street, Orlando, FL

Clear Lake Park is located on 2301 29th Street. The park has a playground, fitness station and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

College Park Neighborhood Center


FL 32803

Colonialtown Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Swimming Pools & Water Play, Community Center

Colonialtown Square Park

820 N Fern Creek Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Colonialtown Square Park is located on 820 North Fern Creek Avenue. The park is home to a lush garden and old shade trees.

Tagged as : Park

Constitution Green

300 S Summerlin Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Constitution Green is located on 300 South Summerlin Avenue. The park is home to one of the oldest trees in Orlando.

Tagged as : Park

Dartmouth Park

dartmouth park

822 Dartmouth Street, Orlando, FL 32804

Dartmouth Park is a quiet oasis in the middle of College Park. Just over 3 acres in size, the park and its playground are popular among neighborhood families for picnics and children’s birthday parties.

Tagged as : Park

Delaney Park

Delaney Park Fountain

1055 Delaney Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Delaney Park is one of Orlando’s oldest parks. Originally called Duckworth Park, the name was changed in 1959 to Delaney Park. Delaney Park is 7.25 acres of a blend of oak-shaded areas, ball fields, open space, playgrounds and picnic facilities. Limited parking is available on side streets.

Tagged as : Park

Demetree Park

Bridget at Demetree Park

650 Santiago Avenue, Orlando, FL 32807

Demetree Park is a 24.6-acre park encompasses three lakes linked by a system of walks and boardwalks. The boardwalk winds through a wooded area offering a natural environment for walking, bird watching and resting. More developed areas of the park include a fishing pier, playground, picnic areas, tennis court and basketball court.

Tagged as : Park

Dickson Azalea Park

100 Rosearden Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

Dickson Azalea Park offers an oasis for those who want to enjoy its shady trees, picturesque landscape, beautiful birds and flowing water.

Tagged as : Park

Don Dudley Park

851 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

Don Dudley Park offers scenic open space and relaxing views.

Tagged as : Park

Dover Shores Neighborhood Center

Exterior of Dover Shores Neighborhood Center

1400 Gaston Foster Road, Orlando, FL 32812

Dover Shores Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Swimming Pools & Water Play, Community Center

Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center

1723 Bruton Boulevard, Orlando, FL

Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Centers, Swimming Pools & Water Play

Eagles Nest Park

Covered picnic tables

5165 Metrowest Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32811

Eagles Nest Park is a great place to visit for a picnic, bird watching and a walk on our pleasant paved walkways.

Tagged as : Park

Emery Hamilton Sports Complex

Multi-purpose field for football or other sports

4400 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808

Emery Hamilton Sports Complex

Tagged as : Recreation Facility, Park

Engelwood Neighborhood Center

6123 La Costa Drive, Orlando, FL

Engelwood Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Centers, Swimming Pools & Water Play

Englewood Park

6050 Lake Underhill Road, Orlando, FL 32807

Englewood Park has a grilling area and playground for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Festival Park

Sand Volleyball at Festival Park

2911 East Robinson Street, Orlando, FL 32803

Festival Park is 16 acres of flexible open space used for a variety of activities. The open fields are available for special events and are also used informally by the neighborhood. The volleyball courts are very popular and are available on a first-come first-served basis.

Tagged as : Park

Gaston Edwards Park

1236 N Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL

Gaston Edwards Park has a grilling area, playground, fitness station and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

George Barker Park

Barker Park Playground

2000 Monte Carlo Trail, Orlando, FL 32805

George Barker Park is located on the north shore of Clear Lake, a cypress-lined lake populated with water birds and popular with boaters using the lake for fishing. The seven-acre neighborhood park has three pavilions, boat ramp, two fishing piers, playground, basketball court, volleyball court, restroom and two parking lots.

Tagged as : Park

Gilbert McQueen Park

650 W Lake Mann Drive, Orlando, FL 32805

Gilbert McQueen Park is named in honor of the first African-American from Orlando killed in the Korean War. The park has a grilling area, playground and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Grand Avenue Park

700 Grand Street, Orlando, FL 32805

Grand Avenue Park has a grilling area, playground and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Greenwood Urban Wetlands

1411 Greenwood Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Greenwood Urban Wetlands is filled with tall Cypress trees and wildlife, with a paved trail that goes around the lake for you to enjoy with family and friends – two and four legged alike.

Tagged as : Park

Guernsey Park

1320 Guernsey Street, Orlando, FL

Guernsey Park has open space, a playground and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Hankins Park Neighborhood Center

1340 Lake Park Court, Orlando, FL 32805

Hankins Park Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Harbor Park

4990 New Broad St., Orlando, FL 32814

Harbor Park provides a scenic waterfront with many benches for discovering nature and watching sunsets.

Tagged as : Park

Ivanhoe Plaza Park

510 Shady Lane Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

Ivanhoe Plaza Park is a quiet oasis with beautiful and relaxing views.

Tagged as : Park

Ivey Lane Neighborhood Center

291 Silverton Street, Orlando, FL 32811

Ivey Lane Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Ivey Lane Park

291 Silverton Street, Orlando, FL 32811

Ivey Lane Park has a playground, picnic tables and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Jackson Neighborhood Center

1002 West Carter Street, Orlando, FL 32805

Jackson Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

L. Claudia Allen Senior Center

1840 Mable Butler Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805

L. Claudia Allen Senior Center

Tagged as : Community Centers

La Costa Urban Wetlands

5814 LaCosta Drive, Orlando, FL 32807

La Costa Urban Wetlands is a quiet oasis with open space and paved walking trails.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Adair Park

995 Lake Adair Blvd, Orlando, FL 32804

Lake Adair Park has beautiful views of nature and bird watching.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Baldwin Park

2380 Lake Baldwin Lane, Orlando, FL

Lake Baldwin Park has scenic views with trails for bikes, walking and jogging.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Beauty Park

50 W Miller Street, Orlando, FL 32806

Lake Beauty Park is a peaceful oasis in an urban setting. The park has paved walking paths and scenic views.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Cherokee Park

474 Palmer Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Lake Cherokee Park is a quiet oasis with scenic views of surrounding nature.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Como Park


520 Lake Como Circle, Orlando, FL 32803

This park surrounds the lake that is the centerpiece of the Lake Como neighborhood. Located at the intersection of Lake Como Circle and Bumby Avenue, Lake Como Park provides a natural oasis in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Davis Park

723 Lake Davis Drive, Orlando, FL

Lake Davis Park has walking trails, open space and views of the lake for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Druid Park


899 Coy Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

Lake Druid Park’s 19 acres were transferred by the U.S. Navy to the City in 2009 through the Federal Lands to Parks program. Lake Druid Amenities include a mountain bike area with a pump track, junior pump track and single track trail, fenced dog run and community garden site.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Emerald Park

1016 Lake Weldona Dr, Orlando, FL 32806

Lake Emerald Park is located on 1016 Lake Weldona Drive.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Eola Park


512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Lake Eola Park is the City's main urban park located in the heart of Downtown Orlando.

Tagged as : Recreation Facility, Park

Lake Estelle Park

1224 Dorchester Street, Orlando, FL 3280

Lake Estelle Park is located on 1224 Dorchester Street. The park has a bike and walking trail around the lake for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Fairview Park


2200 Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32789

Lake Fairview Park has pavilions, benches, five softball fields and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Formosa Park

1401 Alden Road, Orlando, FL 3280

Lake Formosa Park has shady areas and open space for a relaxing day by the lake.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Highland Park

1132 Lake Highland Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Lake Highland Park is a quiet oasis with scenic views of the lake.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Ivanhoe Park

57 S Ivanhoe Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32801

Lake Ivanhoe Park offers an oasis with shaded areas, scenic views of the lake and open space.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Lancaster Park

1550 Briercliff Drive, Orlando, FL 32806

Lake Lancaster Park is located on 1550 Briercliff Drive. The park has a paved walking path around the lake for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Lawsona Park

1019 E Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Lake Lawsona Park is a quiet oasis with lakeside views. The park is located on 1019 East Jackson Street.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Rowena Park

1200 Lake Shore Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

Lake Rowena Park is located on 1200 Lake Shore Drive. It offers relaxing lakeside views and walking trails.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Underhill Park

4355 Lake Underhill Road, Orlando, FL 32803

Lake Underhill Park is a neighborhood park that covers 8.8 acres of green space on the southern banks of Lake Underhill. The park is a haven for boaters, bird watchers and for those who enjoy exercising on the .75 mile trail that is equipped with multiple fitness stations.

Tagged as : Park

Lake Weldona Park

1013 Lake Weldona Dr, Orlando, FL

Lake Weldona Park is located on 1013 Lake Weldona Drive.

Tagged as : Park

Langford Park and Center


1808 E Central Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32802

Mayor Carl T. Langford Park provides a natural refuge in Downtown Orlando. The park is located in a shady oasis of mature oaks, wide sidewalks, green lawns, birds, butterflies and plenty of room for the kids to play. Basketball and tennis courts are available. Pavilions of various sizes, a gazebo and neighborhood center can be reserved for birthday parties, picnics, weddings and more.

Tagged as : Recreation Facility, Park

LeRoy Hoequist Park

1450 S Alder Avenue, Orlando, FL 32807

LeRoy Hoequist Park has a playground, picnic tables and lakeside views for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Leu Gardens


1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

Explore an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further our mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants.

Tagged as : Botanical Gardens

Lighthouse Park

5138 Lighthouse Road, Orlando, FL

Lighthouse Park has a playground by the lake for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Lizzie Rogers Park

2130 Long Street, Orlando, FL

Lizzie Rogers Park has picnic tables, a playground and other amenities that can be used for a relaxing day by the lake.

Tagged as : Park

Loch Haven Park


777 E Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803

Loch Haven Cultural Park covers 45 acres and serves as the region’s premier cultural park. Nestled between three lakes, Lake Estelle on the north, Lake Rowena on the east and Lake Formosa on the south, the park is located on North Mills Avenue and Princeton Street.

Tagged as : Park

Lorna Doone Park

1519 W Church Street, Orlando, FL 32805

Lorna Doone Park is located on 1519 West Church Street right by Camping World Stadium.

Tagged as : Park

Malibu Groves Park

4664 Olivia Street, Orlando, FL 32811

Malibu Groves Park has a playground and basketball court for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Mathews Park

205 E Hazel Street, Orlando, FL 32804

Mathews Park offers visitors a grilling area, playground and other amenities to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Mitchell Nutter Park

100 Bennet Road, Orlando, FL 32803

Mitchell Nutter Park is named after Orlando Patrolman Mitchell L. Nutter who lost his life in the line of duty. The park offers visitors a grilling area, playground and other amenities.

Tagged as : Park

Northwest Neighborhood Center

3955 W D Judge Road, Orlando, FL 32808

Northwest Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Orlando Tennis Centre


649 West Livingston Street, Orlando, FL 32801

The Orlando Tennis Centre offers lighted clay and hard tennis courts for tennis players of all skill levels to enjoy.

Tagged as : Tennis Centre

Orlando Wetlands Park


25155 Wheeler Road, Orlando, FL 32709

The Orlando Wetlands Park is a man-made wetland designed to provide advanced treatment for reclaimed water from the City of Orlando and other local cities. The Park is 1650 acres in size and located in Christmas, Florida. Visitors may enjoy primitive and passive activities at the Park. Hours are sunrise to sunset, 365 days of the year.

Tagged as : Park

Announcement : Share the road with demucking trucks and equipment. All roads reopened for public use. Demucking for Cell 14 continues. Watch out for large trucks crossing Wheeler Road; heed the warning signs and approach the crossing with caution. Also expect to encounter trucks, heavy equipment and pumps along berm roads around Cell 14 and on some western and southern portions of the Park.

Orwin Manor Park

3200 N Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

Orwin Manor Park offers shaded areas and greenery for a relaxing day outdoors.

Tagged as : Park

Overbrook Park

100 Overbrook Drive, Orlando, FL

Overbrook Park is located on 100 Overbrook Drive.

Tagged as : Park

Park Lake Park

723 Highland Avenue, Orlando, FL

Park Lake Park is located on 723 Highland Avenue.

Tagged as : Park

Park of the Americas


201 Andes Avenue, Orlando, FL 32807

Park of the Americas is located just north of the 408 and west of the Executive Airport. Park amenties include a 12-foot wide, half mile long path, dog Park, shade pavilions, picnic tables, grills, a tot lot with swings, climbers and motion activities geared towards 2-5 year olds and a satellite Commissioner District 2 office offering a meeting place for the community.

Tagged as : Park

Parramore Heritage Park

726 W. Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32805

Parramore Heritage Park is located on 726 West Central Boulevard.

Tagged as : Park

Pleasant Valley Park

4756 Pleasant Valley Ct, Orlando, FL 32811

Pleasant Valley Park has a playground and basketball court for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Poppy Park

5344 Lescot Lane, Orlando, FL

Poppy Park is located in the Carver Shores neighborhood on the west side of Orlando. It has a playground, grilling area and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Princeton Park

2411 Elizabeth Street, Orlando, FL 32804

Princeton Park is located on 2411 Elizabeth Street. The park has a playground, benches and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Reeves Terrace Neighborhood Center

150 Mc Jordan Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

Reeves Terrace Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Rock Lake Neighborhood Center

440 North Tampa Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805

Rock Lake Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Rock Lake Park

440 N Tampa Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804

Rock Lake Park is located on 440 North Tampa Avenue. The park has a playground and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Rosemont Neighborhood Center

4872 Rose Bay Drive, Orlando, FL 32808

Rosemont Neighborhood Center

Tagged as : Community Center

Rosemont Park

5050 Cinderlane Parkway, Orlando, FL 32808

Rosemont Park is located on 5050 Cinderlane Parkway. The park has a playground, picnic tables and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Senator Beth Johnson Park

59 S Ivanhoe Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32801

Senator Beth Johnson Park

Tagged as : Park

Signal Hill Park

3877 Watch Hill Road, Orlando, FL 32808

Signal Hill Park is located on 3877 Watch Hill Road.

Tagged as : Park

Songbird Park

1124 Cardinal Road, Orlando, FL 32803

Songbird Park is located on 124 Cardinal Road.

Tagged as : Park

Southern Gateway (Lake Lucerne)

125 North Lucerne Circle, Orlando, FL 32801

Southern Gateway (Lake Lucerne) is located on 125 North Lucerne Circle.

Tagged as : Park

Southport Community Park


3437 Barnstable Place, Orlando, FL 32827

A former Navy recreation area, Southport Community Park is a showcase recreation center for southeast Orlando. Consisting of 52 acres, the site was developed into multiple athletic fields including baseball diamonds and a softball field as well as picnic and playground areas, walking paths and other amenities.

Tagged as : Park

Spring Lake Park

1275 Spring Lake Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

Spring Lake Park is located on 1275 Spring Lake Drive.

Tagged as : Park

Springdale Green

614 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32805

Springdale Green is located on 614 North Orange Blossom Trail.

Tagged as : Park

The Terrace Gallery


400 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801

The Terrace Gallery reflects the city’s dedication to the arts and it provides a space where visual artists can share their insight with the community.

Tagged as : Recreation Facility

Trotters Park

2701 Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32789

Trotters Park is one of the City’s four cornerstone parks. Originally the home of the Ben White Raceway, the site’s facilities reflect that historical equestrian theme. The park has soccer fields, baseball fields, restroom and concession facilities, biking and blading trails.

Tagged as : Recreation Facility, Park

Wadeview Neighborhood Center

2177 Summerlin Avenue, Orlando, FL 32806

One of Orlando’s most popular neighborhood parks, Wadeview Park is located among pines, cypress and oak trees, making it perfect for picnics and family gatherings. The park offers 5 picnic pavilions, playground, parking lot, restroom and exercise trail.

Tagged as : Swimming Pools & Water Play, Community Center

Wadeview Park


2177 S Summerlin Avenue, Orlando, FL 32806

One of Orlando’s most popular neighborhood parks, Wadeview Park is located among pines, cypress and oak trees, making it perfect for picnics and family gatherings. The park offers 5 picnic pavilions, playground, parking lot, restroom and exercise trail.

Tagged as : Park

Washington Square Park

3600 West Columbia Street, Orlando, FL 32805

Washington Square Park is located on 3600 West Columbia Street.

Tagged as : Park

West Lake Underhill Park

501 Underhill Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

West Lake Underhill Park offers lakeside views and shaded areas.

Tagged as : Park

Willie Mays Park

2092 Willie Mays Parkway, Orlando, FL 32811

Willie Mays Park has a grilling area, playground and other amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Willows Park

3101 Willow Bend Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32808

Willows Park has a playground, grilling area and fitness station for visitors to enjoy.

Tagged as : Park

Z.L. Riley Park


719 South Parramore Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805

Z.L. Riley Park is a gem in the heart of Parramore. Children can enjoy the colorful playground while their families relax in the open green spaces or prepare picnics with the grills. Z.L. Riley Park can accommodate special events with its unique large pavilion which can be used as a stage, wide sidewalk, and spaces and utility hookups for vendor areas.

Tagged as : Park

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Orlando is one of the world’s most visited family destinations, and while its illustrious themed attractions may steal the limelight, with a vibrant and well-kept city center and a climate that averages around 75° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius), there is a surprising amount of things to experience here. Welcoming tens-of-millions of visitors per year, both Disney World and Universal Orlando pack in an entire trip's worth of fun on their own. But it would be a mistake to overlook Orlando’s other activities because the rest of ‘The City Beautiful’ is full of similar family-friendly attractions like waterparks, giant aquariums and zoos, exciting shows, airboat tours around the swamps and plenty of golfing opportunities. Discover all of this, and much more in our guide to Orlando!

Where to Stay in Orlando Orlando hotels range from 5-star international chains to smaller, independent boutiques, often offering the same level of luxury and convenience. Sprawling family-friendly resorts located in around the city’s long lineup of theme parks make up a large portion of the accommodation options in Orlando, with Walt Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld inevitably proving to be the major tourist magnets every year.
Most Popular Theme Parks in Orlando Orlando’s theme parks are the finest in the world with something for every taste and interest. The rides and attractions get the blood pumping while the immersive experience in the parks can really transport you to another time and place. Have a look at all of the theme parks in Orlando and choose the one that’s right for you. 

Orlando theme parks seem to grow in number every year, continually proving to the city’s top tourist magnet. The city hasn’t earned a reputation of being ‘the theme park capital of the world’ for nothing – both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort have about 10 different big-name attractions between them, not to mention vibrant live shows shows and nightlife zones within these sprawling resorts.  You’ll also enjoy SeaWorld’s different aquatic attractions, together with independent parks that cater to a rather niche audience, be it all zip-lining over alligator-infested swamps or ‘old school’ parks with decades-old rollercoasters and fairground-style games. Check out our list of theme parks in Orlando below, or see each one in more detail with our full-page guides, which contain information on prices, location and contact details.

Looking for things to do in Orlando? Famously branded ‘the theme park capital of the world’, it’s no surprise that the likes of Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld consistently rank as the most popular attractions in Orlando year after year, drawing in millions of visitors every year. We’ve mapped out all the parks, waterparks, nature parks and everything in between, not forgetting the region’s best alternative activities and out-of-town excursions such as safari nature trails, air-boating the Everglades and visiting a certain NASA space centre on the west coast. Venturing into the centre of Orlando is a good idea too, with the Downtown core promising a solid line-up of parks, shopping, dining, and nightlife.
OrlandoFlorida may be best known for Disney World and Universal, but it's also known for a lot more besides. ... Theme park-wise, you'll find favorites like Disney World and Universal Studios, as well as Legoland, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Gatorland – to name just a few.

Orlando, Florida may be best known for Disney World and Universal, but it’s also known for a lot more besides.

This central Florida region attracts around 60 million visitors every year, who come for the warm climate, the world-famous theme parks, the shopping malls, the golf courses and the nightlife. They come for the beaches too, as some of America’s finest are within easy reach.

Theme park-wise, you’ll find favorites like Disney World and Universal Studios, as well as Legoland, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Gatorland – to name just a few. The majority of our Orlando vacation rentals are located in top resorts just minutes from Disney World, and within easy reach of Orlando’s other attractions.

If you head away from the theme parks you’ll get a chance to discover Downtown Orlando, also known as the ‘real’ side of Orlando – the one that the locals know and love. Downtown Orlando is the region’s main city, it’s also the largest urban center in Central Florida. It is home to iconic skyscrapers, sports centers, theatres, art galleries, shopping centers and parks. It boasts a great restaurant and nightlife scene, and it hosts an array of festivals, parades and high-profile events, too.

Another area Orlando is well known for is International Drive, just a few miles southwest of Downtown. Stretching for more than 10 miles, I-Drive is home to the Orange County Convention Center, the Pointe Orlando entertainment complex, Seaworld and Fun Spot America amusement park.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Orlando, Top Villas offers an excellent range of Orlando vacation homes in a variety of styles and sizes to choose from. Located in the best resorts near Disney World, our homes come complete with luxury amenities such as private swimming pools, hot tubs, game rooms and home theaters.

108 acres
Of course, the most popular thing fans want Universal Orlando to do with that land is to build a new theme park, which is possible, seeing as Universal Studios is 108 acres and Islands of Adventure is 101 acres.

The historic town of Windermere was established in 1889. In 2004, the census estimated the population at 1,958. Known for its dirt roads and quaint atmosphere, Windermere is one of a dying breed of towns that has maintained that unique small-town feel that visitors and locals alike find so endearing.

Located in the town of Windermere, the Butler Chain of lakes is considered one of Florida’s most sought-after areas of lakefront property. The chain encompasses eleven lakes (Lake Butler, Lake Tibet, Lake Down, Lake Sheen, Lake Louise, Lake Chase, Pocket Lake, Lake Blanche, Wauseon Bay, Lake Isleworth, and Little Fish Lake), which have been recognized for their high water quality and animal habitats as “Outstanding Florida Waters” by Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation.

Shaq’s House and Famous Windermere Residents

The Butler Chain of lakes has gained notoriety in recent years through high-profile residents who call Windermere their home. Shaquille O’Neil, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tiger Woods, Wesley Snipes, Planet Hollywood CEO Robert Earl, and Mark O’Meara are among many of the celebrities who enjoy this area’s magnificent lakefront views from their back yards.

Windermere’s Growing Pains

The areas of the southwest corner of Orange County and adjacent Lake County have exploded in growth in recent years, and Windermere with its small town charm has found itself wrestling with increasingly difficult issues of growth management.

The map below does a nice job of explaining the crux of the issue – the close proximity of Lake Down, Lake Butler and Lake Bessie combined with the layout of Main Street (fed by Maguire Road out of the Ocoee area) and Conroy-Windermere Road (out of the Metrowest area) has created a situation where so much of the traffic heading to the newer communities on the southwest part of town funnels through downtown Windermere. Despite these issues of growth, most everyone we know in Windermere wouldn’t trade it for any other location. Soaring property values, the serenity of the natural settings, and the small town charm combine to create one of the State’s most desirable lakefront communities.

The Butler Chains of lakes (4,927 acres) are all very similar in that they are relatively deep for Florida lakes (20 - 40 foot holes), have abundant submerge vegetation and good largemouth bass fisheries. This 4,720-acre chain is made up of 11 interconnected lakes. Boat access is available only at one county ramp (Lake Isleworth just south of Windermere) and public bank access is almost non-existent. Orange County charges a launch fee at the Lake Isleworth ramp and the ramp is not open after dark.

The R.D. Keene ramp at Lake Isleworth (Butler Chain) costs per day or a year for use of the ramp.
Windermere Chain of lakes is known for its excellent largemouth bass fishing. Most successful bass anglers pay attention to the bottom contours of the lakes offshore structure where 4- to 5-pound bass are commonly produced. Live shiners free-lined over grass edges, humps, ledges, and drop‑offs adjacent to spawning flats is one method to consistently catch quality bass in the winter/spring (Try Lake Butler). Jigging spoons fished over deep-water humps can produce 50-fish days when the water gets cold and fish congregate tightly (Try Little Lake Down). Windermere chain also have relatively unknown and unstudied black crappie (speck), bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) populations, but anecdotal angler reports and field observations indicate a fishery exists for all three species.

The Chain of Lakes was formed as a result of a typical Florida occurrence which is known as "karst topography". In this occurrence, limestone (found under the majority of Florida soil) is slowly dissolved by water to form sinkholes. A series of sinkholes formed over time created what is now called the Butler Chain of Lakes (aka. Windermere Chain). There are areas on these lakes that reaches depths of 50 feet and is believed to be the remnants of those old sinkholes which helped form this beautiful chain of lakes.

Butler Chain of Lakes Information:

Many celebrities call the Butler Chain of Lakes their home. Such people include the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Ken Griffey Jr., and Tiger Woods, just to name a few sport stars. It is nice place to fish where you can catch big numbers of bass with an occasional big fish, though just being on this Chain for the day is worth the trip.

Expect to see schooling fish almost twelve months out of the year. These schooling fish sometime average 3 - 5 pounds, but in most cases are smaller. Carolina-rigging in depths of 8 - 30 feet is a great producer all year. If you enjoy topwater, this is where you'll want to be if you're looking for some fun.

Bass Fishing Tips For Beginners

Bass are America’s most popular freshwater sport fish and a national institution when it comes to fishing. There are bass fishing tournaments, bass fishing shops and websites devoted to bass fishing – so we thought we’d get fishing guide and resident expert Shawn Chapin to explain its appeal and provide some bass fishing tips for beginners by answering these 11 bass fishing questions below.

1. Why is bass fishing so popular?

There are many reasons! Bass are found in abundance in every single state in the continental United States. They are found in almost every body of water that fish can survive in with very few exceptions and they can tolerate a wide variety in the water temperature.

When you put together the abundance of fish with the fact that they are relatively easy to catch (and put up a good fight for their size), it is easy to see why bass fishing is popular. Bass – either largemouth, smallmouth or spotted – give anglers from beginner to elite level a fun and exciting time on the water.

2. Why is bass fishing so fun?

Bass fishing for beginners is fun they are an exciting fish to catch and you can fish for them using a variety of tactics and a range of bass fishing lures from soft plastics (especially combined with scents), jigs, crankbaits and topwater lures too.

Another reason bass fishing is so fun and popular is because of the ease of entry-level fishing. Compared to other species like walleye, or especially musky, bass are reasonable easy to tempt. And with the abundance of bass in most bodies of water, you could be consistently catching them all day.

3. What types of bass are there? And where are they found?

The most common bass found in the United States is the largemouth bass, but there are also spotted and smallmouth bass as well.
Largemouth bass are found in every state in the continental United States. They can also be found naturally in northern Mexico and the southern half of Canada. They have also been stocked in other parts of the world such as Japan, where they are now a popular sport fish for Japanese anglers. (For a fascinating look at bass fishing in Japan check out this article).
Spotted bass inhabit a smaller portion of the United States, and can be found from the gulf coast of Texas across the southern states to Florida, and up to the Ohio River and Mississippi River basins.
Smallmouth bass are naturally occurring in the northern areas of the United States and Canada, but over the years they have been stocked in lakes all over the United States west and south of their native ranges.
Check out our fishing locations page for more detail on the best bass fishing spots in the US.

The largemouth bass is a key target for the majority of US anglers

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An angler with a smallmouth bass – another popular species for American anglers

4. What type of habitat do bass like?

The preferred habitat of bass varies not only by bodies of water you’re fishing for them in, but also by species.
Largemouth bass are commonly found around vegetation, timber or drop offs – good areas for bass can be found using a fish finder.
Smallmouth can be found in all the same areas but also like structure such as deep rock piles and rubble, or shoreline rip rap. Smallmouth bass are also found in a lot of clear lakes and reservoirs and tend to live deeper in those bodies of water.
Spotted bass can be found in all the same places as largemouth bass, but also like to inhabit areas that are warm, turbid and slow moving that largemouth bass would avoid. Spotted bass can also be found in areas of faster current – again, that’s a spot that largemouth bass would normally avoid. For learning to pick out bass on a fish finder, check out our guide to reading fish finder images.

A bass in typical bass structure near a submerged log. Targeting structure like this is one of the best bass fishing tips

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5. What is the best gear to use for bass fishing?

Sorting out a good rod and reel is a top priority for bass fishing for beginners. The common rods and reels used in bass fishing are baitcaster rods and reels (check our summary of the best baitcasting reels if you are looking to buy one). Spinning rods (our best spinning rods for bass are listed here) and spinning reels are also popular too. Spinning reels are easier to use and should be the first choice for beginners.

Similiarly when it comes to choice of fishing line, a good monofilament line if probably best for beginners as you don’t have the issues you can have with braided line tangling and it is cheaper than fluoro line. [For help with the 7 basic fishing knots beginners should know, check out this post which has full tying instructions and illustrations and covers the top knots for each type of fishing line.]

Normally a bass angler has a variety of types and sizes of outfit to cover multiple different tactics and situations. These can include a jigging rod or a fiberglass rod for fishing for bass with crankbaits. When you are starting out, it’s a good idea to choose one of the best bass attractants to put on your bass fishing lures to help your catch rate. Check our our guide to the best lure kits for bass fishing for some cheap ways to assemble a decent arsenal of bass fishing lures for your tackle box.

An overall rod and reel combination for all around fishing once you get a bit more experience would be something like a seven foot heavy baitcasting rod with a fast action paired with a baitcasting reel in the 6.4.1 gear ratio and spooled with some 16-pound fluorocarbon fishing line.

6. What are the best seasons to fish for bass?

One of the best bass fishing beginner tips is to pick the best time of year to fish. Bass fishing is primarily the best in spring and summer as the water temperature warms up. Big bass move up into the shallows to spawn in the spring making beds to lay eggs.

This can make them easy to target for beginners, but catch-and-release fishing during this time is strongly recommended, as smaller fish will eat the eggs in an unprotected bed.
Summer bass are found widely in a variety of locations from the same shallow areas where they spawned through to deeper weeds and drop-offs.

7. What are the best times of day to fish for bass?

Like most fish, bass feed more actively in the morning hours and in the evening and these are top times for targeting big bass. But bass are known for still feeding pretty consistently throughout the day. They can be tempted with lures throughout the day, especially if you are fishing something like jigs or plastic worms in cover.

8. What is the best weather for bass fishing?

For bass, like most species, weather details such as wind and water temperatures have a major impact on their feeding habits and their location in a given body of water.
Approaching storms or changes in atmospheric pressure can cause a spike in fish feeding activity.
High wind days can make it difficult to use some of the more popular tactics for catching bass, like fishing jigs or soft plastic worms, as the wind creates a big bow in the fishing line and makes it difficult to sense strikes. Remember to choose a heavier jig head to punch through the wind if you are fishing soft plastic worms or other soft baits on these days.

But wind can also be a fisherman’s friend. Bass will use wind direction to their advantage when feeding and hone in on structure and weedlines where the wind is pushing waves onto the pieces of structure or blowing into the weedlines. This wave action jostles the water around and makes it hard for bait fish to swim and evade predators. And it pushes them near the ambush positions of a predatory fish such as bass. Find these sort of spots is one of the best bass fishing tips for beginners.

Before a storm comes in can be an excellent time to be on the water and these periods offer excellent bass fishing for beginners. Generally any time the barometric pressure increases or decreases can be good.. After a storm has passed and high pressure and clear skies return, can indicate that fishing for the next day or two might be pretty tough. Your best tactic in these situations is to fish slop or heavy cover with jigs and get reaction strikes, as most fish will be laying low for the next one or two days.

What type of lures should beginners use?

We recommend using soft plastic lures to target bass for beginners for a few reasons. First of all, they are cheap compared to crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwater lures. If you lose a soft plastic lure, you just tie on another jig head and pull another worm or crawdad out and thread it on. Whereas with other types of lures, you are up for at least $10 to replace them. Jig heads are very cheap and if you really want to save money you can make your own soft plastics with some of the kits on offer.

‘Before a storm comes in can be an excellent time to be on the water, and generally any time the barometric pressure increases or decreases’

9. Do you need a boat to fish for bass?

Absolutely not. And let’s face it, most beginners are going to rush out and buy a boat before trying bass fishing from the shore. While having an awesome bass boat or kayak to fish from gives you more options in the form of mobility on the water and the ability to fish midlake structure, people who want to fish for bass from shore have a ton of options! Since bass have a tendency to stay fairly shallow for most of the year, fishing from shore can be pretty productive. Bass love hanging out under docks, pontoons, lilypads and wood along a shoreline. Targeting structure is one of the best bass fishing tips for beginners. Tie on a skirted jig, or a Texas rigged soft plastic, or for an even more exciting time, slap on a topwater lure and have a blast!

Bass don’t have sharp teeth, but watch out for the trebles on the lure when you are handling them and support their stomach Consider a Boga Grip or alternative grips to be safe.
Top bass fishing pro Mike Iaconelli shares his best lures for bass. This is one of the best ways to fish for bass!

10. What about hooking, fighting, and handling bass?

There are a few bass fishing tips for beginners to pay attention to when it comes to hooking and fighting bass:

When fishing jigs, keep your rod tip at no more than roughly a 45 degree angle point up and keep tension on your line so you can feel a bite. When a bass bites, don’t immediately set the hook – bass have a tendency to hold on to it, so give it a few seconds before you set that hook. But the obvious and general rule of thumb when fishing other types of lure is when a bass eats your lure, set that hook.

There are a few helpful techniques for fighting bass as well.
In most situations, if you hook a bass it’s going to want to jump. A good tactic to use on a jumping fish is to keep your rod tip low and keep reeling so you don’t don’t allow any slack in your line. This applies for most situations.

The general rule of thumb for crankbait fishing is set the hook in a longer sweeping motion and not as violent of a hookset, while keeping the rod tip low to avoid jumps. This is mostly due to the small treble hooks, and the potential to come out during a hookset or from the fish getting airborne.

Handling a bass is fairly simple: there’s really only two concerns when handling a caught bass, and that is watch out for the dorsal spines on the top of the fish, and watch out for hooks from your lure! A wiggling bass in your hand can put pointy things where you don’t want them to be. When it comes to handling a bass, simply cradle the fish under the belly or grab it by its lower lip with your thumb (or a Boga grip) , bass don’t have big sharp teeth. Their teeth and lips are actually like sandpaper to help them grip and hang onto prey.

11. Is catch and release important?

Catch and release is a very important practice in angling to help sustain a stable fisheries population. Government agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service and state bodies set regulations on fish size and quantities an angler is allowed to harvest. But over the years, with more and more fishing pressure, most sporting anglers fishing for fish such as bass, walleye, and muskie have transformed their perception of what angling is all about. The good news is that catch and release for sport fish is becoming the new normal. There is nothing wrong with taking home a fish dinner! But the key is to only take what you need. We need more fish in lakes and less filling up basement freezers.

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